How I Did It: Celebrity Jewelry Designer Aklia Chinn’s Custom-Made Success

Using a love for travel and unique craftwork, she turned passion into profit

Chinn's custom pieces (Image: Chinn)

How do you use the Web/social media to build awareness of your brand?

I use twitter @aklias to keep customers apprised of sales and special events and I have a Fan Page on Facebook which allows me to reach thousands of “friends” on a daily basis.  I  also re-vamp and update my website, Aklias.com to keep it current  and I’m so pleased that people all over the world have access to my pieces…that’s wonderful.

What’s your inspiration in choosing the materials and look of each piece?

I’ve have had the good fortune of traveling to many exotic places in search of treasures to incorporate into my designs including East Africa where I met the Maasai people and brought back some of their tiny glass beads, buttons, pieces of hammered aluminum, and wire.  In Thailand I shopped in vast markets for leather goods and intricately forged, fine silver beads. In India I visited ancient forts and spent long afternoons sifting through antique beads, pendants, and talismans from all over the continent. In Turkey I toured awe inspiring ancient ruins and lost myself in bazaars and shops filled with lavishly embroidered textiles, silks, and breathtaking tribal jewelry and design elements. I have certainly gleaned inspiration from all these incredibly rich experiences, and the wonderful and generous people I have met on these adventures.

TIPS FOR BUDDING ACCESSORIES ENTREPRENEURS

Start by making/designing items for yourself: Wear your creations! Give them to friends and loved ones whenever an occasion to give a gift  arises. (This will get your work out and circulating in the world.)

Be as original in your design style/technique as you possibly can: Don’t follow trends. (That way your work will be recognizable as uniquely yours.)

Take inspiration from all around you, travel and explore the world whenever you can: Expand your horizons. Try new things. Take risks. Be fearless!

Learn from masters: Inform yourself by reading and studying your craft. Acquire a vast repertoire of techniques to incorporate into your designs.

Use high-quality elements and stand by your work: If something breaks, fix it free of charge.

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