My brother told me about San Diego designer Annie Nygard’s jewelry after he bought one of Annie’s bracelets as a birthday present for his girlfriend.
Annie is the owner and creator behind Spiffing Jewelry. She features beautiful metal cuffs, rings, bracelets, and lots more including custom orders–all handcrafted by Annie. She’s a wonderfully talented woman with a contagious zest for life and I’m stoked to welcome her to Gypsy Mind.
How did you learn how to work with metals?
I’m totally self-taught! Google has gotten me through so much as a business owner, with YouTube tutorials and the like, I pretty much winged it until I found my own way.
Have you always loved making things? What do you love about it?
Oh, yes, always! I’ve been crafting since I was a little kid, with my mom. I had crafty birthday parties where we made t-shirts and paper plate hats. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing you created something. Especially when I ‘hit the cycle’ of finding something I like, figuring out how it’s made and then making it exactly how I want it. And then, of course, I get to brag that I made it.
How did you embark upon a career in making jewelry?
When I was planning my wedding I wanted these uber-fancy and quite expensive custom bracelets for my bridesmaids, but definitely couldn’t afford them. So I set about learning to make them myself, with many bead-store trips and much Googling. The end result… well if you compare it to the quality of what I make now, let’s just say my bridesmaids were very gracious about receiving my first ever pieces of handmade jewelry. Of course, they’ve all gotten plenty more goodies from me over the years…
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Hmmm, lush-minimalist? I know it’s an oxymoron. I like keeping my stamped jewelry simple. I only own a few design stamps… I got into the stamped thing because I wanted to create with words. I wanted to do something a little different from all of the other stamped jewelry out there.
So I’m set on making the text the design, not so much the shape of the metal or what’s dangling from it or stamped around it. But at the same time, there’s a certain appeal to layered jewelry, how even the most simple, basic, plain cuff bracelet has extra oomph when you wear three or five of them. When I’m going out for the evening, I’ll wear no less than 10 pieces of jewelry, which might seem like too much, but it really works with the simple style I love.
How do you decide which quotes to imprint on your bracelets?
I started with song lyrics that I love, and that pretty much exploded into all of these orders with different song lyrics, quotes and such. Some of them are so great I have to Google them to figure out where they’re from, and I’ve found so many new artists and movies I love that way. Strangely enough, some of the bracelets for sale in my shop came out of mistakes. Once I stamped the right thing on the wrong metal, so I listed it for sale. Or the spacing didn’t turn out quite right, so I ended up stamping it out on both sides, and listed it for sale. Ironically, those ones usually end up selling really, really well!
What do you love most about the work you do?
That I get to work from home, on my own schedule! I quit my day job just before Thanksgiving last year, and never looked back. I get to sleep in if I want to, make myself a gourmet lunch if I feel so inclined, and I save a ton on gas. But aside from the perks, I love that each and every piece I make has so much meaning to the person who’s going to wear it. When I was making beaded jewelry, it was mostly for fun. But now that each piece is completely custom, I know I’m making keepsakes, maybe even future heirlooms. It makes me so happy to hear back from customers with stories of how much they or their loved ones adore their jewelry.
Name three things that inspire you…
Movies. There are so many brilliant and wonderful things said in movies, and most people don’t realize that a good movie can really change your life.
My husband. He says things all the time that make me laugh out loud, and is always quick with ideas for new things for me.
Music, of course! I have a few favorite bands that I could (and do) listen to non-stop, but I love all kinds of music, and find inspiration in songs on a daily basis.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of your work?
Definitely cooking! I’m an amateur chef/caterer, which just kind of sprung up out of nowhere. I love food, so if I can cook it and feed friends, or go to a fab new restaurant and try something new, I’m a happy girl. I also love to write, and when I find free time I’m working on my book. Aside from those two major things, I love pretty much everything else. Mr. Spiffing and I are Disney freaks. We drive up to Disneyland about every other weekend. And I’m a total girly-girl, so I love shopping and decorating, planning parties. I kind of embrace everything I love to the fullest, so there really aren’t many things I don’t like to do.
Ok, you’re stranded on a desert island. Which five things can’t you live without?
My iPhone. Music, internet, games, and listmaking all at my fingertips. I sleep with it.
My convection toaster oven. I’m in love with this thing. Best toast I’ve ever had, plus, you know, just about anything that fits in there is cooked to perfection. I’m sure I could conjure up something with mangos and coconuts and fish. (Let’s just hope this desert island has lamb…)
A diet coke machine. I could live the rest of my life without coffee, but not my diet coke.
A notepad and pen, there’s always something I want to write down.
Oh yeah, my husband. We haven’t been apart for more than one night in over 10 years. I’m pretty sure I’d die without him.
Thanks so much, Annie! Check out Annie’s etsy shop and her Web site: Spiffing Jewelry.