I met Ashlee while waiting in line for food at the Sustainable Midlands Market. I commented on the bow tie she was wearing and asked to take a picture of it.
Real story, I first took a photo only of the bow tie and she called me out and asked why I didn’t take a picture of her whole face. I instantly liked her.
She invited me over to her booth and once I made it over I started snapping away! I loved their jewelry. Especially the wooden pieces!
Getting started, experimenting, and expanding.
Sally started out by making earrings with bottle caps and while doing a show she met Ashlee who suggested she make them into studs. At first, Sally used buttons (and still does) to help create a surface to mount the bottle caps but realizing most of the buttons used were vintage and had a story to tell (on their own) a new product was created.
Ashlee was going away to Thailand and knowing she was really into wooden jewelry, Sally gave her a pair of puzzle pieces telling her the two of them (Ashlee and Sally) “fit together.”
Sally started to collaborate with a company to help create custom wooden earrings (her first pair she designed were diamonds). Working with wood expanded their customer base as wood is versatile, traditional, and classy.
Inspiration for the wooden designs come from customers (one requested cameras) or their own personal adventures. They now work with a wood burner to make the pieces more custom.
While their main business is made up of earrings, they also experiment with other items. Ashlee had found a vintage clip-on bow tie at Soda City and came up with the idea to start making them. They started to bounce ideas of of each other and created slimmer bow ties which are geared towards women. As well as bow ties they also create aprons and cup sleeves. Sally was taught by her grandmother to sew by hand. As an homage to her grandmother, Sally will continue to stitch items by hand only.
What I love about this company is their passion for HANDmade. Including their branding.
The photo above inspired the image used on the back of their business card. Each business card is hand stamped. The HANDmade/DIY aspect of their business is very important them.
Right now their focus is to start selling at local boutiques locally and other cities (Can now be found at Salty’s and Bohemian!), farmers markets, and other craft shows.
sidenote: Sally and Ashley are the biggest marketing tool SOwens Designs has. I have yet to see a photo of them (or in person) NOT wearing one of their pieces.
Their main suggestion was to take all the money you make (from your business) and reinvest it back into the business. Keep the money separate. Whether it’s PAYPAL or a cigar box, build your funds.