A few years ago, I was working at a private all-girls school in Toronto as a Residence Don. The other dons were lovely, and I’ve remained friends with a few of them. During my time spent there, one of the girls introduced me to her friend who made jewelry. At the time, I checked out her website and ‘ooohed’ and ‘aahhhed’ over things. A few months later, on my birthday, my friend gave me one of the pieces I was (and still am) in love with: a beautiful antique key necklace with a simple leather strap. I was smitten. I still wear this piece at least once a week. You can check it out in my blog post here.
Since then, this fabulous jewelry maker has emerged on the scene; it’s been incredible to watch as her style evolves, and her technique becomes more complex. This is the first in a three-part series highlighting Liana Marie as an artist and, more importantly, as an inspiration to aspiring women in business and the arts everywhere. Therefore, I present to you: an interview!
1) When did you initially get into jewelry design and creation? How did it come about? It all started in 2007 when I walked into a bead store in Oakville and was completely mesmerized by all the different shapes and colours. It really was a feast for the eyes. I decided to take a bracelet making class and that was that. I was hooked. I taught myself how to make other kinds of designs by reading books and watching YouTube videos. I was so engulfed in making jewellery that I decided to start a little side business (I had a part time job working in an art gallery at the time). After doing a bunch of shows and getting into a couple stores I decided to take a big leap (and risk!) and quit my job in 2011. I have been slowly but steadily getting my name out into the world and each month truly gets better and better!
2) What inspires you? Is it always the same, or changing? I have an art history background so I get a lot of inspiration from periods of time like art nouveau and art deco. I also am obsessed with Pinterest and am constantly inspired by that and the boards I create. Not just jewelery boards but colours and shapes also. Even rustic spaces with a modern twist really inspire me which you can definitely see in my fall 2013 collection. [You can follow Liana on Pinterest here.]
3) What do you like best about your job? Being my own boss and working at a pace that suites me. I am a low stress kind of person. Although I tend to procrastinate so sometimes I put myself in stressful situations intentionally. I need to work on that.
4) How many stores are you now in? 12.
5) If you could sum up your newest collection in 3 words, what would they be? Whimsical, metallic, juxtaposed.
6) I love that you name many of the pieces after your friends! Is this ever a difficult process? Are people vying for your attention to have a piece named after them? Actually my friends get really excited when a piece is named after them. I try and name a few pieces in every collection after friends but the bulk of the fall 2013 collection is named after iconic women from various periods of time. A piece gets a name once completed and I kind of let it tell me what the name should be.
7) Any words of advice to other women out there who are attempting to run their own business? Take risks (like quitting my job), face your fears (like cold calling stores), and get out of your comfort zone. You learn so much about yourself by having your own business. I’ve learned that I hold back a lot, and it’s something I’ve had to work really hard to overcome (still working on it!). But through taking risks and doing things that are slightly uncomfortable for me, I have been able to learn and grow as a person and a business.