This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re excited to introduce you to T of Upper Metal Class.
LBC: When did you start your business and what inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?
T: I started my business about 3 years ago with the encouragement from my family and friends. At that time I was in between jobs and just felt a bit hopeless with what I should be doing with my career. I had worked in very stressful environments in the past to the point where I was literally getting sick from being overworked and bullied, but if it wasn’t for that it wouldn’t have led me to where I am today. It put me in a position of having to decide whether the money was more important than my well being. Eventually I was able to find work that I actually enjoyed, except it wasn’t a real full-time job. To get my mind off all the stress and feelings of hopelessness, I started taking a couple jewelry classes during my days off. This new hobby was exciting. After making my first pair of stud earrings, I started to get requests from family, friends and even people I didn’t even know.
I had worked for other people for so long and had failed attempts in the past with other ideas, but what seemed like horrible experiences has led me to find something I really love. This along with the encouraging push from my friends and family is what inspired me to make that jump.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
T: I create jewelry that’s sweet and delicate yet has strong lines. Although most of the pieces are on a smaller scale they’re still quite the eye catcher.
LBC: What inspires you?
T: For my designs I’m inspired by architecture, math, science, and nature. There’s just so much around us.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made.
T: I think deciding to go from only selling online retail to doing shows and selling wholesale. I love doing shows because it allows me to meet and talk to my customers directly. Wholesale has been great for me since it is another way to get my brand to more customers while making more income.
LBC: What’s been one of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered during your journey as a maker and how have you managed to conquer or mitigate it?
T: The toughest parts are pretty much learning to start a business and maintaining it all. Figuring out how to do business in your city, in your state, the forms you need, the licenses, the fees, bookkeeping, etc. There’s no real secret or short cut besides paying someone to do it for you. Eventually that’s what we all want to do, but for most cases, like mine, when I started off I had to do it myself. It just takes some googling, reading, research, and patience.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
T: I imagine I would have expanded my business to a bigger workspace along with more employees.
LBC: Please share one of your favorite resources: a book, a website, an app, a gadget, an event… anything that’s helped save time, money or sanity!
T: The http://soulpancake.com and http://www.upworthy.com.
LBC: Tell us about a pearl of wisdom someone has shared with you. Who said it and how did it help propel you forward?
T: “Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love- you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” Eckhart Tolle
LBC: What is your favorite food?
T: French fries.
LBC: What is your guilty pleasure?
T: Staying in bed from morning to evening with a movie marathon.
Where would your dream vacation take you?
T: To Peru to see Machu Pichu.
Connect with T + Upper Metal Class all around the web:
Thank you, T, for sharing your fabulous talent + jewelry line with us. We look forward to keeping up with you!
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker Monday” series? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!