Q+A with Laura Estrada Jewelry
What inspired you to start your company/brand?
As far back as I can remember, I have been making little objects with my hands out of any material I could find. I come from a nomadic, eccentric, working class Guatemalan American family and making art always felt like a way to tell my story. The jewelry that I make is a reflection of my own personal experience and the way that I relate to and cope with the world we live in. My hope is that this sentiment can translate through the work and create a sense of empowerment and connection in each individual that wears my jewelry.
Why did you choose the specific industry your brand is in?
Jewelry and the medium of metal is endlessly fascinating to me. Humans have been adorning themselves for thousands and thousands of years, and there is no end of that in sight. It's an expression of life, taste, ritual, of what it means to be human. I like the timelessness and longevity of jewelry -- it makes me feel like I can be a part of a story, that the work I make can have purpose and meaning that lasts far longer than myself.
What did you do before starting your business?
I felt it was important for me to take the time to learn and experience as much as I could in the field before diving into starting my own business. After earning my BFA in jewelry + metalsmithing, I apprenticed for master jeweler Lola Brooks for several years, receiving valuable mentorship in the field, honing my craftsmanship, and becoming skilled in high end gold and diamond fabrication. I went on to work for a larger commercial jewelry company in Los Angeles as their production manager, then lead designer, where I gained a greater understanding of the business side of the industry. With those experiences, I felt ready to start my own line and quit my job to make jewelry full time.
What does your typical work day look like?
I find my best and most productive days start with exercise. I typically get up between 8 and 9am, share a coffee and porch moment with my partner, then walk to my neighborhood yoga studio for some mental and physical alignment. I break my days of the week up into studio production, working on new designs, and building the business and brand. My favorite days are the ones where I get to spend all day in my studio, tinkering, experimenting with new materials, getting completely lost in the creative process. As a one woman venture, I am doing all aspects of the business myself, so I have found having systems in place and structure to the day is essential for me.
What is the hardest thing about being a business owner?
To be completely honest, for me personally, it is self doubt. I've always been an anxious person, and can get lost in a spiral of uncertainty and questioning if I am on the right path or making the right decisions. I have to constantly remind myself that things take time and to enjoy the process and experience every moment. There is no right path, there are just many and they are all individually beautiful and worthwhile.
Any advice to someone wanting to take a leap of faith to start their own business?
Be ready to face rejection and know that it does not necessarily reflect on you and your artistry. If you don't get picked up by a store you think you'd be perfect for or your emails go unanswered, or sales don't skyrocket immediately, just know that it takes time and count every small achievement as a success.
Your biggest inspiration? I would say it's a trifecta of my own personal experience, art history, and the wonder of nature.
Favorite “Get Sh*t done” Song: All of Ege Bamyasi by Can
Dream Brand Collab? I know this isn't exactly the question, but if I could ever have my work grace the inspiration and icon that is Erykah Badu, I would be done. Also, Iris Van Herpen.