We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started my business out of a passion and love for designing and making jewelry. My time in art school fueled this passion, and let’s face it, as an artist you have to learn what I call the “art of the hustle”. Basically, finding what it is that you can do creatively to make a living and for me that’s jewelry.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From the passion grew the hustle! Out of necessity as an artist, I was looking for a way to monetize my creative passions. I decided after graduating from art school to try to sell my jewelry, and so began the hustle. As a one-woman-show, I walked in and cold called many boutiques and shops in Denver. I met the most amazing shop owners and many of them agreed to start selling my jewelry. From there, I began applying to art markets and ended up in the wonderful world of the “art carnies”. I would travel around the country, selling my jewelry at many art shows and seeing and meeting amazing and inspiring artists along the way. It’s a wonderful, unique world similar in my mind to what the circus must be like- heading to a new town and setting up your show. I wouldn’t say anything has been easy. I feel I’ve worked very hard to get to the point that I’m at in my career, always pivoting when necessary. Covid has been a brand new challenge with no opportunities for in-person sales. I’ve pivoted to mostly social medial and promoting my website and custom work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is one of the most inspiring cities and is ever changing. I sometimes feel like a stranger in the city I’ve lived in since 1999 because it is so fast-moving and quick-changing. Some of my favorite things to do are hike in the surrounding areas- I love Table Mountain and Red Rocks for a close hike. Then a beer at one of the amazing breweries in town- on the west side a couple of my favorites are New Terrain and Locavore Beer Works. Another one of my favorite outings is RiNo- the murals and art scene are so inspiring- I worked in the area for years, and seeing the change its gone through is amazing! My favorite restaurant in all of Denver is Uchi- a sensory experience from beginning to end. The DAM and MCA are always on my list and we try to see as many art shows and art openings as possible. Live music in Denver (pre-covid) is one of my favorite past-times. I love to see shows at small venues like the Larimer Lounge and Globe Hall as well as the Mission Ballroom and of course Red Rocks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m mostly self taught as a metalsmith and jewelry designer- but growing up in New Mexico, I was around the most amazing, inspiring Native American jewelers. I learned so much just looking at and loving their art. I also feel so amazingly fortunate to have the support of my family and friends! I’ve never received one word of discouragement. My wonderful husband and son have always backed me up and it’s always been a family business of sorts. My husband calls himself “shipping & receiving” and is always game to jump in wherever needed and my son has worked with me in my studio for several years.
Model photos- Amanda Baker Photography (product photos are done by me)