Happy International Womxn's Day! I wanted to celebrate today with all of y'all by sharing a Q&A with my friend and maker behind Amara Blue Designs, Kassandra.
Our industry is a funny one and I actually met Kass through a fitness studio, not at an industry event or through Instagram or even through attending markets. One of the things that drew me to Kass originally was her tenacity in our workout classes and once I learned she was a maker I became an even bigger fan. She works insanely hard and is passionate about the collaborations and influencers she associates herself with. Her brand is all about inclusivity and she is forever working towards educating herself more to be the best ally she can be to all.
Kass was the perfect gal to interview for International Womxn's Day and we're so excited to present a giveaway in conjunction with this interview as well!
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Kassandra, I am a jewelry and digital designer from and living in Vancouver! I have been designing jewelry for 9 years, and have been running Amara Blue Designs for 8 years. My intention is to create high quality, sustainable jewelry pieces that are accessible to all womxn.
How was Amara Blue Designs born?
I created Amara Blue Designs before I really grew into my brand, but kept some of the values we still live by today - "Amara" means eternal in Sanskrit: I wanted to incorporate the value of timeless pieces that you wouldn't just toss after a single season. We have lost a lot of our value in the tangible, and I wanted our pieces to be held onto and eventually passed down! The "Blue" was from my thoughts at the time, that I wanted to create wedding pieces. (Not truly what we do now, but a lovely sentiment at the time!)
In regards to our modality of creation, I have this tradition that rather than New Year's resolutions, I select a certain skill to improve to either elevate myself personally or to elevate my business. Early in my jewelry design career I choose to try hand-stamping as my New Year's skill and it ended up being my entire business. Since then we have really come into our brand; being able to manufacture our own designs into stamps has enabled us to communicate our love for empowerment, feminism, body positivity and papayas!
Why is being a brand that openly supports the LGBTQ2 community important to you?
I am incredibly passionate about discussing the importance of allyship. With the dialogue only increasing about the LGBTQ2 community, I feel that it is important to support this dialogue even when we do not particularly identify ourselves as within this community. I have made incredibly beautiful and meaningful friendships within this community, and it is my goal to continue the dialogue around how allies of the community can continue to show our support without the typical ways, that are often centered around consumerism. It is often challenging to navigate what is okay to speak about as an ally, and we try to communicate what we learn through our brand's dialogue.
I noticed that your Instagram feed features captions and quotes advocating taking time to recharge. As a young creative, how do you work through the millennial mentality of "I have to do it all?"
I think that as a creative, there are actually two standpoints that we contend against. One is the notion that we have to constantly be doing more things, and on the other hand, we also contend against this idea that we have to be doing our jewelry business full time to be fulfilled. I rest within the realm of being a multi-passionate entrepreneur which means I create through different mediums, my primary being jewelry and my secondary being digital creation through social media management, and often receive a lot of judgment around not pursuing our jewelry design full time, even though it is successful and self-sustaining.
I am within the belief that you can do anything, but you cannot do everything. I think that you should find what you love to do, whether there are multiple things that you love to do, and do that wholeheartedly.
In regards to our quotes, we are very oriented around self-care and positive practices for strong mental health. Regardless of how many/little businesses or side hustles that you have, social media curates this perception that to be successful you have to be always doing more. It is important to remind others that you can often do more for yourself, by doing just a little bit less.
Burnout is very real, and often not showcased.
What's in store for 2020? (Even if it's just a hint?)
You can expect a little bit of rebranding, as well as some really amazing and fulfilling collaborations. I am really aligning Amara Blue with our values of empowerment, and really look forward to sharing what we're coming up with over the next few months.
Last year we started manufacturing our own stamps, and that has really opened up the door to create designs that we really resonate with, rather than being limited to the same design every handstamp artist has. This has opened up the ability to collaborate with different artists with these stamps.
So far we have created stamps with LanaBetty, Art + Soul Creative Co., and Jynx PLUS you can expect a collaboration with Shaughnessy Otsuji & Studio Sashiko very soon!
Just for fun: other than your own jewellery brand, what is your favourite brand or product and why?
That is actually the most challenging question! We meet so many amazingly talented creatives in our community, but a big shout out goes to Kaju Creations, as well as OHAI - both are run by the most marvellous, and incredibly business savvy boss babes! We adore collaborating with other brands, and are within the believe that you are who you surround yourself with. We have been exceptionally lucky to meet such empowering and inspiring businesses!
WIN AN AMARA BLUE FEMALE EMBODIMENT NECKLACE!
One lucky Canadian winner will win an Amara Blue Design necklace valued at up to $75 CAD! To enter head to my Instagram page (@vickiduong) and find my Amara Blue Design post for all the deets. Contest runs from March 8 until March 22. Good luck!
This contest is now closed. Congrats to Cassandra from Lethbridge, AB for winning an Amara Blue necklace!
Thank you to everyone who participated and be sure to follow me on Insta for more contests.
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