Have you ever walked into a store to buy something and thought to yourself…“I wonder who made this?” From time-to-time we may make a conscience effort of doing this, but if we’re being honest, for most of us (myself included) we buy things out of ease, comfort, price-point, without ever really stopping to think about the person or the process behind that product. And most times, can we really do that? Mass-produced items from foreign countries (and American companies) line the shelves of our favorite stores and if we’re not intentional seekers and purchasers, we miss out on the beautifully unique, one-of-a-kind treasures of the local, small business community of artists, designers, makers and crafters right around the corner.
And that is what Handmade Hive is all about…Supporting the small business community of local artists, designers, makers, and crafters by promoting their handcrafted goods and their handmade process so you get to experience deeper connections with these creative entrepreneurs!
In this installment of Meet The Artists you’ll get to learn more about the person and the process behind the shop – The Oily Bead.
Margaret Powell is the owner of The Oily Bead. She makes beautiful essential oil diffuser jewelry in her home studio in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I first met Margaret through a mutual friend who ran in the NYC Marathon yesterday and was raising money to help victims of human sex trafficking. I bought one of her diffuser necklaces and it was love at first diffuse!!
You can find her jewelry in her Etsy Shop and you can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Let’s meet Margaret, the person behind the products:
“The Oily Bead represents the marriage of essential oils and jewelry. Each necklace and bracelet has porous lava beads, which diffuse your oils, allowing you to enjoy aromatherapy while wearing pretty jewelry.
Many of my pieces are minimalist in style and work great for layering with other necklaces. They are also pieces that can be worn in the everyday. When I’m designing a piece of jewelry, I try to think about the things I like to wear and purchase. The best piece of jewelry is one that goes with a lot and coordinates with many outfits in your closet. That’s why you’ll notice most of my pieces are neutral with lots of earth tones.
I used to make jewelry in middle school with my mother, who was an artist, and my younger sister. We made beaded bracelets and necklaces, and my mom’s friend sold them for us in the break room where she worked. I became inspired to make diffuser jewelry when I was on a search for a diffuser bracelet to use my essential oils with, and realized I absolutely could make my own jewelry! I started doing research and brushed up on my jewelry making techniques, came up with a base product line, and opened the shop in August 2016 on Etsy”.
Margaret uses a high quality gold filled or sterling silver chain for her necklaces and is best know for her memory wire/wrap gemstone diffuser bracelets. They are a one size fits all and give the look of multiple beaded bracelets. These bracelets utilize semi-precious stones, wood beads and lava beads. And they are GORGEOUS!!
I wanted to know who the most influential person has been in Margaret’s handmade journey, as well as what influential artist or designer would she like to spend time with and she responded by saying:
“My sister has been the most influential person on this journey. She is an elementary art teacher and when she has free time she loves to paint. She often encouraged me to find something to channel my inner creativity and often spoke about how therapeutic making art is. She was definitely a big driving force in pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and take the leap into making jewelry.
And if I could spend time with an influential artist or designer, I’d love to spend time with Ashley Lemieux. She is a fashion entrepreneur who started a jewelry company called The Shine Project. Her company employs inner city youth. They are involved in the production of jewelry, shipping, customer service, event planning and more. I admire her so much for her ability to grow a handmade business from practically nothing, to a thriving business with a huge following, all while mentoring teenage/college aged kids in need.”
(I just spent some time over on Ashley’s website and WOW! You’ve got to check out what she’s doing and how she’s helping to make a difference in the lives of inner city kids in Phoenix, AZ.)
Margaret is a mom to two young children – her daughter just turned 3 and her son is 9 months old. She has been married to my husband for 7 years, and was a real estate agent prior to having kids.
Now that she’s taken this leap into creating and being her own boss, I wanted to know what that means to her and what plans she has for the future:
“The best part of being a designer/maker/crafter is that you are pretty much in control of your own business. Within reason, you determine how successful your business can be. There is so much more to a handmade life than just making product. The time that goes in to making sure the product looks nice in pictures, editing pictures, writing up listings, figuring out the right titles and keywords (SEO), packaging, keeping inventory of supplies, gaining a social media following…the to do list is endless.
In 5 years I would love to have a larger studio space with a production assistant or two working for me. I would love to see my jewelry in boutiques. The sales, marketing and social media side of starting and running a business is very fascinating to me. I would love an opportunity to long term be able to mentor other “makers” in helping them get started.
Handmade to me is a product in which most of its components are not mass produced or made by machine. In my case, handmade is a process that happens in small snippets of time while my children nap, or after they go to bed at night, during preschool or baby sitter hours. None of the production of my material is outsourced, my jewelry is truly handmade”.
My final question is always the same…What would you like people to know about why it’s important to support the local community/local artists?
“When you support a local artist, your helping them pay for their kids swim lessons, or pay down that extra student loan debt, or pay for that extra family vacation they’ve been dying to take. Shopping local or shopping small is supporting someone’s dreams of being their own boss, making a product and running a business that they are passionate about”.
All images are courtesy of The Oily Bead
Stuff mentioned in this post:
How about you? Have you used any of Margaret’s diffuser jewelry? Do you have a favorite essential oil to diffuse? Give her a shout-out in the comment section below!
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