CA: What made you want to get into jewelry making?
AGJ: I am a jewelry lover! I found that getting ready to go out to an event would take me hours and hours to find the perfect accessory for the outfit. I can go to the stores and buy a dress easily but looking for the accessory was very challenging. Most of the items I found didn’t use materials up to my standards. I decided to research the kind of jewelry which would best fit my personal style. Most of the pieces I researched weren’t very affordable. I was an illustration and graphics major in high school so I figured I could create most of the stuff myself. It didn’t happen overnight, though I’ve always wanted to create jewelry since the 9th grade. I didn’t have the money and resources at the time. I kept procrastinating and procrastinating every year about starting my line. Last year I experienced a life altering situation which caused me to be home for two months. I took advantage of all that leisure time to start this jewelry line. Every piece of jewelry I had ever purchased I started breaking apart. I used those pieces to create some of the stuff I have now. My boyfriend was responsible for the beginning process of my business. He provided me with the basic tools I needed to get this show on the road.
CA: Give us an idea of the work that goes in to the production of an item.
AGJ: It was easier for me because I started as an art major. I would sketch pieces I wanted to wear then I would start to create with the materials I had. It was challenging because what I wanted to create was so big that the pieces that I had just didn’t seem to work out. I was dwelling on the fact that what I wanted to make I couldn’t because I didn’t have the materials. I utilized the pieces I had broken from all the jewelry I originally had. Up to this day I have these crazy ideas in my mind that can’t be created just yet until I accumulate enough funds. It literally takes a vision to create. You can’t just say “I’m going to make a piece” go for it and waste material. Every project needs a blueprint so you are utilizing the correct amount of material and not wasting it.
CA: What is the normal process from design idea to final product?
AGJ: Every piece has a different inspiration but receives the same amount of love. I bought new materials today as we speak. I am going to sit down at home and lay out the materials to figure out what I want to make from the materials. It sometimes takes hours to figure what I want to make. Other times, I sit all day looking at the material. It is at that very point where I wrap everything up to get ready for bed that an idea comes into my head. I unpack everything again to start creating. It isn’t guaranteed the idea will stay in my head when I wake up. I could create a piece and be content with it and the very next day, see something else I can do to work on it. It doesn’t matter how much time I put into piece, if I am not satisfied with the outcome I will scrap a piece and start over.
CA: Now, I know you’ve seen other brands developing themselves, probably future competition. What do you feel sets your brand apart from everyone else?
AGJ: I feel like I don’t look at other jewelry designers as competition but look to them more as inspiration. When I am sitting creating mine, I am not comparing what I make to the next person I am looking at how I could be different. How I could possibly take jewelry making to the next level. I am currently looking for inspiration from Laurel DeWitt. Her line is amazing. She makes me want to do more with my own line. She started making pieces with metal on a small scale and now creates entire ensembles with metals. If this person can do it, I can do it too. Before I was a jewelry designer, I was a consumer. I would go out and look at these things. I wanted something that was long lasting and durable. All of these things I provide with my jewelry. When I give away my jewelry, I like to educate my clients how to maintain their purchases.
CA: What do you feel is the biggest asset that you have right now?
AGJ: The amount of time I have on my hands right now! I have the time to create now that I am transitioning from one job to the next. I am also equipped with enough resources right now and people to make sure I stay on track.
CA: And the biggest challenge you have as of right now?
AGJ: The promotional aspect is what I need to get down. I have the creative side but making the time to get it out there using social media is what I need to work on.
CA: What has been the most rewarding experience so far?
AGJ: I feel like people being interested in the product that I’m producing is the greatest feeling. You don’t want to put all this time and effort into something that no one is even interested in. Jewelry has been around a long time and still will be around for a long time. Kings and queens wore the best of the best which inspired me to want to create. Right now I value people’s input, good or bad.
CA: Describe your customer, what type of person purchases from you?
AGJ: The name of my brand is Asia Golden Jewelry. This means I am anti-silver and mainly use gold to represent to my pieces. My consumer would be one to wear something that is completely original and Bold. They are not afraid to wear something against the norm. People will ask them where they got it from and they can proudly say they got it from Asia Golden Jewelry.
CA: What is the difference creating pieces for men and women?
AGJ: The men and the women have equal quality of detail. For guys, I have to think more because I have to make something that still expresses masculinity. I have so many ideas for men jewelry but the biggest challenge is getting them to wear it. Men have this safeguard to their masculine nature (I am this and I am that) and I don’t get why that is. The most confident of men should be able to wear anything and still be a man. Kings used to be adorned with jewelry all day every day. Why can’t we bring the breast plates, crowns, and arm cuffs back then? It wasn’t feminine back then. For the women, I have a free palette to create while with the men I have more restrictions on it when it comes to my brand.
CA: Where do you see this brand going in 5 years?
AGJ: I definitely see Asia Golden being in movies at some point. Asia Golden Jewelry is not something you buy off the street. I like the thought of it being custom made for people. If you have an event you wish to attend and need a piece, I could make it for you. I can definitely see actors and actresses wearing my stuff.
CA: What is the best advice you can give someone with a strong desire to create a brand?
AGJ: I wasted time procrastinating on it. The best advice is to simply do it. You can’t keep thinking about it. You will never start big. You will have to build up to that point. My biggest fear was not starting as big as I wanted it to be. You have to overcome this fear to do the things you want.