Artisan Feature – Jill of Brave Sunday

Have you ever been emotionally moved by a piece of art. It doesn’t have to be that “ground shaking” type of movement. Maybe, more of a “lightness”? Or maybe the art made you feel “happy”?
That is what the jewelry created by Jill of Brave Sunday does for me.
It makes me feel happy.
I can feel Jill’s positive energy coming through her pieces.
Now, WHO WOULDN’T WANT more of that in their lives!

I had a moment to talk to Jill about her business, creativity and balancing all of this with a family. I hope you enjoy getting to know Jill as much as I have!

Becky: When did your creative journey of making jewelry begin for you?
Jill:  While I had dabbled in jewelry making previously, crafting simple earrings for a local boutique, my journey didn’t really get off the ground until after my son was born. There I was navigating new motherhood, wrestling with all this anxiety and postpartum depression, and I just felt lost. Making had always been a way for me to decompress, so after a trip to local bead store, I decided to make some bracelets for a little boost. When a friend saw them and asked me to make her some, Brave Sunday came to life.

Becky: Did you have a key person in your life that helped you navigate following your creative path?
Jill: Most of my family has had employment via a more traditional route, so when I said I was going to pursue a more artistic route & entrepreneurship it wasn’t met with a lot of enthusiasm. They viewed being a maker as more of a hobby and still struggle a bit with really taking me seriously as an entrepreneur. Thankfully one of the biggest perks of social media is being easily connected to those in similar fields and navigating similar experiences. That is really where I have found support via education, collaboration, and friendship. I may be a one woman show, but there really is a village behind me that I am beyond grateful for.

Becky: How did you select the name of your company; Brave Sunday?
Jill: I get asked this question a lot and while I wish I had a grand origin story. It simply is two words mashed together that have their own separate meaning to me. Brave was chosen because let’s face it, putting your work out there and running a business is tough, especially as an introvert. I knew I would need some bravery to help me navigate this crazy journey. And Sunday…well it is our designated family day. It’s the day we start fresh, learn from the week before, and share as many laughs as we can before Monday.

Becky: Can you describe your daily routine of running your business?
Jill: You know, it looks a little different each day. Most days start with me getting my oldest to school and pouring myself a large cup of coffee. Then Vail, my youngest, and I head into the studio upstairs in our home. One half of the room is my workspace, while the other is home to baskets of toys and play things. I usually answer emails, post to social media, reply to comments, and package up orders from the previous day while she plays. Vail also loves helping me stuff boxes with fluff and place pretty things in boxes when she can. Once 11am hits, we usually venture out of the studio and I don’t head back into work until my kids are in bed. That is when the real fun begins of mixing clay colors, filling bezels, mixing resin, and making all the things. Most of my day’s work happen between the hours of 9pm-midnight, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Becky: Do you have certain habits that help you stay focused and on task?
Jill:  The one thing I have found that keeps me on track is list making. Each night before I leave the studio, I try to make a list of tasks I need to accomplish in order of importance. I also tend to make a list on my phone as I work through the day, just so I don’t forget anything when it pops in my mind. It is simple, but it helps when you have so much going on in a day.

Becky: You are following your dream and supporting your family. That is a beautiful accomplishment. Tell us a little about the choices that you have made in order to create this for yourself.
Jill: Thank you Becky! I appreciate your kindness, so much. I’ll be honest, I really struggle with this question. My journey hasn’t been a straight and narrow path. I have burnt myself out, failed, started other adventures, failed at those, and landed back at jewelry making. I guess what I am saying is that I wouldn’t say I am the poster child of good choices, but I think investing in my customers has helped tremendously. I don’t mean monetarily of course, but really getting to know them beyond their name on an order. I strive to form a connection with each of them, keep up with their lives, and help them feel like the best versions of themselves when I can. Their support really means the world to me and Brave Sunday wouldn’t be on this path without them, it is important to me that they know and feel that. Making them a priority has turned into a community of women, chasing after their own dreams, cheering each other on, which is more than I could have ever dreamed would happen when I started down this road.

Becky: What would you say some of your biggest challenges are for running a small creative business?
Jill: While time is always an issue when you are juggling so many hats, for me my biggest challenges are always mental. The comparison trap gets me frequently, along unrealistic expectations, and then guilt. There are so many amazingly talented jewelry makers out there and sometimes it is far too easy to feel small & let doubt creep in, especially when you feel like you aren’t doing or accomplishing enough. There is always more I could be doing and when I see friends sky rocketing to success and accomplishing big things, I beat myself up and feel guilty for not being there myself.

Becky: Do you have a favorite venue for selling?
Jill: While I do a bulk of my business online via my website, I really enjoy in person markets and events. Those in person connections are where you get to see someone’s eye light up when they find a piece that just screams them, helping them feel unique. It’s that excitement, happiness, and what I call shine that really affirms that what I do really does have an impact. Not to mention being able to actually hug them a customer for all of their support really is the bee’s knees.

Becky: I have watched you explore and expand your jewelry selection. How do you test new product lines?
Jill:  I yearn to learn, as cheesy at that sounds, and never want to feel bored while creating. To combat that, I tend to try a lot of things. Some turn out and others crash and burn. It’s all part of this adventure. The actual testing of new product lines usually happens one of two ways when I get a crazy idea or inspiration strikes: I turn to friends & family for feedback or I test them at in-person events. Depending on the comments I get/the response, I usually try to build a cohesive collection off that.

Becky: You have the cutest “Meet Our Team” page ever! I especially love Edgar’s job description! Tell us, how is it managing a business with family members?
Jill: Oh shucks, thank you again for your kindness Becky! Edgar is the highlight of our little family. I never thought of a bunny being such a great support animal, but he really is my late-night partner in crime and maybe in trouble too.

Running a business with a family is crazy. Hahaha. There is never enough time, someone always wants a snack, and it usually results in beads, findings, and packaging everywhere. It often requires me to be extremely flexible and yet remain focused on my path, which can be hard at times. Being a mom & wife is my number one and sometimes when running a business, I struggle with balancing it all, leading to an uptake in my anxiety. No matter what though, seeing the smile on my children’s face when they get to help package or mix clay, being able to celebrate small wins with them, and just having them see that art & creativity can support a family, makes it easy.

Becky: Thank you for using Nunn Design Findings in your jewelry. Why do you trust your jewelry and your brand to Nunn Design?
Jill:  One of my non-negotiables for in my business is providing the highest quality pieces I can to my customers and I really couldn’t do that without Nunn Design. All of the components I have purchased have been made with care, long-lasting durability, and nothing short of amazing. The team at Nunn is always working towards creating findings that are on-trend and I love the consistency of the metals used, making findings easy to mix and match, plus I never have to worry about what I am ordering. I also feel good about using components that are manufactured in the United States and supporting a local fellow mom-owned business. Besides findings, I appreciate that Nunn Design is incredibly supportive to us as makers sharing inspiration, technique tutorials, and encouragement. You don’t find that with other suppliers out there and it has definitely made me a customer for life. Thank you for all that you and your team do Becky!

See more of Jill’s work at Brave Sunday!

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