MEET THE MAKER SERIES
Meet the Maker is a series created to introduce you to to some of the rad and interesting people behind some of the brands we carry at Graffiti Beach.
Interviewer: Jaclyn Najjar, Sales @ Graffiti Beach
Interviewee: Libby Trajkovski, owner of Goldeluxe
Company: Goldeluxe Jewelry
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Meet Down-to-Earth Cool Libby
Jaclyn Najjar: How long have you been making jewelry, and when did you start Goldeluxe?
Libby Trajkovski: I have been making jewelry (and making stuff in general) since as long as I can remember. Friendship bracelets, lanyard keychains and hemp necklaces advanced into making clay beads and working on bead looms, then came pearl stringing, wire wrapping, etc. I couldn't stop! When I discovered wax carving and metalsmithing I knew I had found my medium.
Goldeluxe actually began before I learned how to metalsmith. I became interested in repurposing vintage chain & components into statement necklaces back in 2009 and opened up my Etsy shop. It was fun to scavenge for old, cool pieces and put them together into something new. I managed to sell a lot of those pieces on Etsy which was encouraging. Over time my Etsy shop evolved into what it is today.
JN: How did you get started making jewelry? Were you an artist or designer originally, or was this a random hobby turned awesome?
LT: This was definitely a random hobby turned awesome. Back in 2009 when Goldeluxe was just born, I was stuck in a job I had no passion for. The recession had hit when I had graduated college and I found it impossible to find a graphic design job (my college major) in Michigan. I decided to take a trip to NYC with a friend and was so inspired by the city that I decided to leave my job and move there. I had this pipe dream about working for a jewelry designer and learning more about the process. I had no intention of being a designer or starting a "real" business.
"I find a lot of my inspiration stems from my background in graphic design... I think if I had gone to school for jewelry making instead of graphic design my jewelry would look totally different." - Libby TrajovskiOnce I got there, after a few random jobs I somehow managed to land a job for a jewelry designer. I started out as her graphic designer but ended up taking on the role of production manager. I really got to learn the ins and outs of running a small business working there. I also got to see how jewelry was made. I never knew any of the processes or terminology of any aspect of metalsmithing - I was totally clueless! I'm so lucky my boss had decided to take a chance on me. While I didn't actually make the jewelry at that job, I knew I was interested and ending up taking two 6-week courses in jewelry making that helped me feel comfortable enough to make a few pieces. Goldeluxe truly became a business when one day I was wearing a pair of earrings I had made while browsing a local boutique in Brooklyn. The owner of the store came up to me and asked where my earrings were from, and when she found out they were mine she asked for a wholesale line sheet. While I definitely hadn't made one yet, I knew exactly how to make one because of my job. I managed to make one and bring it to her a few days later, she made an order and the rest was history. That was in 2014.
JN: What's your favorite part about owning Goldeluxe?
LT: I love the freedom - being my own boss is a dream come true. I have created a life and career that I love every day! I also love the creative side of the business - designing a new line and seeing it come to life is so fun and exciting.
JN: You are known for for making understated yet original geometric pieces. Where do you draw inspiration?
LT: I find a lot of my inspiration stems from my background in graphic design. Learning the elements & principles of design in college has really stuck with me through the years. I think if I had gone to school for jewelry making instead of graphic design my jewelry would look totally different. I also draw inspiration just from playing. Sketching, visualizing, moving elements around, seeing what fits, toying with weird ideas in my head - that's how ideas come to me.
JN: You work out of one of my favorite cities, Detroit, Michigan. How does this city inspire you?
LT: I LOVE Detroit. I moved here with my now-husband at the end of 2014. We are both from Michigan and he has had a love for Detroit since long before its "renaissance". We were tired of NYC and it just made sense to move here. I am mostly inspired by all the people in Detroit. Everyone here is very welcoming, friendly and collaborative. The arts community was easy to become a part of and make friends. Detroit is great because there's still opportunity to forge your own path. It's very affordable (although that is changing these days) and you don't have to focus so much on paying rent and bills like in a bigger city. It's easier to be creative when you aren't using as much head space for those kind of responsibilities.
JN: Do you have anything else coming down the pipeline that we can get excited about?
LT: Lots of things! I'm currently dreaming up my holiday collection as well as a simple wedding band collection that's similar to my stacking rings - I make a lot of custom wedding bands like this so it's time to make it official.
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