Monday, June 13, 2016

Pay Close Attention to the Woman Behind the Curtain

Today we're taking a behind-the-scenes look at one of my favorite jewelry designers, Ashley, from Candles and Confetti!!

I have been a fan of  -ok fan is a complete understatement, I'm addicted to-  her jewelry for a few years now (Don't worry there's CCA, Candles and Confetti Anonymous, to help with your jewelry buying problems... JOKING!) I remember the first time I found her page on Instagram @candlesandconfetti, I was completely blown away! There were so many great styles and I knew I had to buy something, but I didn't know where to start. Here's where Ashley came in. She's the woman behind the company and when I reached out to her, she went above and beyond with helping me find what I wanted and creating what has turned out to be a downright gorgeous collection.

I recently had the pleasure of welcoming my baby niece to the world, and when she arrived, one of the first things I thought of was having matching bracelets made for me and my niece. I turned straight to Ashley and she helped me all the way through the whole process, even being on the phone with me while I was at the hospital with a measuring tape, sending over my niece's wrist measurements, looking like a complete nut to my brother and sister-in-law :)
But the bracelets came out perfectly, and Ashley actually cared. I sent her pictures, and she couldn't have been happier. Not only did she love how thrilled I was at how the bracelets came out, but she, herself, was thrilled.

That's not just great customer service, that shows that not only does she truly care about her customers' happiness with her products, but she understands that jewelry can sometimes mean more than just being a shiny piece of metal on one's arm, and she wants to help you get that meaning across. AND she actually cares about her pieces that she puts out. We've all been there when we think we've found that perfect piece of jewelry online, but when it arrives, we're completely disappointed because 1. It doesn't look anything like it did online and 2. It's terribly made and you know the owner doesn't care about their products; they only care about making money.

Ashley is the complete and total opposite and much more.
As I've continued to be a loyal customer, Ashley has turned out to be more than just a company owner, more than just the person that I get all my great jewelry from. I really feel like she has become a friend. And as we've gotten to know each other, I wanted to know more about the history of her business, how she got started, and if she ever saw herself being where she is today. As I said, she's much more than just a business owner. She really cares about her customers. 

Here's what she had to say:

Hello everyone!! I am so excited to be featured today on Mostly Maple as we talk about all things accessories. Many have wondered where the name "Candles and Confetti" came from? Others have asked, "how many employees do you have?" Instagram has provided me with a platform for not only the jewelry industry, but also an opportunity to meet like minded women in powerful positions. Did I know 3 years ago (in October) when I started this company that it would be this successful? NEVER in my wildest dreams...but here we are in 2016 and I have a large network of friend's I couldn't imagine my life without, a home office instead of just a living room floor, and more inventory than I know what to do with. I can't wait to share with you, how Candles and Confetti started, and a little more about the woman behind it...ME! 

Let's rewind back to 2013 when I graduated with my Masters in Social Work. I was what they referred to as a "new grad". YIKES! Forced into the business professional world, I was still nannying part time, but I now had this second degree and I knew I still had so many people to help. I began working as a medical social worker at a local children's hospital. The work was rewarding, but let me tell you...challenging. I knew I needed an outlet to channel all my stress, sadness, and creative energy. I began experimenting with the idea of event planning, after all who doesn't love a good party?! With the help of my boyfriend, the original "Candles and Confetti" began with a vision of party planning extraordinaire. I gave it a few weeks and realized it wasn't my niche. While I do love a good party, and everyone knows I am obsessed with themes, party planning wasn't relieving my tension and stress the way I had envisioned. I slowly began experimenting with jewelry. I buckled down a design and decided, in that moment, to go 110% for the next few months before continuing to search for alternative stress relievers. By this time, I was now working as a medical social worker for two local hospitals and time was scarce. I was doing my best to balance work and pleasure. I made a few wire wrap bangles... Yikes, you should see how they started HAHA! I went to the grocery store with a stack of 3 of the bangles and, to my surprise, a woman in line bought them right off my wrist. I knew in that moment I had found not only my passion, but a way to support myself in the expensive state of California (all my Cali people will empathize with this). **Don't worry Ashley, us New Yorkers can seriously empathize too!**  For the next few months I worked on design, marketing, attending gem fairs, networking, and most of all MYSELF. I worked on channeling my stress, sadness, and creativity into each and every piece. For the next year, I made bangles out of a 1-bedroom apartment, using the ground as my work station in the dining room (thank goodness for a patient boyfriend).

Fast forward a year, Candles and Confetti had now hit a milestone I never could have imagined. With over 6,000 followers, a network of new friends, and so many wonderful customers, I knew for certain I had made the BEST decision of my life thus far (okay, quite an exaggeration, but hey you get it). This was a turning point in the company where I began to think about re-branding, logo design, marketing, and most of all...the name! I had known what Candles and Confetti was, but did everyone else understand? I spent a few weeks really thinking this over and ultimately decided, the name, Candles and Confetti, had the same vision regardless of how it started. It was an opportunity for me to share with others a creative avenue through jewelry and provided me with an opportunity to channel the challenges of daily life. It is 2016 now and I have over 15,000 followers, some of my best friends are from Instagram and live all over the world, and I now have an office...a space JUST for creative energy and happiness.  

I am so thankful for all Candles and Confetti has provided me with. This company has allowed me to challenge myself, trust in myself, connect with others, and explore a world untouched by many. Jewelry is an art, and these bangles, necklaces, earrings, etc. are my way of sharing that with you. 

So to wrap it up, Candles and Confetti is a ONE WOMAN SHOW run by yours truly. You got it...I do the buying and pricing, hand making each piece (no machines or factories), packaging, and making all custom details. I use other handmade shops for my products such as necklace cards, charms, wire, etc. Candles and Confetti participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, and each year we support a handmade shop for t-shirts and donate on behalf of the company to finding a cure for the devastating disease. I do my best to customize each piece, connect with my followers and customers, and thank each and every one of you every chance I get. This company is successful because of you and I can't wait to see what it becomes in the years to follow. 

Thank you a million times over if you have made it this far in the post (haha sorry it was long), but thank you most for believing in me, befriending me, and supporting me on this wonderful journey through jewelry. 


Thanks Ashley, that is so inspiring! 
I loved reading every second of Ashley's jewelry journey and even wanted to know more.
I asked "Where did the name 'Candles and Confetti' actually come from? How and why did you choose those two names?"

Her answer: "I just picked two things that resemble or emulate event planning, since event planning is where the name originally came from. Every good party has candles and confetti... that's how you know it's a real party :)"

How can you not love that?? 
And if you're wondering what's all the fuss about? Well, here are some pictures of just a few of Ashley's gorgeous creations!

This is the Classic Style of her Bauble Bangles

She has since branched out with other styles and even started making some of the most amazing necklaces...

Are you more of an "over-the-top" woman, like myself, who goes for something a little more flashy? Well Ashley's got necklaces for you too!

And don't forget she's always more than happy to make custom pieces for you. You can email her with your thoughts, and she always creates something that is even better than what you expected.
Here's a Bauble Bangle Stack that she Custom-made for Me
I was out of my mind with excitement when I opened this package!

I hope you enjoyed learning about Candles and Confetti and the woman behind it all. Go and check out her latest creations on her Instagram page or at her website and get your own Candles and Confetti Collection started!

Happy Shopping! 
And thank you, Ashley, for being the great woman that you are. I'm so happy to say that you are a part of my life!

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