Creative Profile: Windblown
I stumbled into Rachel at a pop-up shop outside of Sola's coffee shop one Saturday morning and bought her now retired honey comb necklace (you can still get the honey comb ring!) on a whim. We quickly found that we had more than freckles and red hair in common; it turns out both our husbands attend the same seminary, and we are both creatives figuring it all out. When we started CC, I knew I wanted to feature her, and when I awkwardly emailed her about the possibility she actually remembered me, from that pop-up shop and was on board. That's the thing about this wild-haired, joy-filled creative soul. She's extremely personal and sincerely genuine.
I walked into Rachel and her husband's vintage-eclectic home at 8:30 AM, Rachel with a toothbrush in one hand and a french press in the other. She poured us some coffee, hers in her go-to party cat cup (that I couldn't help feature), and we got started...and enough of me talking. I'll leave the rest to Rachel.
How did you get started? How did you know you wanted to make Wind Blown a business?
I began making and selling jewelry when I was in middle school. I had learned to make jewelry from a sweet lady in a tiny bead shop up the road, and began selling jewelry because I was raising money to go on a trip to Italy. I had my brother design me a logo and place it on top of a pink and purple color palette. I put my $8 earrings on small business cards that said “Earrings by Rachel” HA! I was so bold, selling wherever I went. I even sat outside our local grocery store on a Sunday and made hundreds of dollars selling my earrings for my trip! I walked into little boutiques with confidence and walked out having sold inventory to store owners, with cash in hand! (I often try to tap back into that middle school mentality. Fear of people is foreign to little ones!)
Fast forward to college aged Rachel. I continued to make jewelry all those years and got a job at a boutique in Wrightsville Beach called Hallelu. I began selling my work in the store and the response was extremely positive. I created a website and termed my business Wind Blown. This was 2012. I moved, graduated college, and got married and continued Wind Blown, all the while attending pop up markets when I could. It was just something I could never get away from. My hands LOVED creating new designs, organizing displays for my markets, and the response was always encouraging. Wind Blown was always my dream job and being able to pursue it full time was the goal. 2017 is the year that goal was realized and I was able to focus solely on Wind Blown. I spent the last year and a half desperately trying to find a “big girl job” that would pay the bills and have benefits. I channelled all my frustration into working on Wind Blown, trying to grow it and get it to the point where it could meet our families needs. I am thrilled to say that as of 2017 Wind Blown is my FULL TIME JOB! It doesn’t even make sense that I get to do this for a living, but I am incredibly grateful. Also my husband is a CHAMP for supporting me all of these years and helping make this dream a reality. I could NOT have done it without him. #WilliamRocks
What is the hardest thing about being a small business owner?
Focus! There are so many hats to wear and your to-do list is always a mile long. It is essential to prioritize and be very flexible when running your own business. I am the owner, technician, web designer, marketer, sales rep, model, administrative assistant, and janitor…I could keep going. HA!
Ironically this is one of the elements that is also so exhilarating about running my own business! I love the fast paced environment that I have to keep up with. I am always having to learn and adjust, which I much prefer to doing one task over and over.
Tell me a little bit about your design themes! What draws you to the elements and mediums that you use? What inspires you?
Brass and gold have my heart! It could be because they look good with my coloring (holler back redheads!), or because they are just the most beautiful :) . I have stopped even trying to make things with silver because it just doesn’t speak to me the way brass and gold do. All of my designs are built around simplicity. I love how easily a few lines or curves can become a beautiful piece of jewelry!
What is your favorite piece and why?
This is a tough question! I love all of my pieces and that is why they came into existence. All of my jewelry is designed in such a way that it adds effortless style to your look. Which is one major reason I enjoy wearing my jewelry. The line goes with everything, so it creates this easy throw it on in the morning situation which is good for me because I don’t have much time or thought to spare in the morning!
If I had to focus on one piece, I would say the warrior necklace. The horizon was my literal everyday necklace last year and this year I have switched to the warrior. Something about it makes me feel bolder, like a go getter, slightly ferocious even, which is necessary when building a small business. It makes a statement without being obnoxious and I feel like a boss when I put it on.
Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.
I do most of my work out of our studio space in our home. It is nothing fancy but is all I need to escape and delve into the creative realm! I occasionally work out of the craft center at NC State or Pullen Arts Center-both have metals studios. I am a big fan of going to coffee shops to work when I am doing administrative work so I don’t get distracted by the laundry that needs to be done or that dust bunny in the corner. I also love people, so being out and about feeds my soul. MORNING is my most productive time. I haven’t always been this way, but the older I get the more of a morning person I have become. I separate my tasks out so that the most mind intensive tasks like emailing, ordering, scheduling, outreach, etc happen in the morning and then save making product for later in the day when I need a mental break.
What are some goals you have for Wind Blown?
If you asked 7 year old Rachel what she wanted to do when she grew up you would have heard an emphatic, “run a cash register!” One of my favorite pretend games was store and there was nothing I loved more than hosting each guest in my room, stocking various items and checking them out. A dream/goal for Wind Blown would be to have a retail space where I could sell Windblown product along with other talented local makers! Perhaps a studio space where I could host workshops and give private lessons!
What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?
Do not compare yourself or your business with others! It steals joy SO quickly! Instead, focus on your business and how much you enjoy what you do. It is good to remember that success is easily seen, but the hard work and long hours that it took to get there are often masked. I make it a practice to thank God for every single sale and new opportunity which helps me remain grateful and at peace with where my business is!
What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform?
Instagram, Instagram, Instagram! I LOVE Instagram. There is something so fun about the visual emphasis that Instagram allows and promotes. Every time I post I feel like I release a tiny little art project. Instagram also allows me to keep in contact with my customers and followers in a really organic way, which is great!
Where can we buy your products?
Other than my website, my main shops in the triangle area are The Makery in Durham, and Ramble Supply Co. in Raleigh. Ramble is a beautifully curated minimalist store front in downtown Raleigh. The Makery is very “Durham”: more vibrant, community oriented etc. You can also find my work through Covet Atelier, an online shop based in Charlotte and Kleur in Winston Salem.
I also participate in many pop up markets locally. I can be found in Raleigh/Durham almost every weekend! To keep up with where I will be next just follow me on Instagram or check out my website events page.
If you love these amazing pieces as much as we do, you can shop Wind Blown and with any purchase you get a gold slim ring absolutely free with our promo code COPPERCREATIVE until the end of March!
Make sure you when stop by her shop and pick up one of these gorgeous pieces and your free ring to post a picture of you sporting your Wind Blown original and hashtag it #coppercreativestyle to be featured here! Our favorite item? The warrior necklace.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks to get an exclusive behind the scenes home tour! You're not going to want to miss Rachel's thrifty vintage and ecclectic decor.