#8: Spotlight: Interview with Jewelry Designer Aziza

by Shalanda Leigh in ,


Name plate necklaces are in this season and of course I had to get myself one! However, I didn't want something loud and gaudy like those of the 90s. Nope. I wanted something delicate and feminine.

Luckily, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across AzizaJewelry. Customer service is excellent and the quality of my necklace is impeccable. I was so amazed by Aziza and her designs that I thought that an interview was a must!

 

#8: Spotlight: Interview with Jewelry Designer Aziza - www.shalandaleigh.com

Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What's your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?

I grew up in Brooklyn , NY and moved to Santa Barbara, California about a year ago. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art. I always knew I would be an artist in some form or fashion. Besides being a jewelry designer, I also enjoy making pottery and sell some of my pottery online at: www.creativeutility.etsy.com.

In my spare time I love gardening, trying out new recipes in the kitchen with herbs from my garden and entertaining friends. When I’m not indoors creating something, I am usually exploring Southern California, enjoying the sandy beaches of lovely Santa Barbara, hiking or hanging out with friends.

Where do you get your inspiration?

If I’m working with gemstones, inspiration comes from the gemstones themselves as I try to emphasize their natural qualities.

When did you realize you wanted to become a jewelry designer?

I have been making jewelry since I was 7 or 8. After college I decided to take a few metal smithing (technical jewelry making) classes and enjoyed it so much that I started making jewelry for myself. Soon after I also began teaching classes.  

Eventually more and more of my friends, family and co-workers wanted what I was wearing. Years later, the demand grew to such a degree that I was making more money at my craft than I was at my day job. I never really decided to become a jewelry designer. It just sort of organically grew into a full-time business. Ten years later the demand continues to grow.

Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of jewelry.

I don’t have a defined process for designing. Sometimes I let the gemstones speak to me and other times I will sketch out a design on paper. Yet there are times I will just grab some wire and my pliers whenever I feel inspired and start working.

What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?

I was interviewed on TV as a featured designer on WPIX in NY in 2012. That year I also co-authored a book about entrepreneurs in 2012 called “You Make a Difference: 50 heart-centered Entrepreneurs share their stories of inspiration and transformation..

The year 2013 my jewelry being featured on NY1 and Huffington Post and I was a featured designer in the Santa Barbara News Press.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

A few of my most recent favorite materials include sterling silver, solid 14k gold and moretti glass. I love working with moretti glass because its very fluid and I can create fun and intricate designs with various colors in my beadwork.

What are some of your goals as a designer?

I would like expand my brand to more stores both in the US and internationally. Another goal would be to  always be working on fun and new designs.

What advice do you have for aspiring jewelry designers?

Always make quality work that you can stand behind. Be willing to work hard and have a plan. Ask for help when you need it from someone who has been there and succeeded.

What do you like/dislike most about designing jewelry?

Jewelry is something beautiful that sparkles and brings joy and happiness to people. It feels good to be able to make others happy with something I created. I especially feel honored when brides ask me to make jewelry for themselves and their bridal parties because I feel like even though I’m not there, I get to be a part of their special day. I also enjoy interacting with my customers.

The thing I like least about designing jewelry is that I use a lot of mini metal files and as a result I don’t have any nails left (Its really not that bad at all though).

How would you define your personal style?

I would define my style as urban chic. I like to combine a classic, timeless look with fun bits of color mixed in.

What are some of your favorite fashion websites, magazines, or books?

Some of my favorite magazines include Vogue, Real Simple and Martha Stewart weddings.

Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

I can be found at www.AzizaJewelry.com and for more about me and my work, my life and updates on my jewelry collection you can check out my blog: www.azizajewelry.blogspot.com.

I’m also on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/AzizaJewelryonFB.

I’m also on Pinterest/Instagram/Twitter: @azizajewelry