Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business.This week we chat with Allie Phillips, owner and designer of Ann Revere Jewelry. She shares with us what a typical work day is like while also constantly searching for inspiration.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
Hi! My name is Allie Phillips and I grew up in Phoenix and spent my whole life in the desert until my husband, our dog June, and I moved to Oregon two years ago. If someone had told teenage me that, at 30, I would be a jewelry designer living in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest, I would have thought it sounded too good to be true.
2. Why did you decide to create a line of jewelry? Why did you decide to name your collection after your grandparents?
While on leave from my job as a research consultant, I decided to take up a hobby to occupy my time and chose jewelry. A hobby quickly turned into a passion, and I now spend my days learning new techniques, photographing my work, and being paid to do something I love. Ann Revere Jewelry is named after my grandparents, Edna Ann & Paul Revere Baker. They were the two most supportive and creative influences in my life from as early as I can remember. My grandfather was a watercolor artist and photographer and my grandmother was one of those creative minds who could make anything my cousins and I could dream up.
3. Where do you find your inspiration for your collection?
Most of the time, the inspiration for my creations comes from the gemstones that I find. I’ll become obsessed with a certain stone and then work backwards to try and design the right way to showcase it. I’m also often inspired by clothes- I’ll see a gorgeous dress at Anthropologie that I can’t get out of my head and spend my day dreaming up what type of jewelry would complement it best.
4. What is your most effective form of marketing for your business?
Instagram has been absolutely wonderful for my business-traffic from the social media platform accounts for over half of my sales. It’s also such a great way for customers to easily interact with me and ask questions about pieces they see. Since I offer customized sizing and lengths on every item, I often receive a lot of questions and customers seem more comfortable leaving a comment on social media rather than sending an email.
5. If you could design your jewelry for anyone person, who would it be and why?
Hands down, Gina Rodriguez! In addition to being stunning and able to rock any style she tries, she is a truly inspiring woman. You can tell that even though she worked her butt off to get to where she is, there will never be a day she isn’t grateful for and humbled by her success. Gina Rodriguez is a phenomenal role model for young girls with dreams, and I dare anyone to not be inspired by her Golden Globes speech.
6. What is a typical day of work like?
My day typically starts with my favorite part—the actual making of the jewelry. Sitting down at the bench with my torch, tools, and cup of coffee is my happy place. After the pieces for the day are made, cleaned, and ready for the customer I package orders, print shipping labels, and get them ready to head out. My afternoons are usually spent doing administrative work, design sketching for future pieces, and photographing pieces. Trying to dream up and take interesting new shots for the jewelry is one of the more challenging but also one of the most rewarding aspects of the business.
7. What has been your biggest challenge in running your own business?
Confidence has always been the biggest challenge for me, and I think it is for a lot of creative people. There is never a guarantee that even one person will like what I decide to put out there, so I have to enjoy the process for it to be worth it. The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was truly a breakthrough for me, it should be required reading for anyone who wants to live a creative life. At the end of the day, the risk is so incredibly worth the reward. Those days when it seems like everything is lining up, and someone is responding to what you are doing—there’s no feeling like it.
8. With so many evolving jewelry trends, what makes you stick with the simpler, more delicate designs?
I’m that person that when they find the perfect shirt, they buy it in every color available. I love simplicity, and the jewelry designs that appeal to me always stay within that delicate style. This fall, my collection with a dear friend Lavenda Memory of Lavenda’s Closet is launching which will showcase a different side of Ann Revere Jewelry- edgier, and at least a few steps out of my comfort zone. It has been so fun designing with another person and finding a way to incorporate both of our styles into something that feels like the definition of collaboration.
9. What are your plans for Ann Revere Jewelry in the next 5 years? 10 years?
In the next five years, I would absolutely love to find more ways to give back with my company. During college, I focused on social entrepreneurship, and I truly believe it has the power to change the world. Working to find the right partnerships and causes is a big priority for me moving forward as the company grows. When I try and fast-forward ten years in my mind, the only thing I know for sure is that I want to continue to be involved in every aspect of this business. I always want to have my hands in the design, the creation, the photography, the packaging, the marketing, and the customer service. This business is my baby, and being able to put my love for it into every step makes me grateful every single day.