Elizoebeth Jensen's first move to a creative life was leaving California for Colorado in 2005. Seven years later, she gave up her California consulting job and became a full-time designer and mother. Jensen is now the creative mind and designer responsible for beautiful, delicate pieces of jewelry. She recently took a few minutes to talk about what inspires her designs for Elizoebeth Jensen Jewelry.
Westword: Tell us about yourself. W here are you from, and how did you get into designing jewelry?
Elizoebeth: I was born in Utah but grew up primarily in southern California. I've lived in Denver since 2005 (with a short stint in Houston). Prior to having my daughter in 2012 and earning my MBA at the University of Denver, I worked in management consulting for heavy extractive industries such as oil and gas, mining and forestry products. This work was challenging and engaging, but left me yearning to express myself creatively and to work in a more entrepreneurial environment. At about the same time, I had started taking metalsmithing classes during my free time and designing jewelry nights and weekends (when I wasn't traveling or preparing client presentations!). Following the birth of my daughter and numerous "should I? Shouldn't I?" discussions with my ever-supportive husband, I decided to resign from my position -- and the only career I knew -- to raise my daughter at home (a huge priority for us) and focus on my two great passions: design and entrepreneurship. This was the formal beginning of Elizoebeth Jensen Jewelry.
What was the first thing you ever designed/made?
The first piece of jewelry I designed was a rectangular chain-link necklace with a pendant fashioned to hold a beautiful, peach seashell I found on the beach. This was back in high school and I was just discovering how to solder and fabricate jewelry. I used to spend weekends in Venice Beach selling my handmade jewelry to passersby on the boardwalk. I had a thriving little business for a while until the prevailing winds of conventional wisdom had talked me into a more serious line of life's work. But we always come back to what we love!
The first pieces I designed for the contemporary Elizoebeth Jensen Collection were the Crest Personalized necklaces. The Crest Necklaces were designed for women who wanted to wear their monogram or initials of a loved one in an elegant yet contemporary way. To this day, the Crests are some of the best-sellers in my shop and can be found online at Elizoebethjensen.com.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by designers, creatives, visionaries and entrepreneurs who have struck out on their own path, who create from an immovable and uncompromising vision. I am also inspired by and incredibly thankful to work with my clients to create custom, one-of-a-kind pieces. Whether it's for a wedding or a special occasion, I love learning about their particular needs and then diving into the creative process of designing. It's a perfect marriage of blending my client's personal aesthetic with a chic, minimalist quality that is the hallmark of all my jewelry.
Give us your thoughts on the fashion community in Denver: What are we doing right, what needs work?
In comparison to the larger cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, etc.), I really believe Denver designers are coming into their own. The Rocky Mountains and Denver are synonymous with more rugged/outdoor brands (Patagonia, REI, North Face, Keen, etc.), though there are a good handful of local designers who are working to bring their particular point of view and a refined aesthetic to the market. Denver is fortunate to have great organizations like 303Magazine, 5280, the Denver Design Incubator and Fashion Denver, all of which do a great job of spotlighting and supporting emerging design talent.
Keep reading for more from Elizoebeth Jensen. Who are some of your favorite local designers?
I love the ethics behind Kristin Glenn's line Seamly; she really believes in local production and creates, classic, clean silhouettes. Kristin Littlejohn-Lasker also has a great line called Imminent Rise.
What can we do to better support the creative designers in Denver?
Creating venues for special design and entrepreneurial-related lectures and series would be truly amazing. And the ultimate, in my book, would be regular Creative Mornings talks. I'd be in the front row!
Can you share with us the one piece of advice that is important for all aspiring jewelry designers to know?
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If you have a vision and you are completely passionate about it, chase it doggedly and make it happen!