Veganism extends far beyond the food on our plates. What we wear, the body care products we use, and how we chose to spread compassion all factor into the vegan lifestyle as well. Christy Robinson, one of the many amazing vendors in the Vegan Cuts Marketplace, has been making beautiful jewelry with a positive message for nearly a decade. Read on to learn a bit more about how Christy got started making jewelry and what an average work day is like for her.
1.) When and why did you start making jewelry?
I started making jewelry in college. At the time, I was working at a geology shop that sold rock specimens and fossils. They also happened to sell beads and jewelry-making stuff. I made jewelry in the evenings after class and work and became completely addicted. I had always loved creating, but with jewelry-making, I found I was never really bored with it. I soon began selling in local shops. After taking a class in metalsmithing, I eventually switched to metalwork almost exclusively as it allowed for more creative options and the use of recycled metals.
2.) What inspires you?
Animals, obviously, and the environment. I like trying to help those without a voice and the animals and the environment seem to have little too none! Also, I like the idea of providing a service (jewelry-making) while also provoking dialogue and letting my pieces be little ambassadors for change, however remote or small. It’s like dropping a pebble in the water – you never know where the ripples will go and who they will affect. I believe each little act can build on itself and create great change.
3.) What do you enjoy most about your work and what challenges , if any, have you faced along the way?
I love working in my little home studio with my animal friends around to play with and keep me company. I really could not do this work without them (or at least would not want to). I love being my own boss and being able to create and do pretty much whatever I want. It truly is amazing and I feel really blessed to be able to do what I love for causes I hold dear to my heart. It’s just the icing on the vegan cake!
As for challenges, when I started working exclusively for myself back in 2007, I really had no idea what I was doing. But I was extremely determined. I said yes to pretty much anyone and everything. I started out doing a lot of custom work that really wore me down, not from the actual jewelry work, but the sheer volume of emails it created was staggering and not very cost effective. Even though I enjoyed doing exclusively custom work for individuals, as of last year I now only offer this service for larger wholesale orders. Live and learn… It was hard to say no, but the extra time allows me to focus more on other aspects of my business that really need attention. That said, I do offer custom words and phrases on all my existing designs.
4.) What’s an average day-in-the-life like for you?
I get up and first take care of the fur babies; I feed Fiver (rabbit), then feed Julep (dog), and then feed Miro (kitty). I work out… Not my favorite thing to do but it’s got to be done! I eat breakfast, get ready, and am working by 9 am. First, I update my iPod with cool podcasts to listen to throughout the day such as Food for Thought by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau or Our Hen House.
Next, I check email – printing and responding to orders that came in the previous day. I print out shipping labels for items that need to be shipped that day. I ship orders as they are ready to go, so sometimes everyday. I know some people just ship once a week but I do not think it’s fair if it is ready to go to make the person who has paid wait. Then I get in the studio, which is a cute little workshop in my backyard. I love how it is not actually in my house so it is easier to leave work at the end of the day.
When I get in the studio, I lay out the designs that need to be done that day based on existing wholesale orders or current orders that came in the day before. I mark each order and put it up on my order wall in the order in which it was received and then I start to work. I make at least 10-15 pieces at a time cutting, stamping, drilling holes, soldering etc. It is just as easy to do the process with several pieces at a time as it is to make just one piece.
Lunch is usually at noon. At this time I take a break to order supplies or respond to detailed emails I may have missed in the morning. I also update my website or promote my work through social media or run errands. After lunch, I work until around 3pm. I then start packing orders that are ready so I can get to the mailbox by 5 pm. I usually quit work around 5-6 pm. Then it is vegan dinner time or social time with friends. It is also cuddly time with my animal family.
5.) Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon you can tell us about?
One of the projects for the new year (or sooner) is to do more traveling and setting up at various shows/Vegfests in other states. Right now I just stick to Texas shows as it cuts down on travel expenses, but I am hoping to expand. I may do crowd-funding with a focus on either a west or east coast tour, not 100% sure yet… Fingers crossed!
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Christy too, as we’d love to see her spread her compassionate jewelry across the globe! Check out some of our favorite pieces she’s created in the Vegan Cuts Marketplace.