We had the good fortune of connecting with Joel Santos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joel, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started learning how to cut stones about six years ago and really enjoyed doing it. Once I thought about starting to try and sell my stones it seemed very overwhelming to me and it proved to be very difficult to find metalsmiths and jewelry designers to market my finish stones to. That’s when I taught myself how to do metal work so I could gain a wider customer demographic for my work. I also took the COVID situation as an opportunity to launch a website to further the growth of my brand.
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 went to college for photography and I feel like it gave me a good eye for framing. I was able to translate that in to my stone work. My brand and collections are extremely unique. Each stone has its own character and I feel like I do a good job about focusing on that. I like to keep my metalwork very simple so it doesn’t distract from the natural beauty of the stone itself. Once I learned how the different stone hardnesses affected the way you cut it, everything became dramatically easier for me. Slowly over the years I have been upgrading my tools and equipment to also make things easier. One thing I’ve learned that I always like to keep in mind is just because you’re not a fan of something you created doesn’t mean someone else won’t treasure it forever. My current goal is to work with more metalsmiths to create curated cabochon collections for them.
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.
My first go to would be a sporting event, but with the current situation, that’s not really doable. I would probably end up taking them to Levitt Pavillion or the Mishawaka amphitheatre to see a show. Possibly camping as well in the mountains in the area. I would definitely go to the sand dunes as well as hitting a few hot springs around. As far as Bars and recreation goes, I am a big fan of Gerards in Denver. I am an avid pool player and enjoy their quality tables and quality selection of drinks. As far as food goes I would definitely go to Little beast street food on Colfax for lunch multiple days. Dinner would be hard to choose. I’m a big fan of “To the wind”, Bastiens, work & class, sushi den and the list could go on forever. The diversity of food in Denver is pretty incredible.
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?
Bill Perry is my good friend, teacher, and mentor. Bill has been cutting stones for over 30 years and has taught me everything I know. He had all the equipment and necessary tools for me to get started. If it wasn’t for him I never would’ve gone into this line of work as a profession. It would have remained just a hobby.
Elliot Trout Josh Hand