When walking toward the betsy & iya brick and mortar for your next jewelry fix, it is very likely that you'll pass by the lovely Amy Olson. She's local to Portland, Oregon & there aren't many days that I don't get the opportunity to say hello to this lovely lady and see what her day brings; her warm, sincere demeanor draws me in every time. The jewelry Amy makes is a reflection of just that -- the delicate gemstones with silver and gold-fill accents will make anyone glow with the sweet, feminine air they possess. Her pieces seem to be the perfect accent to any woman's wardrobe. Read all about Amy below: Name: Amy Olson
Describe your personal style: I am a classic gal. I try to choose my wardrobe and my style so that it can be considered 'timeless'. My personal style is feminine with some masculine touches. I love to mix the new with the old and I try to reflect that in my jewelry line as well.
Favorite Portland Restaurant: Of course, this is a hard question since Portland has so many amazing restaurants, but if I have to pick just one, I'm constantly impressed by St. Jack. The ambiance, the service, and the food are outstanding! I feel like I've been whisked away to another place. Best Stress Reliever: Dancing! it never fails- whether I am ecstatic or feeling defeated, nothing's better than dancing to get my mojo back.
Favorite Hobbies: Antiquing, knitting/crocheting, and hiking. I love to be outside- the city feeds my creativity and the country feeds my soul. so, as long as I can get outside often, I'm happy.
Favorite Getaway: Gosh, that's a hard one. I'm a huge fan of long weekends in NYC, but if I can't afford that trip, any kind of road trip is the next best thing! I love Bend and the high desert so much. and of course, I love our coast too. Oregon has so many amazing places to see- you just gotta get in the car and drive! it's inevitable you'll end up somewhere beautiful.
How long have you lived in Portland?: I've lived here as an adult for 7 1/2 years now. I was born here but grew up in the Seattle area. Luckily, I've always had family here during the time I lived in Washington and was able to visit often. it's been interesting seeing Portland grow and turn into the exciting city it is today. as an adult, I just always felt like my heart belonged here and now I'm finally back, 27 years later!
How did your jewelry line come about?: As a child, I was always busy crafting. I have my talented, beautiful grandmother to thank for that! she was always teaching me everything she knew. it all started with paper beads. from there, I continued to learn some basic jewelry techniques, then just after high school I was fortunate enough to work with Mark and Viki Lareau from the Bead Factory in Tacoma, WA. I took one basic wire working class from them and was hooked. I've been making jewelry ever since. I started my business around 6 years ago when I moved to Boston. it was a huge change for me to go from the Northwest to Boston and felt like the right time to try something new. I truly love working with gems and metal and coming up with new concepts for my designs- the possibilities are endless!
What inspires you/your designs?: I am often inspired by botanicals and flowers. My pieces tend to remind me of little bouquets or flower arrangements! As I mentioned before, I love mixing the old with the new and that is reflected in my designs. The vintage pieces and the gems inspire the structure and shape of the designs. Most rewarding part of your Job: Seeing a woman light up when she's found the perfect piece of jewelry. Also, I love working with brides. It is so much fun making the jewelry for their big day! I love doing one-of-a kind pieces so brides are the perfect clients to work with as they know they will never see their wedding jewelry on anyone else!
Hardest part of your job: Hands down, time management.... and paperwork! to be honest, I'm not the best with the 'business' stuff. I've learned a lot on this journey and I'm happy with the pace at which I've grown, but there is always room for improvement and those little challenges are what motivate and inspire me to continue to be better all the time.
Favorite materials to work with: I am starting to focus more on metal and my new jeweler's bench arrives today! however, I'll always be the most inspired by gems. they are just so beautiful and I am fascinated by their properties. If I wasn't making jewelry, I'd be a _______: Fower designer. I've done a few weddings and I absolutely loved working with flowers. eventually, I'd like to marry my love for flowers as well as jewelry and open a boutique that offers both!
Favorite b&i piece: Right now, I'm loving on the Two Captains Hoop Earrings- they are so graceful and simple, yet they make a bold statement. I love pieces that can be worn with anything and these are just that! and I love the inspiration behind them as well- so beautiful!
*All photos courtesy of Steve Rutherford, Back Alley Studio. Thank you, Amy! You're positively charming and we adore the perfect touch of whimsy that your line brings to the betsy & iya store. xoxo, Kelly ***Song of the Moment: Crystal by Fleetwood Mac***