We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Barcus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Talisman actually started out as an in-house brand within my former clothing store, Goldyn. We had sold fine jewelry for quite a while, and it seemed natural to make our own version. When I closed Goldyn in 2018, my focus shifted to designing and hand-fabricating Talisman, and the collection evolved from there. As far as thought processes in starting my own business in general… Entrepreneurship is really just in my blood. It’s what I do. In fact, my other work involves consulting for other creative entrepreneurs as they move through the business development process. It’s nice to be able to support like-minded individuals, and help them avoid learning things the hard way, as I did.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I see my collection, Talisman Fine Jewelry, as a set of tiny, wearable sculptures in recycled 14k gold. I’m very inspired by modernist, abstract sculpture work, as well as by brutalist architecture, and the more I dive into studying artists such as Alma Allen, Barbara Hepworth, Rogan Gregory, George Nakashima and others, the more I find my collection evolves with that knowledge. Calling myself an “artist” today is a label I used to struggle with. I was always a business person first, having gone to school for Economics and an MBA. However, as I’ve aged I’ve realized just how important it is for my creative brain to come out as well. I’m mostly self-taught when it comes to goldsmithing, and I continue to learn and grow every day, but these days I find I am finally embracing myself as an artist and creative. One thing that sets Talisman apart, aside from the one-of-a-kind, handmade designs themselves, is my commitment to sustainability. I try and use only recycled metals and responsibly-sourced stones, as well as recycled packaging that can be repurposed by the customer. The jewelry itself is made to last as heirloom pieces that can be passed down for generations. With the world in the state that it is, I wouldn’t feel good about creating new goods that didn’t have sustainability in mind.
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.
Denver has so many new and exciting places to eat, drink, and play. I moved away to Portland, Oregon for a brief 2 years, and it feels like I’m discovering a whole new city now that I’m back again! Right now an ideal day with a friend would look like breakfast at Stowaway, maybe a yoga class or massage treatment over at Nurture, followed by shopping at either Free Market in the Dairy Block, Sacred Thistle, Meek, Queen City General Store, or Yucca. I’d pop over to Somebody People for lunch, maybe stop at the MCA to check out the latest exhibit, and then lounge and listen to a DJ at Sunday Vinyl before dinner at Tavernetta. Dreamy!
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 incredibly grateful for all of the powerful women in my life who endlessly support me and my endeavors. Just to name a few – Courtney Parker, Mecla Soyer-Kaplan, Andrea Li, Jenny Baker-Strasburg, and Ellen Bruss definitely deserve a shoutout.
Product images credit Kristen Hatgi Sink