meet the artist : jennifer dahl

jennifer meet the artist
i am so blessed to have so many great sponsors so i wanted you to get to know them a bit more through my meet the artist series!
i am so excited to introduce to you jennifer.
jennifer photo
you may know her from jennifer dahl designs. she makes adorable jewelry that i wear often in my wiww posts. i hope you love her as much as i do!
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1) what made you decide to start your business in  jewelry design?
 
When I started I was a stay at home mom with 3 kids under the age of 3…at the time my daughter was 3 and my twin boys were 1. I really wanted a way to earn extra money but still be home with my kids. I’m an artsy, creative person, so I knew whatever I did it would be something in that area. I never dreamed it would become what it has, but thankfully God’s plans are so much better than mine.
2) how long have you been in business? 
I started in 2004, but really didn’t get going until 2005.
3) how did you start your own business and what tips would you give to others who want to start one?
I loved vintage ephemera and old photos, and combining the two into wearable pieces of soldered collage art seemed like a fun way to create jewelry. I loved the idea of making jewelry that had meaning and a positive message. I taught myself how to solder at my kitchen counter after my kids went to bed. I still have my first piece…it is absolutely terrible. Horrible. But I kept practicing, and eventually I got the hang of soldering well enough to actually consider selling my designs.
I started selling at art shows and street fairs. After a summer of that I decided to try the wholesale market, so I set up a booth at the Minneapolis Gift Mart. I came home from that show with a stack of orders and no idea how to fill them. I found several friends willing to learn and help me, and they worked from home producing the jewelry. I had no idea where this little business would go or what would happen, but many of them are still working for me today. They work from home and are able to set their own hours and be with their children, which was my reason for starting Jennifer Dahl Designs in the first place.
Over the years I expanded to wholesale gift shows in Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and Las Vegas, and in 2011 I started selling on my own website…that’s a whole different world from wholesale and a whole different set of challenges!
Starting your own business is a lot like having a child…it takes a ton of time and a whole lot of love, attention, and nurturing. You have to be prepared for setbacks and failures, and be able to brush yourself off and get back up again. Surround yourself with people that support you, people that will help lift you up and give you positive feedback. Try not to compare your starting point with someone else’s middle or end. Find a mentor…someone who has been down the road you are on and is willing to help you. The hardest part about having your own business is that you are alone most of the time, so it’s good to have someone who can be your sounding board. Most importantly, don’t let negative criticism stop you from going after your dream…not everyone is going to “get” what you are doing, and that’s okay. Constructive criticism is good…listen to it and learn from it. Criticism that is negative and hurtful is not…take it with a grain of salt.
4) what is your favorite item currently in your shop and why?
I love the Sweet Story Necklace right now because of the colors…I need a shot of spring – our winters get long in Minnesota (we still have a foot of snow on the ground and it’s the end of April!) I wear my necklaces with a lot of charms on them…so I mix and match a few of them depending on my mood.
5) which item is your best seller?
The last three months it has been the Chalkword Story Necklace, but our Love You To The Moon Bubble Necklace is our all time bestseller.
6) describe your style in 5 words
Hmmm…that’s hard. I guess casual, classic, eclectic, fun, and colorful.
7) how do you find the time to manage your business, family life, and make new products?  got any secret tips for us?
I wish I had secret tips! If you know of any, I’d love to hear them! I guess I live by the motto “but for the grace of God…” Somehow it all gets done. I have no clue how. Family always comes first. I could write about how I have an elaborate schedule, or that I prioritize, but the truth is that most days I get by on a little coffee and a lot of prayer. I have awesome people that work for me that make me look far better than I really am.
8) what inspires you?
Pretty much everything…I am always in awe of what other people are doing. Anthropologie just about kills me every time I go in there…their window displays are amazing.
9) what do you like to do when you’re not creating, marketing or selling? 

I drive taxi. Just kidding…but I do think I spend as much time driving my kids around and watching their activities as I do working! Aside from that I love to take pictures…I take way too many and they sit on my computer forever. I read a lot…I just finished Holley Gerth’s book You Are Made for a God Sized Dream, which was really good.

 

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if you haven’t checked out jennifer’s shop, now is the time!

she is offering all pleated poppy readers a 25% discount if you use the code PP25 at checkout. this code is valid through may 15th.

Comments

  1. 1

    That was a lovely and generous gesture PP. I love Jennifer Dahl’s site, and I love that you are promoting it. Sharing is the way to go….

  2. 2

    those are so sweet :-)

  3. 3

    Precious pieces. Thanks for sharing with us. I always love it when we get to learn about the sponsors on blogs.

  4. 4

    Oh, the chalkboard story necklaces. So cute!!!

  5. 5

    Thanks for introducing this! These products are super cute! Will most definitely check it out :)

    Christy
    Sunnywithasideof…

  6. 6

    I love this feature series- i fell in love with the necklace she created for craft weekend. So I just ordered it for myself :-)

  7. 7

    I bought myself a story necklace awhile ago, and I LOVE it. I wear it all the time as it goes with everything. The quality of the necklace is amazing too. Jennifer makes incredible jeweler y.

  8. 8

    Oooh! Those are all super-cute! They have that great combination of being both vintage and modern. Love them all and will definitely check out this shop!

  9. 9

    I think the jewelry is beautiful. It is so perfect and says just the right amount with so much meaning.

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