Available on: Etsy
Designer: Ashley Smith
Each handmade product comes with a story and very often not told. If we know the story behind each work, we start appreciating and value it even more. We came across Ashley's inspiring bohemian story and decided to chat with her.
Spire Trends: Ashley, tell us a little bit about yourself
Ashley: For five years, I lived and worked in Manhattan in the financial industry. Although I had a great job as the Business Manager of Institutional Services at a premier research boutique. I started feeling like I was simply going through the motions and barely surviving instead of building a life that I was excited to live. I dreaded every day that wasn’t Saturday and felt frustrated and disconnected from the goals and dreams I'd had when I was younger.
About a year ago, I reached the end of my rope and was finally ready to say goodbye to the life path that I'd been expected to travel down. I wanted to pursue things that made my soul shine! I have always loved warm weather and the beach so I decided to move to Naples, Florida.
It was one of the scariest decisions I have ever made and I have experienced a lot of self-doubt along the way. It has also been one of the most fun, challenging (in an interesting way), exhilarating, and refreshing experiences. A big part of my journey has revolved around the creation of my Esty shop, LaSirrena. LaSirrena exists to make a difference in peoples’ lives, no matter how small - it is more than just an Etsy shop, more than just jewelry. LaSirrena (which means "the mermaid" in Spanish) is about sharing the magic of sunshine, love, and hope with each bracelet - hope for more happy days and hope for a smile and kind word in the midst of the tough ones.
Spire Trends: We are also huge mermaid enthusiasts… could you tell us about your mermaid encounters?
Ashley: Although I haven’t spotted an actual mermaid (yet! #dreambig) I love mermaids. They evoke this whimsical, mischievous, magical feeling that really speaks to me. My first “magical mermaid moment” was escaping the grind to live out my dream life and my second one was creating LaSirrena. I, in turn, want to help each of my customers find their own magical moment. My dream is that my jewelry will remind people that they should never be limited by other people’s expectations of them and that it is possible to have the dream life you envision for yourself!
Spire Trends: How do you like your new adventure… so far?
Ashley: I love my new adventure so far! Like I mentioned, it was one of the scariest decisions I have ever made and I have experienced many ups and downs along the way. There are times when I question it, but that happens with any big decision! You can't get caught up in the "what ifs". Honestly, I wouldn’t change it for anything and the best part is that the adventure is just beginning! I have a goal and a dream for my future and the future of LaSirrena. I have no idea what the road will look like, but I am so excited and grateful to have the opportunity to travel it.
Spire Trends: We know that mermaid are a big inspiration for you, are there any other notable inspiration for your work?
Ashley: I would say the simple, colorful, carefree beach lifestyle is an inspiration for me as well as the more sophisticated style of my past life in New York. My ultimate goal is to make jewelry that combines the style of my past life in New York with the more laid back boho style of my current life in Naples.
Spire Trends: Would you tell us about your process of making the jewelry?
Ashley: Before I make a new bracelet, I spend a lot of time researching and exploring. I look at new trends and at what customers are currently loving and posting about in fashion, jewelry, etc. Inspiration, of course, is a big part of the creative process. I get inspiration from the things I am surrounded with (sun, sky, sand) and the way they change with the light, the weather, and the seasons. I also think about what I am feeling at that time and how I can translate peace, joy, tranquility, and positive energy into that.
For instance, I fell in love with the Apatite stone because, during the dullness of February, the color of the stone evokes images of sun-drenched afternoons, endless white sand beaches, and shimmering, crystal-clear ocean waters. Even in Florida, February can be tough! :) Once I decide on a new theme, I look for the best materials to breathe life into my vision. I spend the next few days tinkering with different designs and color patterns. Once the design is perfected, I upload it to my Etsy shop and market it using Instagram and Etsy.
Spire Trends: Do you get any help or are you doing all work by yourself?
Ashley: I am currently doing all the work myself! It's challenging, but I enjoy it because it means that there is never a dull moment. I am constantly learning new skills whether it’s on the design side or the business side. I also enjoy having control over every part of the process. I know the end product has been made, handled, and packed with care and love which is very important to me.
Spire Trends: Why did you pick Etsy and do you sell your products in any other place?
Ashley: I picked Etsy because it is great for beginners and makes the whole process of selling goods online easy from start to finish; it streamlines everything from uploading new products to shipping orders and taking payments. It is also great when you are just starting out to have a well-known online marketplace such as Etsy that has continuous traffic.
I don't sell my products in any other place right now (although I do have my own domain at www.lasirrena.com), but that could definitely change as I continue to build out my vision for the future! For now, my focus is on ensuring that each person who places an order will have a wonderful experience.
Spire Trends: Thank You Ashley for for all the insights into your store and to your new adventure. Please checkout some of our favourite works from LaSirrena below.
Stunning multi purpose Moonstone Bracelet
#BeAtPeace bracelet set
A radiant, head turning bracelet made out of a mini hand-cut rough Apatite nugget stone and white Linhasita thread. The stone is held in place with two knots and ends are closed with two Miyuki Metallic 24 Karat Gold-Plated Delica beads. Apatite is a darker stone than aquamarine as seen in the third picture compare.
A gorgeously stunning bracelet made out of a small hand-cut rough Amethyst nugget stone and white Linhasita thread. The stone is held in place with two knots and ends are closed with two Miyuki Metallic 24 Karat Gold-Plated Delica beads.
The Black and Gold pack is comprised of 3 bracelets; the gold tube bracelet in black thread, the gold beaded silk bracelet, and the everyday bracelet in black thread and patterned beads.