Once upon a time… Isn’t that how most fairytales start?

Once upon a time… Isn’t that how most fairytales start?

2-weeks ago I quit my “day job” in marketing to finally pursue my passion and become a full-time jewelry designer and business owner. But the journey to this point has been 18-years in the making. Not exactly the typical Disney princess movie.

Back in 2002, recovering from an abusive relationship and financial rock-bottom, I sold all of my jewelry tools and supplies to buy groceries for me and my kiddos. I traded everything I had bought and accumulated over the years, easily worth over $5k, for $400 cash. I was broken. But I had no other choice, and so, I closed that chapter. I would not be a jewelry designer after all. Instead, I would get a stable 9-5 job, with good benefits and 2-weeks’ vacation. I’d rent a townhouse and get a gym membership. And that would be my life as a single mom. Not sexy but responsible.

But that’s not how my fairytale ends.

Fast forward 9-years… I remember it vividly. It was early Fall, walking around the neighborhood, hand-in-hand, with my new hubby. We were chatting about a specific tool he needed to work on one of his antique motorcycles. The conversation eventually shifted to my days as a metalsmithing student. I began recalling all of the amazing tools I had sold off, the pieces I had created, the teachers and the mentors. The memories poured out of me with a momentum of their own. I had closed the door on that part of my life, never dreaming I might open it again. That was a luxury I couldn’t afford.

“Maybe now is a good time to get back into all of that” my hubs suggested, as we walked. Huh? My heart raced and my mind darted. Then the questions. Could I really give it another go? Start over again? Did I still have my creativity or had it dried up? Whatever he said after that I did not hear. I was busy rebuilding the fairytale. In my mind.

Hours later I jumped online, found the nearest legit metalsmithing course and registered. Still feeling the adrenaline rush of “what if”, I could barely contain my excitement. I told myself I was just going to dip a toe in. Knock off the rust. Have some fun.

Then I was there. In the studio, in class for the first time in years. From the first pop of the torch, I knew. The passion was still there, like a long-lost first love. It was undeniable. I signed up that day for another course in stone setting. It had been years, and I wasn’t even sure if I had the skills to do what I once had done. “Just have fun with it” I repeated to myself. “If nothing more comes of this than so be it. At least you had some fun”. And boy did I ever.

I picked up a shiny oval hematite stone, and had fun designing a free flowing, fused silver one-of-a-kind pendant. Every part of the process was exhilarating, as I poured every ounce of pent up creative energy into that piece. It was more than just a fun, creative outlet. It was my resurgence. All the parts of me that thrive on making and creating, bubbled up. It was the beginning of my new fairytale, and what ultimately led me to this day. Full time jewelry designer and business owner.

Just before the holidays, 2-weeks out from quitting my day job, I sold the hematite necklace to a dear friend and fellow jewelry designer who has encouraged me over the last few years to hold on to my dream. I believe the universe sends us messages that we are on the right (or wrong track). That this necklace found a forever home, just when I’m ready to fly, is the universe saying “yes girl, you got this”. Let go of the past. It was just the broken road that got me to today.

As all good fairytales have a happy ending, so too does mine. Only this not the end, this just the beginning.

1 comment

  • Lisa Mack

    Hi Toby! Thanks for sharing your story. It really is a fairytale. You & I have some things in common. We both went to art school/college, we both have embarked on a new chapter of our creative story & we both strive to live out our dreams everyday. I would love to share my story with you too. I would like to send you a sample of my new business endeavor as my gift to you. Please email me if you would like to learn more. Lisa Mack

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