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Exploring Life & Business with Regen Linn of Alloyed Earth Jewelry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Regen Linn.

Hi Regen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
With over 30 years of experience creating various forms of jewelry, I would best describe my lifelong passion as a natural progression. I have always had a creative and entrepreneurial spirit for as long as I can remember. During my childhood, I spent hours putting beads on a string to make ‘necklaces’ for my mom and babysitters. This evolved into learning macrame, followed by wire wrapping, which introduced me to working with metal. During a metalsmithing class in high school, I learned to approach this medium in a new way: with a torch. I was captivated by the endless possibilities suddenly available, and I felt like I had fallen in love.

A bench jeweler by trade, I am a proud graduate of the New Approach School for Jewelers and the Gemological Institute of America. Relocating to Michigan from my home state of Pennsylvania in 2002, I studied under a master jeweler for two years before moving to Maryland for a position in a high-production retail chain environment sizing rings, fixing chains, setting stones, etc. This work provided me with a great foundation to hone my skills, and although I was happy, I was unfulfilled. I wanted to get back to creating pieces, not just repairing them.

By this time, I had made my home on the Eastern Shore, and it was here that my love of nature, paired with my love for metal, began to shape into something I could call my own. Fast forward several years of exploration, trial, and error to 2012, when Alloyed Earth Jewelry was officially manifested. Since then, I have been producing my line of jewelry and working with clients on repair work and custom pieces. Over the last 12 years, my business has grown from a dining room table to a living room corner, then from a detached garage to an attached garage. Most recently, I opened my first studio and retail location in 2018 and have never been happier!

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This question brings to mind one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” While I describe this journey as a natural progression, I would not say the road has been smooth. It has, however, been 100% worthwhile.

Early on, I think my first struggle was making ends meet and learning to handle life as a full-time single parent. I spent years working a full-time job as a bench jeweler for a major retail location and raising my kiddo while devoting all my spare time to making my jewelry. Slowly but surely, the years of late nights, early mornings, dedication, perseverance, and determination began to add up. Eventually, I was faced with a terrifying choice: do I take the leap of faith and dive into my thing head first with no safety net, or continue putting off my passion to keep showing up and punching a clock for someone else?

This is its own struggle, which I don’t think is discussed enough: the fear of walking into the complete unknown and all the uncertainty that comes with it. For me, the choice was clear, and I knew I wanted to try it. I wanted to do my work for my clientele on my own terms. I wanted the freedom and flexibility of self-employment to be there for my little one. I decided to take the risk and haven’t looked back since. Not easy, but 100% worth it.

Today I would define my struggles quite differently. With the right frame of reference, they can be seen as problems of luxury, but they are problems nonetheless. It is not always easy to separate work and home life, especially when work life consists of owning a growing small business. You are solely responsible for all day-to-day operations and other job titles such as designer, creator, bookkeeper, inventory specialist, photographer, marketer, social media content creator, customer service contact, and scheduler (in addition to many other things). It can get overwhelming. There are just not enough hours in a day, and things are bound to fall through the cracks. I often go to bed at night, remembering I forgot the deadline to apply for an art show or to respond to a customer’s email from the day before. During these times, I get to practice the qualities of grace, patience, and tolerance with myself. Strengthening certain skills such as time management, organization, and prioritization have helped me tremendously, but there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
My vision at Alloyed Earth Jewelry is to create products that appeal to various people, with each piece as unique as the individual who chooses it. My designs are modest and refined in appearance with the intention of everyday wear. Whether it’s a fun accessory or a piece to cherish for generations, I believe jewelry is a decorative and creative way to convey personal self-expression and create an emotional response. As an artist, I wholeheartedly invest in the creative and fabrication processes. As a business owner, I believe my client’s vision comes first, and they allow me to turn that vision into something that will last a lifetime.

What makes the products and services I offer unique is that every piece of jewelry produced in my studio is made with the utmost attention to quality and detail. The integrity of my work is what is most important to me. I specialize in engagement rings, wedding bands, custom design, heirloom redesign, and jewelry repair.

My collection of handmade jewelry consists primarily of sterling silver and 14k gold with gemstones and diamonds, defined by the clean lines, geometric shapes, and organic textures found in most of my work utilizing soldering, forming, and stone settings. My designs are simple and elegant. Under the pretense of “less is more,” my love for the natural beauty of color and gemstones is consistently helping my designs to evolve and branch out in new directions while still allowing me to maintain my passion for creating jewelry that is straightforward and versatile. I find great satisfaction in connecting with others over something that has come from my head, hands, and heart. Through my company as a creative platform, I get to share a piece of myself with my customers.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
This is a great question, but it’s challenging to choose just one. There are so many pieces of myself that come together for this all to happen daily. I think my top choice would be resilience. There will always be challenges and setbacks to work through, not just as a small business owner but in life. Things don’t always go how you want them to, and sometimes you’ll want to quit. Somewhere within you, this drive has to say, “Don’t give up.” You must have a high tolerance for being persistent, hitting the refresh button, and getting back at it. My ability to be resilient helps me pivot when necessary, remain flexible, and bounce back quickly. This way, I can find solutions to come out the other side of things stronger and better for it.

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Image Credits
All images provided are the original photographs belonging to Alloyed Earth Jewelry/Regen Linn

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