Meet Kristen Molenhouse, Glamrocks Jewelry

 

Glamrocks is handmade precious metal and gemstone jewelry all made in Chicago. I have 2 employees that help me make everything from scratch. We use high quality metals such as 14K Gold Filled, Sterling, and Gold, and I travel to hand-source all my stones. I started in my home studio, but I have just signed a studio/storefront lease at 1056 N. Ashland that will be open in about a month.

What do you love about your business and industry?

I love using my all my previous design and art skills to create something functional that I can wear in hours. There will always be room to grow and a new challenge around the corner.

Tell us what inspires you.

I have always been inspired by the 70's, being born in 1976, so I try to bring that throughout, but keeping it streamlined and on trend. I am obsessed with stones, so a lot of designs are based around a certain stone. I have a background in Interior Design, so I love modern architecture and bringing in some nature as well.

What advice do you have for other creatives and entrepreneurs?

Just do it! It should feel fairly natural though, if you are struggling too much upstream, try a different route.

What is something surprising about you?

I was a personal trainer/ kickboxing instructor for a while. I also make a mean margarita!

What is the most common question you get about you and your business?

Are you full time or is this a hobby? I don't think some people, mainly men and older generations, can wrap their brain around making a living making jewelry. Most don't realize how much work is involved, even without an actual brick and mortar and how many hats you have to wear in a day.

Tell us about your process for making and creating.

Coming from art and design, I was alway taught to start with a concept. So unless a design just hits me while working or in the middle of the night, which happens a lot, I start with a collection idea. I sketch out ideas then take them to the studio to work it out in metal to make prototypes. This is where the design challenge really is, making it comfortable, unique, beautiful, and within your material and cost parameters, so designs often change a lot from what I envisioned.

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

I think this goes back to just jumping in and doing it, and not giving up right away. I think so many struggle with all the details and fear at the beginning like I did the year before I just jumped in and opened an Etsy shop. Not everything has to be worked out before hand to start a business and you can learn as you go. I am still Googling my way through things as they come up. And don't give up so quickly if things aren't happening as fast as you like. Nothing is handed to you, and it takes time to get the sales flowing. I am successful online because I wasn't getting sales right away and took that time to learn some SEO, and looked at how to make my listings better.

Discover more about Glamrocks at glamrocksjewelry.com

kendra chaplin