Instagram has been a fun and wonderful place since Jessica and I started the We Are Midlife account. What’s so fun about it, you might ask? In such a big space you really do get to “meet” people. One of those people we recently got to know was Heidi Carey of Heidi Carey Design. Her bold, unique, sometimes Asian sometimes inspired jewelry caught my eye. I had the opportunity to view and try on some of her jewelry and talk to her a little bit about her business. Heidi started out her career in New York, after studying Economics at Barnard College and Design at Parsons, designing accessories for Ralph Lauren. Lucky for Heidi her boss (at Ralph Lauren) was Vera Wang, who became a friend and role model.
I had a few questions for Heidi and I wanted to share her story with all of you.
How did you get started making jewelry?
I started designing and making jewelry a few years back to help me relieve the stress of raising three wild boys and being married to the same man for many years (who I still adore)!
What drew you to jewelry design?
I fell in love with the stones and beads. I use mostly semi-precious cabochon stones which have such great texture and color. I love that every stone is unique and a bit rough.
What’s been your greatest challenge and biggest joy in this process?
My biggest joy is watching people discover my things and hearing from them how many compliments they get when they wear my jewelry. The biggest challenge for me is helping people understand that my things are an exceptional value without being able to put it in their hands. My prices are much closer to wholesale than retail so many people assume its costume, not real. Once they get things in their hands and try them on, the biggest reaction I get is “wow, what a deal!” which I love. But it’s hard when you only sell online.
Where are you from, where are you located now? Do either of those influence your designs?
I grew up in New York and have lived in San Francisco for the past 25 years. New York gives me my classic leanings and San Francisco opened my design horizon toward the East. Today I think of my style as East meets West. Classic but always with a twist and an effort to be unique.
What is your inspiration?
Forgive me for the cliche…but I get a ton of inspiration when I travel. I usually start in the International Terminal of SFO! Into Hermes and Gucci to see what they have in season…..I just don’t have time in my life to shop the Gucci store unless I am traveling. I typically do a bunch of research before I go anywhere to find local boutiques to visit etc. I am also inspired every day by people who take style and fashion risks to look great. I prefer living and dressing slightly outside the box and when I see others doing it well it’s super inspiring.
What keeps you going?
It’s fun. Yes, it’s hectic, but its fun. I love my customers but also my suppliers. I have a man named Omar who cuts beads for me in Afghanistan. I love carved beads and he has the best I have seen so I have bought a lot from him. He will send me photos for approval from his workshop in Afghanistan. I just love that, its fun and we have become friends. Fun with friends what could be better?
**This beautiful buffalo horn bead necklace has two sides, the four characters mean Good Fortune and the other side means Happy Fortune.