No matter what we do, what we do matters.
Meet Gina Blackmore. Gina is the owner of Bijou by Gina B., a local bespoke jewelry design business featuring one-of-a-kind creations. Gina hand-designs all of her jewelry in her home-based studio where she then takes customers by appointment only, ensuring a relationship between the customer and the artist herself. As a Mom and business owner, Gina creates timeless, beautiful, custom creations for clients, all the while defining success on her own terms.
G: I’ve known you for so long now, and I have enjoyed your jewelry so much over the years. I don’t ever think I have asked you this, but what is the story in how you got started making jewelry?
GB: I wanted this necklace in a specific blue color and I searched everywhere and couldn’t find what I was looking for. I went to JoAnn Fabrics and found what I was looking for and just started beading as a creative outlet. I had my wholesale license from another business and when I went to a local bead wholesaler, my mouth just dropped open. I figured out how to do it through trial and error. What worked and what didn’t. I would wear those pieces, and then people would ask about them and wanted to buy them and it just grew organically.
G: I know you have painted things in your home and you love fashion and color and design. Was this a natural process for you to be creative in this way? Have you always been creative?
GB: My Mom and Dad were really creative when I was growing up. My dream job when I was little was to be a fashion designer.
G: I think there is something intrinsically valuable about having beautiful things around you, or in wearing beautiful things. What does it do for you to surround yourself with or wear something beautiful?
GB: I am a very visual person. I’ve always grown up with fashion and design, but it’s just what inspires me. I like to design houses, redecorate, choose colors. What really inspires me is putting things together and finding a way for things to work visually.
G: Yeah, I can see the common thread for you. When I see what you wear, or things in your house, they are all very “you”.
GB: If you look at interior designers, or even clothing designers who really have a point of view, you can tell that it’s theirs. With my jewelry, there is a broad spectrum. I sometimes do heavy pieces, I sometimes do simple pieces, but I always feel like it has my design taste in there somewhere. I think that you have to follow your own point of view. I think creatively you have to really keep to who you are and your design and not follow trends or copy what others are doing. At the end of the day, I always want my pieces to be classic and timeless. For it to be able to be worn ten years from now.
G: There is something so strongly feminine about the way you design things. I think that your jewelry resonates with so many women.
GB: Yes! I like sparkle and glitter. Diamonds and flashy. It’s no secret. One thing to say about my line is that it’s very “pretty”. No matter what color, it can be black, or earthy, but it still has that shine. Over time I have certain clients that always come back for more. And I think that what they like is that my pieces are unique. A big reason why people come to me is that the pieces that I make for them are special, and they won’t see it on anyone else. I have gotten to know my clients so well that now when I buy materials, I start to know who might like it or who to design for in my mind.
G: When I wear your pieces, I feel so pulled together. I get so many compliments, and it often feels like that finishing touch. As women, this helps us feel more confident. But people also think about you as a go-to place in town to get a gift for someone special in their lives. They know they can buy something unique for someone and that’s so meaningful.
GB: Yeah, I love that. I love that people appreciate the time and quality and thoughtfulness that goes into every piece. How often do we get to collaborate and buy something from the actual person who made something these days? People resonate with that. In this time of social media and less personal time, people want to connect with an artist in that way.
G: What inspires you?
A: Travel usually inspires me. I took a trip to the beach once to California and came back so inspired to work with sea tones, and sand colors. It could be anything; pictures, fashion, or interiors. Right now I am designing a collection around an interior that I saw that I couldn’t stop thinking about. When designing jewelry, I find the materials and then put the pieces together, which is usually the opposite way it is done in the industry. Because I am small, I use what is available to me, so I can do smaller collections.
G: Did you ever think in a million years you would be a jewelry designer?
GB: No. It just happened so naturally. I used to do it all at the kitchen table when the kids were little. I still keep my original designs so that I can see how far I have come.
G: It works so well too with being a Mom. You have made it work that you have your family, but you still have this business and a creative outlet where you get to make things for people that mean something to them. Your jewelry and the parties where you sell brings women together, and it’s inspiring. You seem to be redefining what it means to juggle family and business and be successful.
GB: I think that in this world of mass market pieces, once you purchase something, it just becomes another thing. An object. Not to say that I wouldn’t want to be on a larger scale, but I would only do it based on the fact that there are limited amounts of something. I like that each piece is special for only a limited number of customers, or that maybe only one piece is made. It’s the personal connection that is important to me.
For more information about Gina and her jewelry, visit bijoubyginab.com