Over the past five years, local creative Jennifer Cashel has transformed her skills in jewelry design into a successful company, Created Beautifully, that handcrafts North Carolina’s best eco-friendly pieces. Her collection today is infused with vintage style that underscores the wealth of simplicity.
With her husband and sister in tow, Cashel expanded her home studio into her business, Created Beautifully, in a 1,700 square foot space in Downtown Concord. Created Beautifully now has stock in nearly fifty stores throughout the U.S., with each piece of leather sourced from local upholstery shops.
Cashel chatted with us while cutting and sewing pieces in her studio, explaining how she got started, and what gave her the spark of creativity.
When did your passion for making accessories begin?
As long as I can remember I’ve always been making something to wear. From friendship bracelets to clover crowns as a child, to knitting and wire wrapping jewelry—I think it’s in my blood.
How did you learn how to do leatherwork?
I stumbled into it… At the time I was using leather scraps for jewelry, and later a friend suggested that I make clutches. It was addicting, and the rest is history!
What do you find most interesting about using nature as your inspiration for your jewelry?
I love the details of nature. My interest began when I picked up macro photography as a hobby. I could not get over how delicate the patterns and lines in leaves alone were. And as a result, I wanted to translate that to pieces of art that were simplistic enough to wear every day.
What are some ways your business uses eco-friendly processes to create products?
We salvage the majority of our leather from the local upholstery industry. That means literally digging through bins and pallets of scrap leather to handpick the best pieces for the bags we create. We also pass along any scraps we cannot utilize to other makers for use in their craft as well.
How would you describe your aesthetic and where do you source inspiration from?
Simple, timeless and minimal. We are a nature-inspired brand, but I also take a lot of inspiration from vintage styles of the ’70s.
What message do you try to portray to your consumers with your jewelry and bags?
Beauty is found in details, and salvaged-leather goods can be both luxurious and eco-friendly.
Have you always known this is what you want to do for a living?
If I can be honest, no. My husband and I planned to have a large family and live on a farm. But after almost a decade of trying to start a family, I began this little dream business as a hobby/therapy. It grew quite quickly and became my passion within a few years. It is amazing how sometimes the life you think you want and how life turns out are so different, but so good.
What is your favorite item you have for sale currently?
What tips do you have for someone who is just getting started with selling jewelry or bags?
Stay true to who you are if you are creating a brand. There’s no need to make something for everyone; focus on doing what you do well.