Artist Interview – Chelsey Andrews
Happy March, beautiful souls!
It’s been a very frosty year in Vancouver so far, so what better way to get warmed up for Spring than with the rebirth of a interview series called, “An Artist’s Life”. I’m so happy to start it off with some fun inspiration from Vancouver’s very own boss babe, Chelsey Andrews, owner of JQ Vancouver!
Chelsey is a millennial Vancouver business woman who has created her own fashion and accessory line whose style influence now spans across the world. Her minimal and stylish hand-made jewelry designs have caughtthe attention of international eyes all over, as well as mine.
Chelsey and I serendipitously connected through Instagram last year. I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to shed some light on what an artist’s life looks like to encourage others with a passion of their own how incredibly rewarding and fulfilling it is to make a dream a beautiful reality. I hope you enjoy this series!
So let’s get into it, shall we?
GA: Hi, Chelsey! Would you mind quickly introducing yourself?
JQ: Sure! I’m a Fashion Design school graduate turned entrepreneur and business owner with a huge passion for fashion and accessories.
GA: Did you always know you wanted to create jewelry?
JQ: No, I didn’t! When I was working at a small boutique I fell in love with local brands and local jewelry! I had just graduated Fashion school and it kind of just hit me that I should give it a try!
GA: Amazing! That is very admirable you had the courage and desire to explore your love for jewelry and make it a reality. How did you learn to design and create jewelry?
JQ: I am self-taught and learn lots of new things through trial and error.
GA: No way! How long have you been making jewelry?
JQ: 4 years!
GA: So based on your experience, do you believe formal training/school is necessary?
JQ: I think training and school can definitely teach you valuable tools and techniques but don’t believe it’s necessary.
GA: Our society is a very curious bunch and so nowadays when we see this growing wave of millenials creating and running a successful business online, naturally we’re curious to find out what their day-to-day looks like, and where their inspiration comes from. Why do you feel inspired to create jewelry for women?
JQ: Necklaces are such a staple piece when getting dressed that I love being able to offer women that final touch!
GA: You’re absolutely right! I admit that the last thing I do to get ready is put on a necklace! I’m curious, what does a typical work day at JQ Vancouver look like for you?
JQ: I tend to prepare a to-do list the night before; Usually consists of making necklaces, filling orders, going to the post office, answering emails and lots of social media. Also, planning for future markets and researching new necklace designs.
GA: Chelsey, that’s impressive because it’s no secret that successful people plan their day the night before. It’s so important to be organized and plan, plan, plan, right? What do you love most about what you do?
JQ: I love seeing how little things can make someone smile, something as simple as a necklace can help a woman feel put together and confident and for me that’s the most rewarding thing.
GA: I love that! It must be very satisfying to know there are women all over the world wearing your pieces. On the flip side then, what would you say are the most challenging aspects of designing jewelry and running a business online and how do you overcome them?
JQ: There is a huge amount of competition that only continues to grow, so staying ahead of the curve and offering something different is always a challenge.
GA:Yes, that’s true. Luckily the competition helps “creativepreneurs” to push the envelope. How do you stay motivated, inspired and productive?
JQ: I have always been self-motivated and luckily, the fashion industry is always changing which definitely forces you in a way to keep up!
GA: For sure. The speed at which style and trends come and go is never ending. Speaking of trends, what kinds of jewelry trends do you see becoming popular next season?
JQ: Everything is still staying very minimal which I love. Simple and dainty necklaces are a major trend!
GA: Sometimes the journey of an entrepreneur/artist can be a quiet one. Who do you turn to for good advice? Do you have a mentor?
JQ: Not specifically, but I definitely consult with my Mom, boyfriend and best friend!
GA: That’s great you have a support system to help you through your journey because there can be lows and highs. But let’s focus on the highs and the wins… What has been the highlight of your career thus far with JQ Vancouver?
JQ: I keep a world map in my office and love putting pins in it wherever I get an order from. One of the most amazing accomplishments was when I sold a JQ necklace to every state in the USA. It feels so incredible to know there is someone in every state that owns a JQ necklace!
GA: I can just imagine the satisfying impact that kind of visual would have on your overall confidence and ability as an entrepreneur and creative. I would also imagine then that JQ Vancouver has an international clientele? If so, where?
JQ: Yes, selling on Etsy has allowed me to sell worldwide! JQ has been sent to Australia, Singapore, South Africa and many more!
GA: …And that must be so rewarding for you! Then do you have any best-selling pieces in your collection?
JQ: Absolutely, the JQ Silver Double Pendant was one of my first designs and has been a huge seller since day one! Many other designs are extremely popular as well!
GA: You are a Fashion Design Institute graduate, what did you specialize in? Do you know how to design anything else?
JQ: When I was in school it was mostly about designing and making clothing but I had a strong passion for the visual and styling side!
GA: Yes, and it shows that it’s a skill you’re applying so well to your business! We know you have an amazing international presence, has that influence been recognized on other media platforms?
LQ: JQ was recently featured on Breakfast Television [Vancouver news show] which was amazing!
GA: That’s a big accomplishment, Chelsey! Congrats!! Okay, let’s get to know more about YOU! Who is your style icon?
JQ: I’ve always loved the cool and casual style. Sienna Miller is a great example and Gigi Hadid.
GA: Describe your own personal style. Has it evolved over time?
JQ: Casual with a twist. Definitely, I wouldn’t wear now what I wore back in the day lol!
GA: What is your favourite season?
GA: What is your favourite quote?
JQ: Simple but significant.
GA: What is your favourite colour?
JQ: Colour – purple. Shade – grey.
GA: What are some other hobbies you enjoy?
JQ: I have a love for clothing as well which has recently grown as I’ve opened up my own online clothing boutique – www.shopchews.com
GA: Were you always an artist/creative?
JQ: Yes! I definitely preferred the Art, Drama and photography classes in school.
GA: Your style in 3 words:
JQ: Cool, casual and chic.
GA: Coffee or tea?
GA: Me too! Describe who you are with one word:
GA: Love it! Chelsey, thank you so much for enlightening us with your knowledge and experience. I’m glad we could support one another, as well as inspire others at the same time. There are so many big and exciting things ahead! Last but not least, what is the best advice you would give fellow artists/creatives who want to turn their creative projects into a growing and flourishing business?
JQ: Have a vision with plans and take it slow and steady.
Owner and Creator of JQ Vancouver