So, I became a jewelry designer in quite an unconventional way. I have always been creative and loved fashion and design. For as long as I can remember I have been into DYI projects from sewing my own bedding my freshman year of college to making scrapbooks as gifts for family and friends. I toyed with the idea of going to design school or a bigger state school with programs of the sort, but in the end couldn’t pass up the chance to go to Wake Forest where I had grown up with my Dad being a professor there. However, while at Wake, I felt a void for expressing my creative side. So I held two interior design internships and decided that becoming an entrepreneur minor would be a good idea since I wanted to own my own design business one day. However, after getting into taking some of the classes, the professors helped me to realize that I didn’t need to wait; I could start now. So I received grant money and took classes on the side to teach myself the needed skills to make the designs I created come to life. I have continued to take more classes as my business has grown and now have my first employee who helps me in the physical jewelry making process as well as in marketing. Now that I have graduated from Wake Forest and moved to Austin, I am looking to get into interior design. I will most likely go back to school for design in a couple years. I will continue to expand Franky’s as well!
What inspires you and your designs?
Pinterest and interior design magazines/books are my two favorite places to look for inspiration. I also find a lot of ideas from exploring and traveling in new places–anything from unique restaurants, to architecture, to food, to people watching.
What is your favorite piece?
My favorite piece in my current collection is the Turkish Evil Eye which is one of our best sellers. It comes in a necklace and now a bracelet as well! The evil eye sign is one of good luck and also wards off evil. I especially like this sign because I think it fits well with our “for cause” aspect of the line. I like to think that the design is helping ward off Cerebellar Ataxia one piece of jewelry at a time.
How has the your area influenced your work?
I was in a unique situation because I went to college where I grew up. I actually lived on the Wake Forest University campus on a little street called Faculty Dr (where many professors have houses) since I was in Kindergarten. Wake Forest is a great inspiration for my line of jewelry. First of all, the campus holds a special place in my heart and is aesthetically beautiful.
Secondly, the people, from professors, to staff, to students, and now dear friends have been so supportive and inspiring as I have started this journey. Being in that position was a key part of getting my business started because many of the people in the surrounding area knew my Dad, Franky, since he had worked at Wake for close to thirty years. Raising awareness about Cerebellar Ataxia was so much easier with this large supportive group backing me up. It was also very helpful that Wake students are from all over the country. When we would have school vacation breaks the jewelry they had bought would travel all over the place–spreading the word about Franky’s fight against Cerebellar Ataxia. This is what led to linking Franky’s with travel. Cerebellar Ataxia is a rare degenerative brain disease that affects motorskills and physical mobility. Due to the impact and reach of Franky’s Jewelry, even though my Dad’s mobility has been unfairly taken away, his traveling options have become limitless.
I keep track of everywhere the jewelry travels to with a world map on my website and keep track of customers travels on Instagram with the hashtag #wherewillyoutakefranky
What is your favorite restaurant in ?
Hmm, well I just moved to Austin from North Carolina. I would probably have to say that Hillside Pharmacy is my favorite, especially for brunch!
I also just stumbled upon the cutest bakery (Bird Bakery) while visiting family in San Antonio, TX. It is run by news correspondent, Elizabeth Chambers, (total girl crush) wife of actor, Armie Hammer, the star in the recent film, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
It can be hard to balance it all, especially since I was in college and had a heavy academic load and busy social life when this all started. I have learned so much about organizational skills and time management while growing Franky’s. I just have to keep them separate and know when to stop for the day and give my friends and family my full attention. Having a separate e-mail account has really helped me to unplug from it all when I am on personal time. I also have found that getting exercise is a great way for me to clear my head helping me to balance and transition between work and personal time.
I have two favorite gifts. Coffee table books are great because they are perfect for decor as well as useful if you choose an appropriate topic for the person you are gifting to enjoy. Candles are also a go to for me. I always have candles burning in my design studio.
Your favorite up and coming artist / jewelry designer / any creative?
I love the designs of Love Shack Fancy (also great instagram to follow). The designs are so effortless and charming. I can’t wait to purchase a piece to pair with some Franky’s jewelry!
What is your most treasured possession?
I would say my most treasured possession isn’t actually a physical object. I have a very special relationship with my Dad (Franky) whom I created my jewelry business in honor of. I have always clicked with him since I was a little girl. We share the same humor, love for running, Texas country music, and so much more. Relationships mean a lot to me, and I couldn’t put a price on the relationship I have with him; it truly is one of a kind.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading “The Home Within Us” by Bobby McAlpine. McAlpine Tankersley Architecture is my favorite architect. I get so much inspiration from their work.
What are you listening to?
I always have music going on Spotify and don’t really have a favorite genre of music. Some of my favorite artists are Sam Hunt, Beyonce, Willie Nelson, and Shania Twain–quite an array!