It all started in 2014 when a friend said I should try finding a hobby to take my mind off of the stress from work and the hot mess that my life was in at that moment. She always gives good advice so I thought about it for a while and thought about what type of activity would be a good stress relief. Now this had to be something beyond working out because even when I work out my brain doesn't shut off. I needed something to completely take my mind off everything running through mind on a constant basis. My inability to turn my brain off resulted in a facial expression/mood similar to the one captured below when my parents sent me away to Day Camp and I clearly was not pleased about it...
I started to remember the days when I used to draw, dance, and do other creative things. A creative outlet was REALLY lacking in my life, and I thought that would be a perfect hobby to pick back up again. Then as I was online shopping and seeing beaded necklaces retailing for $150-300, and I thought to myself, "I can totally make that!" So that next weekend, I hit up Michael's and a local bead store and got enough to make a few necklaces. Check out the pictures below of where I started!
Once I got the hang of it, the creative outlet took off and honestly helped my stress levels to some degree. I started off with a few necklaces, then started making earrings and before I knew it, I was selling things through an Instagram page to total strangers without a formal website. I even got a couple of international orders! THEN... In 2016, I decided to leave my job and pursue an entirely different career track (read more about it here).
After leaving my job, I took the time to create Emerald & Shea, the website, and everything about it. I never knew I would get so much joy over making jewelry and seeing people rock them at weddings, brunches, and many other occasions! It turned into something so much bigger and better than a hobby, because it has given me a way to give back to an incredible organization, Caring for Cambodia. They help to provide an education and so much more to children throughout Cambodia, and I had the privilege of volunteering and working with them for a few months in Cambodia. Caring for Cambodia holds a very special place in my heart, so I decided that proceeds from any sale will benefit them and their programs.
Over the years, I've been able to expand my designs and try out a lot of new things (see below!). It's been so fun and exciting to run my own small business and see its growth and how it has helped me grow as an individual. I have a few other goals for the longer term, so stay connected to see how Emerald & Shea plans to grow and help others along the way!