If you’d like a little context/peek at my website before we start, you can find it here.
A little bit about me
My name is Minty (also known as Melinda, though not as much) and I am from Long Island, NY. I have lived in northern California for almost as long though! North Carolina next. I left Long Island when I was 18 to go to art school in Boston (which I never finished — I did three semesters. It was a great ticket out of NY but my skill and confidence were too poor to handle college). My dorm was actually in Cambridge, which I absolutely adored. The cobblestone streets, the walking through Harvard Yard (the squirrels are very personable in Harvard Yard), experiencing the whole culture. Street musicians were a very present feature there. Eventually I got very into Buddhism (no longer a Buddhist, but still have positive feelings towards it) which is what led me to California, where I actually lived in a Chinese Buddhist monastery for a whopping three years! Instead of going to bars when I turned 21, I moved into a monastery. I wasn’t a nun or anything. Anyway, I moved out after three years, but stayed in California. That’s how I got here!
I story of my jewelry brand started in 2012 with an inspired and enterprising feeling — “Oooh! I want make jewelry and sell it!”. Now it’s almost 2022 and my brand has grown up with me for about a decade.
I started buying jewelry supplies at local craft stores, then moved on to buying supplies and charms from Etsy. For most of those years I never sold very much jewelry. Eventually, I did a makeover of my brand and jewelry, and shifted into a new collection that was much nicer, and more cohesive. Before we continue with the story, here is a photographic retrospective!
2012 – Playful beginnings, not focused on one style.
Some early packaging…. (Oh yeah, I haven’t acknowledged that I have a weird business name yet, have I? It was on purpose, though! I was wracking my brain trying to come up with some beautifully poetic name. At the time so many cool jewelry brands had names like “Rose and Anchor” or “Fern and Forest” — that kinda thing. But I started to feel a sort of inauthenticity while trying to come up with such a name. In reaction to that, I decided to name my jewelry business something so darn literal and plain…that maybe it bordered on interesting and creative…or at the very least quirky. And so it has been Good Looking Objects since 2012. Stick around to the end to find out what I am changing the name to!
The first refining my brand .
Creating My Own Website
As I said, my aesthetic got more refined when I started my own website in 2016. At the time I was creating designs using already-made brass charms which I ordered from extensive catalogs; these charms were newly made, but from vintage tools (“molds”, if you will, but not really). To my knowledge and recollection, these charm designs were from about the 70’s or so. I altered these charms and sent them off to be plated in gold, giving then a higher quality. (I only had gold pieces at the time, even though sterling is my favorite. For some reason I didn’t think plating in silver would look quality enough). It was so much fun! The vibe was very Victorian-fairy-tale.
And then, I started creating my own charms!
I got involved in facebook jewelry groups and was made aware of a thing called “casting”. This funny (and ancient) thing where you carved the piece of jewelry you wanted out of wax, which you then sent off to have a mold made and then have multiples of that piece cast in metals like sterling and gold. My favorite piece of jewelry to this day is my first “original original” design, the Garden Gate Necklace, shown below. I’ve continued to make more and more of these original pieces over the years. For this necklace, I studies many photos of traditional iron gates, and from that I made a combination of my favorite elements, making my own gate design.
Hand Carved Pieces
Okay, the urge to complain about this app is definitely there. But this is a retrospective, so I will speak to the beginnings of my instagram journey, first. I started my account in 2016 and have been posting ever since. How I wish it was still the times of 2016 instagram. Heck, I wasn’t even early to the app, but getting followers, visibility and engagement was enormously easier back in 2016. Either way, this app, as much as it has declined, has been my best tool for exposure.
I was tagged in a number of photos on instagram this week, which was a reminder of the connections i’ve made. I feel the two greatest things that have come out of Good Looking Objects is, yes, the small income but also the beautiful, truly kind humans i’ve had the fortune of meeting. As for the bit of income, I realize that may not sound very romantic, but it bothers me when people say “do it just for the joy of it”. Sure, there is joy sometimes, but let’s be honest — we need to earn income! I will say someone else a bit taboo; jewelry is far from my identity. It is not what inspires me most. However, from my designs, packaging, social media, and dedication – you can probably sense i’m far from disinterested. I love my little jewelry business!
However, the connections i’ve made — that is quite romantic indeed. Thank you truly for your kindness, support, conversation and spirit. It amazes me how supportive and involved many have been. ♥
What is it like to be the creator of this little brand? A whole mix of fun, creative expression, frustration, worry, inspiration, envy, mishaps, patience, angst, sweet connections…and so on! There’s a lot that goes into it, so the emotions are complex.
While this is something I have thought about for years, I have finally decided to change my business name. Please welcome: Garden Gate Jewelry. This name feels like second nature, as for so many years my favorite piece of jewelry has been the Garden Gate Necklace. I feel revived with this change, and am working on a website re-fresh with the new name, which I will officially debut in January, I think.
Another goal I have is to finally do a trade show. If you don’t know what that is, think of a very refined craft show, where each booth has their brand and products very professionally on display, and the people who browse the booths are buyers for resellers/brick and mortars. You expose yourself to many potential buyers, and some make wholesale orders with you right then and there, which you fulfill later on. Exposure has always been a challenge, so I think there is a possibility that if I invested (it costs a lot of money) in getting myself into a trade show, I could possibly, finally, be making an income I could truly live off of. This has been the dream all along.
Thank you so much for reading the story of my jewelry brand thus far! You can visit my jewelry shop at: www.goodlookingobjects.com (it will soon be gardengatejewelry.com)
PS: there is a sale going on today for Cyber Monday, 25% off with code JOURNEY – ends 12am.