sponsor love: Embellished Q&A

Over the last couple years I have fallen madly in love with Etsy and many of its wonderful little shops. So when one of the sellers, Jessica, contacted me, I jumped at the chance to speak with her.

Jessica, who currently resides in France (!!!), designed and made an arsenal of gorgeous accessories – both vintage- and rock-inspired – for her store Embellished, which is also my newest sponsor.

Here is what she had to say about her unique line of embellishments:

To start, let’s here about you. Give us the rundown!
Jessica: I am from Charlotte, NC, and have wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 12 years old. I was always very artistic and enjoyed making anything I could. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I have always made my own costume and I look forward to it all year. Creativity very much runs in the family on both sides. Growing up, there was always some project in process, so making things myself is kind of natural. Also, I am a pretty picky shopper, so if I can make exactly what I am looking for, it’s easier, cheaper, and more unique (which is always my aim).

Tell me about your shop Embellished. How did it all start?
Jessica: Embellished came around for a number of reasons. I discovered Etsy through a colleague a couple years ago but I was working full time and going to school full time, so there was literally no time for anything else. Then after graduating with a BS in Business Admin for marketing and a minor in art, I finally started getting more serious about sewing. Then at the end of February ‘09 my company did a big lay off and I was one of the people let go. That Saturday I went to the fabric store and bought the things I already had on a shopping list, and got to work. My time then became split between sending out resumes for a new job and designing/sewing. 

Tell me about your brand. When did you decide to start marketing yourself?
Jessica: My skills still feel basic, so I wanted to start off with small things and leave room in my business strategy for expansion. I really love fun statement headpieces. I eventually wish to take a millinery class and produce hats, as well (I love hats). I love to dress up and stand out and I have a huge obsession with the glitz and class of vintage Hollywood, so that is always present in my designs.

Then something I always felt lacking in the men's fashion industry was unique neckties. I started doing a lot of research on the history of ties and various designs, and with the exception of the width changing every 10 years, designers have done a remarkably sad job with amping up some creativity into their ties - they always kind of look like an afterthought to an amazing suit. So, I began playing with different ways to tweak my designs and really have fun with ties. The neckties are really what I am most proud of in my line, because I feel like they are most unique - all of them can be paired with a nice button-up and jeans for a wonderful night look.

It’s funny because I am very much a girly girl and I am always attracted to the musician guys that are edgy and have a sense of style - and that is exactly what my line is, an extension of me.

When I started brainstorming business names, etc., I kept landing on names that sounded elegant and detailed. Everything I really love in my closet is not simple, it has some kind of embellishment that makes it look more tailored and unique, and that was the kind of pieces I wanted to be making. So after researching to see if that was already taken, that is what I happily landed on. Since I am a marketing person, it was only natural that a business plan, marketing strategy, etc., came immediately. In addition, I am very thorough to make sure that nothing is attached to my name that is not in sync with my brand; these are things that were drilled in my head since my first class in college, so it was natural.

What's your favorite piece and why?
Jessica: Wow that's hard! I think it is a toss up between my Studded Black tie and my White Fleur de Lis tie. They both are exactly my aim for my ties. They are edgy and stylish, but simple and subtle. I just love them.

You are such a talent. I see on your blog that you are a photographer, too. Do you have any other artistic outlets?
Jessica: Thank you so much! As I mentioned before I have a very creative family. When I was young my mom was a photographer and my Dad was a camera operator, now he also is the executive producer of a TV show. My Mom was always helping me with art projects, sewing, making DIY home decor. My Dad always designed/made our landscaping and created all our DIY home pieces (fireplace mantles, stained glass, etc). So trying many projects and learning many trades was second nature. Although there are definitely arts I cannot do, I am good at drawing - I prefer using charcoal.

Photography has recently become a hobby of mine - I just bought a very nice camera before my move to France so that has been very fun for me. I have a decent eye for compositions, so photography has been good practice to develop that further. I am nowhere near a graphic designer, but I have really enjoyed creating all of my designs for my brand: logos, banners, web ads, etc. Lastly, I LOVE music. I started singing around a year old and have never stopped. When I was a kid I would sing everywhere I went and in school I was very very involved with the choir and performing on stage. We did everything from serious classical pieces to Broadway shows like Music Man.

Who or what inspires you?
Jessica: Hmm...inspiration really comes from everywhere - it is hard to pin down because it is so random. Seeing one thing can spark a memory, that leads to a thought process, that makes you think of an idea for a line.

One of my favorite things to do is wander around a fabric store because I can think of so many things to make when looking at beautiful fabric. But I must say I think the thing that inspires me the most is travel. Traveling is one of my passions. I have never been good at being in the same place for long, and I love the feeling of being on the go and having somewhere new to see. So places I have either already visited or places I dream to visit inspire me, along with the history of clothing in those places.

Please be sure to check out her blog The Embellished Life.
Jessica: The Embellished Life is a recent venture for me. I started it in the summer because I thought it would be a good way to keep PR up about my line while I'm in between listing products, but it has actually turned into way more. It is an extension of my brand, and of me. I talk a lot about fashion and travel, and also throw in fun music and inspiration type things from time to time. I have really enjoyed it a lot and don't know why I didn't start sooner, it is so much fun!

Thanks Jessica for taking the time to chat! I love your shop and can’t wait to see what else you have in store.

You can also follow Jessica and her shop on

And please check back for more on Embellished.

Interested in sponsoring this blog or would like to be featured here? Email rsvp.aroundthewaygirl@gmail.com.

{all images from Embellished}


November 11, 2009 at 7:34 PM Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Always great to learn a little more about the entreprenuers behind the shops. Great interview!

November 12, 2009 at 11:03 AM K @ Blog Goggles said...

Fabulous interview! I'll definitely check out her shop.

November 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM Kristin said...

That studded necktie is fabulous!