We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Rikkers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have been taking risks since the thought of going to art school for college. It was an unknown path I was on with a completely unknown future. I thought I should do something practical at least so I started with graphic design as my major. But the second I touched metal I knew that was my medium. Then 10 years after college when my jewelry was feeling like I wanted a change from that and I heard an older man was selling his forge. I drove an hour to see what that even meant and I immediately knew I would be buying it. I drove back to his house and paid him a down payment and it took me 6 months before I could pay it off. He sent me out the door with a stack of books which I read cover to cover in those months. It was the best purchase for me and my career. Fast forward 10 more years and my next big risk was deciding to bring my serve ware line to New York to a wholesale show at the javits center. I drove by myself from Colorado to Manhattan in my Honda Pilot filled with my pieces and booth display. It’s a 10,000$ Minimum show by the time it’s all said and done and you have no idea if you’re going to make a sale. Well I nailed it and came home to fill many orders and went back 6 or more times to have continued success! Big risk taking has paid off for me for sure. It has also shown my kids and people around me that it’s ok to take these risks and follow your heart.
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.
I started making serving pieces over 15 years ago when it was a pretty new concept. Now there seems to be a lot more people doing it. But I love to cook and it started as one special spoon for the cranberry sauce at thanksgiving and now I’m making over 55 pieces with the options of different metals and handle designs. I have to say it was easy in that it has just flowed pretty evenly over the years. My designs and finishes have improved since then and people really fall in love with them. So they are constantly adding to their sets or ordering for gifts for their friends and family. They are fully functional and very beautiful. Men and women enjoy their craftsmanship and feel.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Our little town of ridgway has become a foodie town. There are a few incredible restaurants here that you have to try. Eatery 66 is farm to table outrageous menu. And provisions is another restaurant in town that is a win every time we eat there. These two places really cares about the food and where it’s coming from and especially what it tastes like.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband encouraged me to buy the forge 25 years ago which really changed the direction of both of our work. He is a furniture designer and builder. Only working in wood it the time. Now his furniture has a mix of metal and wood. And my sister really backed my idea of going to New York. She is very business minded so I respect her opinions. She even showed up and worked that first show with me.
Other: Tic tok @beautifullyserved