Within the plant world, Stephanie Maslow says she thinks of vines as representing endurance and progress over time—something the former marketing employee relates to in terms of her transformation into a jewelry designer and business owner.
Maslow, founder and CEO of Metalicious, created a collection based on three flowering vines: lilac, wisteria, and nightshade. Each one has its own personality and tells a story, she says.
“My Bohemian Vines collection grew from the place in my heart with deep roots to the earth,” Maslow says. “Vines show that beauty can grow in unexpected places. This body of work reflects the strength and resilience of women, affirming that we can be delicate yet tenacious in difficult times.”
Getting through hard moments—like the pandemic—has helped Maslow define what Metalicious is as a brand and what it means to her, she says.
Maslow grew up in rural New Jersey; her father was an entrepreneur with a computer-software business, her mom taught Spanish at the local high school. She remembers putting on plays, acting silly, and laughing loudly with her three siblings.
There was something else she enjoyed: “I loved taking things apart to see how they worked. Putting them back together was a challenge—sorry, mom—but it taught me how to use my creativity to make something new and unique from something ordinary.”
Her first piece of jewelry came from her Italian grandparents, a gift inside an Easter egg: a tiny elephant pendant, carved from bone, on a gold chain. Maslow says she wore it everywhere and still has it in her jewelry box.
Although she loved jewelry and theater, Maslow chose to study TV and radio production in college. “My parents were adamant that being an artist wasn’t a viable option for a career, so I thought that maybe being a newscaster would be close enough.
It kills me because I went to Syracuse for that other major, but it’s also well known for its metalsmithing program,” Maslow says. “Knowing how close I was to finding my life’s work but just missing it is almost painful.”
Her first job in television proved it wasn’t the life for her—Maslow says she couldn’t see herself following any career path there. As an after-work diversion, she found a nearby art program and applied to take a pottery class.
“Fortunately it was full, so I ended up in a jewelry class,” Maslow says, “and from the minute I held a torch and was able to make a tiny, wearable sculpture from metal, I knew that this is what I was meant to do.”
She worked for a small jewelry designer before moving on to Andin, a manufacturer she describes as “like graduate school for the jewelry industry.” She traveled the world, visiting model makers, stone vendors, and factories. She designed pieces that sold more than 45,000 units worldwide. She also learned about running a business, from casting to CAD (computer-aided design) to negotiation.
“It was 10 years of jewelry education, and I would still be working there today if I didn’t want to start my own business,” Maslow says.
After her first child was born in 2005, Maslow began making jewelry from her bench at home, selling on Etsy and at local craft fairs. She had a second child in 2009, and the pregnancy resulted in a bad back and surgery. When she resumed work, she realized she had the best of both worlds—she could make jewelry and be with her kids.
“My brand just kind of slid into existence over time,” Maslow says. “It took many years to find my brand voice, look, and style. Honestly, Metalicious is a work in progress, like most small businesses. We flex and shift as we need to. The pandemic showed me that having the right team to help brainstorm and launch new extensions of the business is key to generating revenue.”
Thanks in part to those team brainstorms, Metalicious today has a robust custom jewelry offering that boosts overall sales and helps reduce stone overages. Customers can design something special with a gemstone of their choosing, and do it all from the comfort of their home.
“Many of my customers have been with Metalicious for more than 10 years, some even longer,” Maslow says. “I’m really grateful for the women I get to connect with. They are my inspiration.”
Top: Stephanie Maslow left a potential career in television behind to study jewelry-making and eventually create her own brand, Metalicious. (Photos courtesy of Metalicious)@jckmagazine
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