We had the good fortune of connecting with Shea VanKeuren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shea, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
The most important lesson that my business, ShadyWolf Designs, has taught me is to always keep changing. Keep evolving and looking for new ideas. Keep trying new things, new designs, new materials and color palettes. There is no reason to stay in a box. If something isn’t working or you don’t like it, move on and try something else. Don’t be afraid to start over!
While my main business is jewelry making, I just love creating in general. I love making things with my hands and having a piece of art as the end result. Sometimes you also have a piece of mess in the end, and that’s okay too. Each experience of making something teaches you a lesson – how to do it better or differently the next time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been working for almost 30 years and consider myself a “Jill-of-all-trades”. In high school I had a different type of job every summer which allowed me to learn various skills and practice my customer service. In college, I continued working various jobs, starting off as a barista while simultaneously working at a boutique jewelry store. I then managed the front desk of a gym and had a marketing internship with a railroad transloading company. After I graduated, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I began my career in Procurement.
Fresh out of business college, I started as a receptionist at a major sporting goods retailer. When my dues were paid, I moved on to become an Advertising Analyst and then an Assistant Buyer. I spent 9 years at that company before moving to the manufacturing/importing side of retail. I became a Planner for a small inflatables company where we designed, manufactured and imported goods for resale. After a few years of supply chain management, it was time for a change. I used my education and experience and transferred into a totally different industry as a Procurement Specialist with a mining/engineering company.
I continued to work there until my twin daughters were about a year old. At that time, my husband’s business was really taking off and he needed an assistant. We decided that it would benefit our family if I stepped away from the corporate world and took on this new role. In addition to giving our family more flexibility and time together, it has also given me more time to pursue my art and jewelry business, ShadyWolf Designs.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There’s so much to see and explore in Denver! If my best friend and I were given a week to explore, we would have to start off with beers at a craft brewery with a view, like New Terrain Brewery in Golden. The days ahead would bring some hiking in the Front Range and definitely catching a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, one of my favorite places in Colorado. We would spend the rest of our week cruising I-70 and making stops at the hot springs in Glenwood Springs while on our way to Palisades for wine tasting. On the way home, we might make one last pit stop to do a bit of gambling in Black Hawk and enjoy the drive back to Golden through Clear Creek Canyon.
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?
There are a lot of people who have touched my life that deserve a shout out but I would not be sitting in my beautiful art studio right now if it weren’t for the love and support of my husband, Brian. He is truly a gem and it has become more apparent during Covid-times. Like many, his work shifted to our home during the past year and he did not even hint that I give up my dedicated art space so that he could have a home office. Instead, he parked himself in the guest room and made it his own as best as he could. While simultaneously running ShadyWolf Designs, I am also Brian’s Administrative Assistant. I help him with his financial advising business documents and client event management. However, Covid has found me staying home with our twin daughters a lot more as they are currently in remote Kindergarten. This has all been a big adjustment for us and I know it has pushed extra stress onto Brian. Nevertheless, he continues to work hard so that our little tribe can continue to be happy and healthy! I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life!
David Townsend, David Lynn Photography