Today we chatted with Paula from The Pirate & The Gypsy Designs to find out her story and what inspires her on the West Coast. Catch her this Mother’s Day weekend at the Queensborough Pop-Up Shop.
Who are the brains behind the business? Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Paula Godden and I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. Growing up on the West Coast I instantly fell in love with the ocean; the colors and the life within in it captured my heart and my imagination. As a young girl I had the fortune of traveling to many places around the world, each country having its own beaches, oceans, culture and stories to tell. The more I traveled the more I was filled with wanderlust and inspired to explore and create. This is when the artist in me was awoken, manifesting itself in my writing and drawings which became my passion. I spent many years sailing the seas of my imagination, nourishing my free spirit, creating the life I wanted to live, and the woman I wanted to be. My mother created the gypsy in me, giving me the gift of travel and exposing me to my maternal heritage along with other cultures. My husband Joel has nurtured the pirate in me while cultivating the pirate in himself; we break rules, laugh uncontrollably, forgive quickly, love honestly, and never regret anything that makes us smile. The Pirate & The Gypsy is a collection of jewelry inspired by the sea and my bohemian lifestyle. Each piece is made by my hands, in my home studio, located in New Westminster, BC. I am a one woman show; I am the owner, designer, craftsman, janitor, web designer, accountant, social media guru, marketing ingenue and I love every minute of what I do. For my creations I use only quality metals and ethically sourced natural stones to create limited runs of unique hypoallergenic designs. Using traditional methods and hand tools I transform precious metals and stones into wearable art. ‘
What first inspired you to start designing jewelery? How did you get started?
As a young woman I started making jewelry out of my desire to wear earrings that were fun, stylish and didn’t cause an allergic reaction minutes after putting them on. By using quality materials I found that I did not experience any discomfort and could wear any type of earring I could create. I became inspired and began drawing and creating earrings not just for myself, but for others as gifts. Earrings quickly led to bracelets, necklaces and finally, rings. My friends and family encouraged me to share my craft with others. This inspired me to participate in local markets and create my own website. For my creations I use only quality metals and ethically sourced natural stones to create limited runs of unique hypoallergenic designs. Using traditional methods and hand tools I transform precious metals and stones into wearable art.
What is your favourite part about your job?
I love the process of discovery, design, and creation which is why I hand pick every stone. I believe within each stone there is a story and it is my joy to translate that story into the unique piece of jewelry it becomes.
Do you have any tips for people thinking of starting their own small business? Or attending a market for the first time? What do you wish you knew for your first market?
I remember my first market. I was so nervous and had a hundred questions running through my mind. Will I sell anything? Is my display good enough? Will it be obvious that I’ve never done this before? Do I have enough stock? What I didn’t know at the time is that all vendors, new and seasoned, have similar questions running through their minds. As you do each market, you pick up tips and tricks that make the next market easier.
Here’s my top 2 tips:
- Do a mock display at home before you do your market and photograph it. Most new vendors under estimate how long it takes to set up. Your display is important, it is what attracts customers to your booth. By doing a mock up at home you will know how you want things to look and have your layout set which will save you time when you are setting up at the market.
- Smile and engage your customers. It is a compliment that they are stopping to take a look, so be friendly and ask them how they are. Don’t be afraid to tell them about what you are selling and what makes it special. Creating a connection with your audience is important. People are more likely to buy from someone that they feel like they know something about.
What’s your favourite part about living in the lower mainland?
The ocean! I love that we are surrounded by water with beautiful beaches and majestic mountains. BC really is beautiful and lush with color which fills me with inspiration for my designs.
Come meet Paula this weekend May 13 – 14 at Queensborough Pop-Up Shop!