I first stumbled upon the beautiful jewelry of Nichole Kirk of Dear Heart Designs when I was looking for a gift for my sister. She was expecting her daughter at the time and I had the joy of drawing a picture of their little girl and their dogs for the nursery. I love Nichole's sweet spirit and feminine sense of style, her pieces are modern but very timeless at the same time and always seem to evoke an emotion. I was so excited to do this Q+A and find out even more about this beautiful lady!
Q. My hometown is...
A. Wichita Falls, Texas
What inspires you?
Jesus and my parents. I think it's truly amazing how blessed I am. To have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, to get to stay home with my little girl, and create happy things. Jesus lights my soul on fire and brings me more joy and fulfillment than anything ever before. He is the center of my business and why I am successful today.
My parents have always been so supportive of me and always told me growing up that I could be anything I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do. They didn't push me in any direction, just let me find my own way. I am forever thankful for that and hope that I can be as great of a parent to my little Ellie as they are to me.
|Vertical Bar Necklace Hand Stamped by Nichole ©dearheartdesigns|
What's your creative process like?
Oh jeez. Messy. A lot of reading. A lot of music. A lot of coffee. A lot of wine. It begins with asking myself, "What would I want to hear from my daughter? Needed inspiration? From my sister? Needed a cheer up? From my husband? Wanted to minister? Because that's what my business is all about, provoking emotion and touching hearts.
After I figure out the words I want to use, the rest is pretty easy. They go on whatever pendant they can fit on. Sometimes I break them up to go on layering pieces. Whatever feels right in the moment.
I hand stamp each letter at a time onto every one of my pieces. It really is a labor of love. No machines. Just me and a hammer. When I send a piece to it's home it's kind of like I'm sending a little bit of myself out there to bring some joy. It's a wonderful feeling.
|Nichole's Studio Space ©dearheartdesigns|
What's your business all about?
Love. Feeling love. Spreading love.
My whole purpose with my business is to bring love to people. I hope that people smile when they open a package from me. Or happy cry. Or take a walk down memory lane. I hope that their heart swells with emotion and that they can't help but take a moment to appreciate their blessings and the life they've been given.
I hope that their pieces brings them joy during their day and that it gives them opportunities to share their story with others, whether it be about a loved one, a fond memory, or Jesus.
I hope for an amazing journey for them and their pieces as they travel through this amazing beautiful life and am just so thankful to be a part of it.
|Vertical Bar Necklace Hand Stamped by Nichole ©dearheartdesigns|
When and how did you start your business?
In December of 2012 I graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Human Science. Why Human Science? Because I had no idea what I wanted to do and it sounded good at the time to get a degree. After I graduated, I didn't know what to do with my free time. I was so used to working two jobs and going to school that I didn't know what to do with myself, so I needed a hobby. I began dabbling in mixed media art and doing a few craft shows until one day I saw a metal stamping kit at a craft store and thought "I can do that!". I made few pieces on cheaper metals like copper and brass and listed a few on etsy. And people bought them! I've been creating and going ever since!
|Horizontal Bar Necklace with Hand Stamped Roman Numeral Date by Dear Heart Designs. Photo @_paigecraig|
What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
One of the best things you can do in your business is put yourself out there. Who cares if people tell you no. Or that your work sucks. Or that you aren't going to succeed. Get out of your comfort zone and GO DO IT. It's up to YOU to succeed. It's YOUR dreams and you CAN live your dream. You just have to put everything out there and give it all you've got. I've pulled more all nighters in my business than I ever did in college. It's not easy. It's a lot of late nights, constant working, no break ever kind of life in the beginning of your business if you want it to grow. And you can't get down on yourself if everything isn't happening as fast as you'd like it to. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
The thing that surprised me most was...
That people LIKED my stuff! I know, it's silly. But seriously. When I first started my business, I HOPED people liked my pieces. That maybe I could make a little side hobby money while I searched for my "big girl job". But people loved my pieces and my vision and I am forever thankful for them because without that initial confidence, I don't think I would be where I am today.
|Horizontal Bar Bracelet Hand Stamped by Nichole. ©dearheartdesigns|
The support of my friends and family. I seriously couldn't do it without them. My husband supports me so much and has the patience of Job. He drags all of my display gear to shows, is okay that when he gets home from work it means that it's his turn to watch the baby and I'm off to work in my studio, that I'm constantly working all the time no matter what time it is. They all cheer me on and are there in an instant if I need help with anything. I'm so very blessed by all of them.
My advice for anyone thinking of making and selling is...
Do it! If you have been looking at "big girl/boy jobs" and none of them are fitting with you and you feel sort of lost out there in the world and find yourself happiest when creating then BUILD YOUR DREAM JOB! It's all up to you, the ball is in your court, and you can do it.
|Hand Stamped Sterling Silver Ring ©dearheartdesigns|
Is there anything you would do differently if you had to start over today?
I don't think so. I've had my share of battles and ups and downs but all in all it's helped me get to where I am today. You have to have trials and errors in your business or you'll never grow or truly appreciate how far you've come.
My favorite colors are... Mossy Green, Gold, and White.
The song that's stuck in my head lately is...
All of the songs on the "Baby Einstein" Pandora Channel that I play for my little girl while she plays with her toys. I'm such a mom. "The wheels on the bus go round and round…"
|Stacked Hand Stamped Sterling Silver Rings ©dearheartdesigns|
Grey's Anatomy. Parenthood. Game of Thrones. Reign. (I love medieval shows!!)
My favorite sip-able treat is...
Coffee. Hands down. I have an espresso machine that I bought off craigslist a few years ago that I use at least twice a day. I could participate in a barista competition I think. ;)
If I could pick a super power it would be...
To be in several places/doing several things at once! Playing with my little girl in the living room, while working in the studio, while cooking in the kitchen, while cleaning the bathroom, while catching up on email, while sipping coffee and reading my devotional, while spending time with family. I could go on and on. There just isn't enough time in one day!
|Hand Stamped Gold Necklace and Packaging ©dearheartdesigns|
My favorite childhood toy was...
Dirt. I'm not kidding. I was the biggest tom boy. I played in the dirt catching "doodle bugs". I made mud pies when the dirt was wet. I went fishing(and swimming!) in the dirty pond water by my house. One day I rolled in the mud head to toe and my dad had to power spray me off with a hose outside. And now I'm a jewelry designer.
If I had the whole day to myself I would...
Wake up around 8ish(that's sleeping in these days!) Dance around with my little girl (because that's her favorite in the mornings) Go over to my grandmas house and drink coffee and eat her breakfast (it's seriously the best ever.) Go junking all day long at different flea markets and antique stores. Go out to my parents in the evening with the whole family and just enjoy the company and just be present. Then end the day with a glass of wine and a movie with my hubby.
|Hand Stamped Necklaces with Roman Numeral Dates in Rose Gold ©dearheartdesigns|
Best quote ever...
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. -Conan O'Brien
Best book ever...
The Bible. I had never sat down and actually read through it until this year. I'm still going, but goodness it is truly amazing to study. I had skimmed through it, read the more relatable(i guess?) books like Psalms and Corinthians before, but never the beginning to end. I'm excited to finally do it this year.
And on a dorkier note… Harry Potter. I once read an entire Harry Potter book in 48 hours. I'm not kidding. My mom brought me food and water and I just read and wizarded out.
Best movie ever...
Lion King. I'm a Disney fanatic. Ellie already has a growing collection of all of the originals! I cannot wait to watch them with her when she gets older!
My Woman crushes are:
@kyligraphy because her humor and spirit are shown so perfectly through her posts and her work is beautiful.(I adore gold gilding.) She has the prettiest feed. Ever.
@nataliecreates because I want to live in her house and have her taken decorated(have you seen it?! go look. now.) and sweet personality that she shines through her posts.
@barefootlullabies because she is the sweetest friend ever and has AMAZING talent. And how about that business name?! Precious.
and most recently @daintycheeks I have been drooling over her handmade dolls ever since I stumbled upon them the other day. I'm head over heels in love already.
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