For this profile, I interviewed jewelry designer and founder of Gem & Blue, Krista Young. Krista lives and works in her studio in Denver, Colorado. I met Krista through a love for her jewelry. She makes such sweet minimalist pieces that have a fun, bohemian twist. Her aquamarine earrings are some of my favorites. I also love her simple, personalized rings that are stackable. I have one and it is so simple and sentimental for every day.
See the full interview below of Krista’s inspiring story of starting her own business and being a creative entrepreneur all while raising her twin daughters. Thanks for giving us an example of a creative, working mom and making beautiful things to brighten our lives in the process.
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Check out her full etsy store here.
Tell me about your background, both professionally and personally.
I majored in philosophy in college and then went back to school to study interior design which is what I was doing prior to starting my jewelry business. Personally I am a creative person, and always have some sort of art project going on. My husband & I live in Sunnyside and love being able to raise our 5 year old twins (Gemma & Scarlett) in the city. We both love Mexican culture (I am half Mexican) so it’s been important for us to send our girls to a diverse school where they can be around kids of different cultures.
What inspired you to create your own line of jewelry?
I quit my job to stay home with my girls when they were 1. As a creative outlet ,I started making bracelets out of knotting cord during their nap time. My friends really loved them and encouraged me to sell them. I started selling on Etsy at that point and from there decided to take metal smithing classes as well as casting and stone setting. I completely fell in love with jewelry design and creation. I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do. My business has really grown so much since then and I truly cannot believe that I am able to do what I love for a living.
How long have you been designing jewelry for?
I have only been designing and making jewelry for about 4 years now. I completely immersed myself in all of the techniques and processes. There is so much I still want to learn, being able to create pieces from metal & stones is completely fascinating to me, I see myself doing this for the rest of my life.
Where do draw inspiration from for your lovely creations?
There are so many areas that I draw inspiration from. I tend to like more simple and wearable designs so I try to incorporate my inspirations into pieces that are still simple and relatable. I am so in love with floral patterns and feminine color palates. I find that I usually design delicate pieces with tiny hints of flower or botanical aesthetics.
Tell me about the concepts behind your Gem & Blue Collections.
When I originally started creating jewelry I made very basic staple pieces that women would want in their everyday collection. Now I have more flexibility in being able to design more unique pieces. I typically come out with a spring and fall collection but still stick to a very simple and wearable look. I create pieces that I would want to wear, so nothing too big, or obtrusive just interesting delicate pieces that can be worn everyday.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
My daughters Gem & Scarlett are by far my biggest “everyday” inspiration. They have such amazing brains and come up with the craziest ideas. My daughter Gem is obsessed with drawing and creates detailed characters and stories through all of her creations. Their imaginations and stories are so interesting and inspiring. I just love looking at their identical faces and seeing how incredibly different they are.
How do you find balance between work and play?
It is so difficult to find balance when you are running your own business. Although I do usually work on the weekends, I try to set aside time that is only for my family. Even when I have a pressing deadline or problem, I’ll still shut everything down if I’ve scheduled family time. And yes, I do feel like I have to schedule family time. Traveling is also a huge deal for my husband & me, so we do schedule quite a few trips both with and without our daughters so that we can connect and experience new things together.
As a mom, how do you manage your business and motherhood? Any tips for other moms or moms-to-be out there?
I think being a working mom is one of the most difficult positions a woman can take on. When I decided to quit my job and be a full time mom, I thought I would dive right into motherhood and be consumed by that. I found that I really did need a creative outlet because creating is the way that I am able to express myself and that brings me joy. I always encourage other mama’s to pursue their creative endeavors because I have so many talented friends and really think they can make money with their talents! I think it’s important to remember to charge appropriately for your work. I’ve seen way to many talented women charge far less for their products or services than they should. It’s something that can take adjusting but so important so that you can create a business that is profitable and worth your time. I also think creating boundaries is very important, being able to say no, and not take on every job/ or opportunity it key.
What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
I love the fact that I get to be home with my girls and make my own schedule. Being able to make your own decisions has to be the greatest part about being an entrepreneur.
What does contemporary bohemian mean to you?
To me contemporary bohemian is an unconventional style of creating that is not too rigid or perfect. I like for my pieces to be consistent but feel like each one is individual. I love hand cutting some of my stones because they never turn out too perfect or too uniform. I love combining organic & handmade imperfection with modern designs and style, like setting a rough cut hexagon stone in a beautiful seamless 14k gold setting.