Monday, June 17, 2013

Calla Gold (yes that's her real name!)

Hi there Metalsmiths Unite friends! I had a free moment this morning so I thought that I would revive our interviews on our blog...
Today I thought it would be great to introduce you to my friend Calla Gold... A lovely jewelery designer that I have had the privilege to meet a few years ago, at the Tucson gem show.

MBZ: How would you describe what you do as an artist?
CALLA GOLD:I am a designer of jewelry. Looking at my client’s body type, face shape, lifestyle, personality and the feeling they want to exude with their jewelry choices I put together a piece of jewelry they’ll love that they feel they have been part of designing. I believe there is a jewelry designer in each of us. I put my ego in a box and try to let it be as much about them as I can. I do a lot of listening as a designer. 

MBZ:what inspires your designs? (be it music, nature, beekeeping...)
CALLA GOLD:I love the jewelry I design to have a feel of kinetic motion and for a ring, to make her hand look good.  I am inspired by tree branches and clouds and swirly oil smears and water and old crinkly leaves. Other wonderful designers have given me aha moments with their sheer audacity. I’m like a kid sometimes, oohing and ahhing and needing to be cattle-prodded to move on as I fixate on some speck of beauty.

MBZ: how long have you been involved in this type of making? (how did you start?) I was a door to door salesperson for Fuller Brush. The first woman Fuller Brush Man west of the Mississippi or so I was told. Taking my sales skills and a dream I started Calla Gold Jewelry after apprenticing with a no-store jewelry sales gal. I was just selling, then some repairs, then drawing on napkins and designing jewelry. I never lost sight of the fact that I needed to sell stuff, so the design grew slowly as I focused on selling. I nurtured the flame that I could design jewelry and after years of sales made that a larger part of my income stream. 

MBZ: where are you located?
Calla Gold:I am in Santa Barbara California. It’s on the Pacific Coast in a ridiculously pretty setting between the mountains and the sea. We have a Spanish architectural motif that permeates our downtown. When you drive around the ritzy areas and there are a lot of them, the landscaping is beautiful. I’ll walk the hill neighborhoods marveling at penis like flower sheaths, and smoky, velvety big stinky petals of some exotic plant and marvel at a carpet of different leveled plantings grey, green and droopy, staggered by the vision, the beauty and the no doubt stupidly expensive bill of the visionary landscape architect. I am inspired.

MBZ:  do you have a website?
Calla Gold: I have a website with a gallery that shows the different styles I can design in:
I am active in social media, posting three times a week on my Facebook business page:
I am a mad crazy jewelry blogger, posting weekly to explain things to jewelry lovers, opine about jewelry trends, explain why some men never buy their wives jewelry, and show things to brides to be like “The Sixteen Steps of Jewelry Design” and liked that:
Oh wishful thinking that I had some way to sell my jewelry online like an e-commerce site. I think it will happen, but I haven’t made it happen yet.

MBZ: what other ways do you market your work?(shows, galleries, brick + mortar stores)
I often have a table at a Wedding Showcase. Those are good for me since I custom make a lot of wedding and engagement rings.
Business trade shows for women’s groups are something I go to. I do the whole dress up like a business lady and wear reasonably well behaved jewelry that I’ve designed and go to mixers, networking meetings and promote the fact that I do repairs and custom work.  Once I’ve done their repairs and established myself as no slouch in the care of their jewels out comes the inherited and unworn, the old boyfriend jewelry and the re-purposing and re-designing begins. I start small and come on strong in the end.
I do not have a store. Coming from a door to door background I felt more comfortable visiting clients in their comfort zone. Many of my old Fuller Brush clients became jewelry clients. Many of my cleaning business clients became jewelry clients.
I love not having a store. But it means I do upwards of five hours of calling a week to stay in touch and follow up on the ladies I’ve met at the meetings to get the appointment.9 I do appointments all day long 4 days a week.) One day in the workshop and one day blogging, writing bids and doing a mountain of paperwork. I love it all!

MBZ: do you teach? if so, where-
Calla Gold: I do private one-on-one jewelry business and small business consulting. I do a lot of over the phone consulting. I also teach at Women’s Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara in their Sales segment of their multi week entrepreneurial training.
I occasionally speak at local business groups and have spoken in Las Vegas and at the MJSA EXPO in New York.
Running my SMART group is I guess a form of teaching. Social Media Action Relationship Tactics is what the acronym is for. For about two or three years I’ve run this group, where we share ideas on social media actions and co-market for each other online. I started it when my new website went up and I started blogging so I could drive people to my site.

MBZ: any sage advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
Calla: If you can’t afford a website yet, a Facebook business page is essentially a free website where you can showcase your work and drive interested people to.
*Your job is to sell stuff to make a living and pay the bills. If you have to sell other people’s stuff to get that done, do it, if you are making a living you have the opportunity to hone and improve your craft and have the time to find where your clients are and  what they want from you.
*See what people like best about your work and focus some of your new output on that, even if it’s not your vision. Not a cat person? Everyone buys the few cat things you make? Make more cats, you can do the bats later! If you’re making a living you’ll be able to keep being creative and find your ideal clients who want bats.

MBZ:where do you envision your work going in the next year?
More cool hand engraved and pierced through designs. It’d be great to have more creative clients pushing me in new directions.
In a perfect world I get some e-commerce thing going.

MBZ: anything else you would like to share?
Calla: I’m having fun sharing on Pinterest. I show my stuff and stuff I like:
A passion of mine is to get people excited about jewelry again including their own unworn pieces. When they don’t have old dogs in the jewelry box anymore they start feeling more creative and ready for the new stuff and new styles. Here’s a video where I explain what I like to do:
I’m sharing the reason’s men don’t buy jewelry for women blog post. I love it, it makes me laugh and makes my clients laugh:

LOL, that's great Calla! thanks for submitting yourself to an interview!
I hope you all enjoyed this interview and get inspired to go out and make something beautiful today!
May the flux be with you----
ciao-  Maureen BZ


  1. Dear Maureen,
    It was an honor to be interviewed. The great thing about waiting a while to publish it is that it looks all new and fresh.
    I was like, "I said that?" Anyway, thank you very much!
    Calla Gold

  2. Great work, and great advice! Thank you Calla!

  3. Calla, I love these pieces. I have an antique brooch from of my Grandmom Rose and have an idea... maybe you can help....