Today we’d like to introduce you to Antoinette Morales.
Hi Antoinette, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Making and creating have always been something I’ve been passionate about. While in college, I took the last film photography course that my school offered, as well as Art History and Fine Arts. Ten years ago, a friend opened up a vintage clothing boutique in Asheville, NC, and asked if I could repair some of the jewelry she wanted to sell. When a piece was beyond repair, she would let me keep it and make something new. Eventually, I became known among my friends as a bit of a ‘jewelry repair person’ who could occasionally make a pair of matching earrings upon request. Before long, I started making my designs. In 2017, I had my daughter, and to combat Postpartum Depression, I began making jewelry again and was thrilled that I could have an identity as a mother and a maker. Since then, I’ve expanded my knowledge by taking classes at The Baltimore Jewelry Center and experimenting with different tools and techniques.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been enjoyable but not consistently smooth! Bringing a mother is a joy, but making time for myself was a real struggle, one I’m still learning today (as I do this interview with my daughter in my lap). I did my first live show at a Pop Up in December of 2019 and made big plans to expand my business the following year. 2020 had other plans, and I wondered if people would even want to buy jewelry with everything going on. It turns out they did! Even with my growth, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s still my passion, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Another obstacle I had to overcome was valuing the worth of my work. At my first Pop-Up, I allowed a customer to haggle me down significantly for the price of a pair of earrings. They were deceptively hard to make, and I sold them at a loss. Another customer saw the exchange and told me to value myself and not let anyone talk me down. That voice stays in the back of my head when pricing helps us ward off some of the Imposter Syndrome I still have.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My jewelry is handmade, and I utilize genuine gemstones, precious metals, and vintage glass or stones. I’m mostly known for my earrings, which are my favorite things to create. I love highlighting the stones that I use, and I try to source them ethically and educate my customers about where their stones are from. I recently went back to school at the Baltimore Jewelry Center, and I’m proud to have begun making something I’ve wanted to for years: rings! I’m so happy with the designs I can accomplish and how they fit with the skills I already have.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I love empowering women and people of color to take up space in the world of making. I think it’s essential for there to be as many voices contributing to how the world sees artists, makers, and small businesses. Even if you see other people doing something you’d like to do, I always encourage people to try it. My absolute favorite teacher, Jessica Bounelis-Woods, gave me a quote in high school, and I still have it taped to my wall. Martha Graham reads, “There is a vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of the time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and lose it. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, how valuable, or how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. Keep the channel open.”
- Earrings: $20-$50
- Bracelets: $15 – $25
- Necklaces: $25 – $70
- Rings: $20 – $80
- Website: xanderolivejewelry.myshopify.com
- Instagram: xanderolivejewelry
- Other: @xanderolivejewelry (Tiktok)