I can’t believe that on September 28th it will officially be five years since launching Dune Jewelry. In 2007, I was collaborating with my childhood best friend, Kellie Quinn, and we were making beach sand jewelry for friends and family. Every time I saw the recipients of our jewelry they would be wearing it and I thought; “Wow! They truly love it!”. The more I worked with different sand from around the world, the more intrigued I became with its colors and texture. Sand is the perfect artistic medium and our pieces capture cherished moments in our customer’s lives.
In 2008 I was working in real estate and bartending to make ends meet. Creating beach sand jewelry by hand was the exact creative outlet that I needed in my life. As Kellie continued to build her business, Beachsand Snowflakes™, I continued to play with different beach sands, resin, glue and enamel techniques creating new designs as I went. When we decided to move forward in our business endeavors separately, I began studying different techniques and working with a variety of metals to learn best practices.
In 2009 I met my future husband Eric, who was extremely supportive and enthusiastic of my art. As our relationship grew, so did my desire to start something new and have more control over my future. The real estate market wasn’t booming at that time and I wanted options for my future.
In 2010 I got married and decided it was time to try my hand in business. The phrase “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” was consistently stuck in my brain. As luck would have it, my real estate assistant, Dustin Bell (fresh out of college) had moved permanently to Boston from Colorado. Although he wasn’t really much of a “beach guy” he still loved the idea and came from a long line of business and marketing experts. I recruited him to help me with the graphic and tech side of the business while we both continued to work full time in real estate.
I launched Dune officially on my birthday so that we’d remember the exact date – September 28th, 2010. We rolled in to 2011 with some early craft show successes and decided to hire a sales rep company and our first ever Sand Artist™, Lindsay, to help me make the jewelry. I became pregnant with my first daughter, Alexa and continued to haul equipment from craft show to craft show and spread the love and the word about Dune all while making the jewelry at my kitchen table. I’m self-taught so before I even knew what a lapidary machine was, I remember Eric and I sitting at the table trying to make orders in time for Christmas 2011, both of us had chafed, injured hands because we were sanding each and every Island necklace down by hand. It would take hours and hours just to make one necklace. Luckily sales and designs evolved and I was able to concentrate on learning new techniques to make life livable, save my hands and make Dune Jewelry scalable.
Alexa was born in February of 2012 and we moved in to our current studio later that year because I was pregnant again and because it was difficult living, working and having a baby (not sleeping) in my tiny basement with a team of 6 – me, Dustin, Lauren, Becca, Lindsay and Sam.
Since moving in to our current space we’ve added TONS of members to our team including a graphic designer, bookkeeper, a team of sales representatives and, of course, 9 amazingly talented Sand Artists™.
Even though every day is a learning curve and can be tremendously challenging, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING. Every day at Dune is filled with excitement, fun, frustration, challenges, wins, stress, laughter, education but most importantly love. Our customers are the best! They call and write to share their experiences and the reasons they love to wear Dune. Our Sand Artists™ take each and every piece of jewelry that they make and add major amounts of creativity and skill…placing the grains of sand as beautifully as possible into each piece knowing that the piece represents someone’s memory. A cherished moment that they’re capturing within a piece of jewelry that the customer can wear forever.
I can’t believe that it’s been 5 years already. I’m so blessed and so lucky to have a wonderful family inside and outside of Dune. This team I’m surrounded by is pure talent and the excitement that I feel when I think of the next 5 years is electric! I can’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Thank you to each and every single one of you who have supported Dune Jewelry over the years.
With love & sandy hands…