We had the good fortune of connecting with Dana Birke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dana, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I know this sounds trite but the answer is hard work! From start to finish (as in any job or industry) there is so much work involved in creating the product and getting it sold. From finding the right sources for gems and raw materials, to getting the ideas for and creating the jewelry, to marketing my work, showing up at markets and fairs, being an enthusiastic salesperson and giving unparalleled customer service; it takes a lot of time and hard work. It is so important though. It makes me feel really invested in my work and brings to it an unquantifiable authenticity that people are drawn to!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is very simple and delicate-quite like my own personal style! The gems are my absolute favorite thing! I love them! Honestly, they speak to me, and I have to have them. This may sound hokey but sometimes I think it’s the love that I put into each piece that sets me apart. If you spied on me in my studio, you’d think I was talking to a cat! “Well, aren’t you pretty?!”; “I hope you go to a special home.” “Come to me, you saucy minx” (that would be said to Labradorite!). As I said before, I got to where I am through hard work and having a positive outlook! And no, it wasn’t easy. There is so much competition out there and so many unbelievably talented jewelers ! But I always show up-with a lot of thoughtful inventory, a good attitude, and the realization that I’m not going to knock it out of the park every time and that’s OK. (But I’m still going to try!) I just dust myself off (sometimes literally due to the winds LOL) and come back next time ! I take great pride in my work and great joy in my customers and I always want them to be happy!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I’m going to have to think of a Post-Covid time for this! There is so much to do in this area! Depending on the season we would either go mountain biking in the foothills, hiking in the Flatirons, or skiing in the high country! Hopefully, it would be a time when one of the many handcrafted markets (Firefly, Horseshoe, etc.) was happening and we would definitely shop! Of course if it was in season we would certainly go to one of the amazing Farmers’ Markets. Cocktails and dinner would clearly be in the plan: Blackbelly, Arcana, Oak at 14th, to name a few! A picnic at Chautauqua and a stroll along Pearl Street are also a couple of must do’s!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would definitely not be here without the endless support of my wonderful and kind husband, Brian Montgomery. Not only does he actually build displays that I use in my booth, he helps me set up and tear down at every show. This is a big deal! That stuff is heavy and sometimes I have to be there at 5:30 in the morning! On top of that he supported me when I was starting out and barely showing a profit. He believes in me and my work and always tells and shows me so! I am very lucky! I would also have to include several loyal customers!! There are a number of people out there with A LOT of Dana Birke Designs Jewelry. They are so kind to support me but also to let me know how the jewelry makes them feel and why they buy it. It is definitely what keeps me going! Just to name a few: Erika Marcum, Erica Meikle, Barb Thomas, Tammy Valdez, Bridget Endgren, Kristy McGowan, Annie Norris, Lauren Flores, Ana Rodriguez, Andrea Barela, Anna Smith, Robyn O’Brien and Jodi Cox…to name a few!!