Meet Kristen Molenhouse of Glamrocks Jewelry

tell us about your products. where they are made. who makes them. favorite product features.

Me and my small team hand make our jewelry in our studio/storefront.

tell us about your connection to Chicago. your neighborhood.

I am from Chicago and have lived in the wicker park area over 20 years. we have our storefront in west town at ashland/division.

what do you love about your business, your industry.

I get to use my design skills and make something functional and pretty, it is instant satisfaction. I love being my own boss and no longer working a 9-5 office job!

tell us about your design inspiration - space, smells, colors, textures.

I am a 70s baby, so it's always been my main inspiration. music, nature, and my background in interior design play a big part as well.

what advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?

it has to not feel like work to work, as it will take up most of your life. I always say it should flow and if you're fighting too much upstream it might be time to change creative paths. I have had several creative fields before it felt right like this has.

surprise us with your secret talent, fact, etc.

I am a pretty good kick boxer, I used to teach a class years ago. I am a pretty good cook even though now I don't have much time, and am a margarita connoisseur.

what's the most common question you get about your business?

“What is your jewelry made of?” I love it as it is what sets us apart from the brass and gold plating

tell us about your process for making + creating.

Since my education is in art and design, I have been taught to start with a concept, so that is where I go first. With that and a loose outline of the type of pieces I want to be in the collection, everything else falls into place. I sketch ideas that usually come to me in my sleep/awake stage then work them out in metal, which often changes the design a bit as I have to make it fairly straightforward for my employees to recreate, and consider my materials and price point.

any local makers/brands that inspire you?

Mashallah because she is a major girl boss!

what is the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped you and your business?

We go to the gem show every year and happened to be sitting at the pool in our hotel with one of the worlds best goldsmiths. We chatted a bit over the week and I shared some of my story and current struggles. I won't share the details, but let's just say he was put in my life at that moment to push me back on my path. It was refreshing to hear similar struggles are on every level in this business.

is there something else you would like to share?

We were just featured in the Sept issue of Cosmo, it was our biggest press moment to date and pretty surreal.

Connect with Glamrocks Jewelry

Shop at 1056 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

@glamrocksjewelry on Instagram and Facebook

kendra chaplin