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Sitting Down with Maebel Jewelry

Looking for some new jewelry? Skip the expensive jewelry store and try on some beautiful handcrafted works of art from Milwaukee's own Maebel Jewelry!

We were so thrilled to get the chance to speak with Stacey Stewartson of Maebel Jewelry and talk about how her business came to be, her artistic process, and how she has found success using her stamps to brand her business.

Can you tell us a little bit more about Maebel Jewelry?

My jewelry business literally started with a bag of "trash". A friend of mine was clearing out a relative's basement, and anything I didn't take home with me was going to be donated or thrown away. That day I came home with a contractor sized bag of partial leather hides and scraps. That unassuming bag of color, texture and wonderful smells changed the path of my life and cemented one of the main values of my business - reducing waste by purchasing my leather second hand.  

That bag is where it all started, and ever since then I have made it a priority to continue sourcing leather from artisans and companies who have already used the portion of the hide that they needed. I call the leftovers that I use salvaged leather. I salvage the remnants and create something new. Obtaining materials from a variety of sources allows me to offer unique and sometimes very limited edition pieces. It feels like a win/win to me because some pieces are just a little more special when you know there were only a few produced AND every single piece has been diverted from a landfill and made into something beautiful.

Each and every piece of Maebel jewelry is handcrafted with bold simplicity and attention to detail by me in small batches inside my home studio located in Milwaukee's Golden Valley neighborhood. I believe jewelry is an accessible, delightful way to express personal style and add beautiful design to your daily life. Wearing Maebel jewelry allows you to be bold yet lovely, simple yet unique.

We love your Jewelry, where do you get the inspiration for your designs?

Inspiration for jewelry designs comes in a couple different ways. I would say my overall design goal is finding ways to utilize simple shapes in a bold way. Another significant factor is the leather itself. The finish and thickness of each piece of leather dictates what I am able to do with it. For example, leather that is more stiff and solid works better with larger sized, simple leather styles. Conversely, thinner leather can be folded or layered with more leather or metal components. Color also has a very big impact on what shapes and designs I am inspired to pair together.

How do you make such unique jewelry? What do you use to make them?

My creation process starts by drawing each design by hand. Then I can start testing and perfecting the pattern with scrap leather and my scissors. Once I have the design solidified, myself or a graphic designer will create a vector version of the pattern. From there, I can cut the digital vector file with my Glowforge laser printer. Once pieces are cut, they are washed, air dried and then ready to be assembled. I also still have a few styles that I cut completely by hand using a scissors or rotary blade.

We really love your logo for the stamp. What was your inspiration behind it?

The inspiration for my logo came from working with an excellent branding designer who took a large amount of visual references that I provided as well as input from our personal discussions and customized a gorgeous font pairing. Inspirations I shared included imagery from other artists and brands that I admire, the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements and even photos representing favorite color palettes.

How are you using your stamps?

The first way I began using my logo stamp was with the shopping bags I have with me at every event I participate in. I actually went through a rebrand of my business about 9 months ago and realized branded bags are an excellent way to visually share my new name and logo.

Not only do my customers look at it multiple times but as they carry their purchase around the market or art show, everyone else they pass has a chance to glance at it too. I also use my stamp to create custom stationary for special messages and thank you notes as well as canvas bags to package pieces from online orders.  

Why did you decide to use a rubber stamp, as compared to another branding option?

I prefer using a rubber stamp because of its versatility. With one stamp, I can apply my logo to a number of surfaces to add branding and a handcrafted touch in a quick and very cost-effective way.

How have your stamps helped you with your business?

A goal I have as a small business owner is to offer well designed and thoughtfully handcrafted pieces. Having a stamp that I can use in multiple ways allows me to keep my branding beautiful and consistent. The nature of stamping itself accentuates the handcrafted, human side of my work.  

How can customers find you?

To shop, get in contact with, and see more from Maebel Jewelry, check out their Etsy Shop and Instagram page!


SHARE YOUR OWN SMALL BUSINESS STORY!

Tell us how your small business got started, why you do what you do, and how you decided to use rubber stamps in your business. We'd love to share your story with others and inspire more people to support small and dream big!

Thanks for sharing your story, we love a good read. We'll stay in touch and reach out shortly.
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