Photos courtesy of Madden Christopher.
When did you first become interested in making jewelry?
“About a year ago I began to notice that the cheaper jewelry (that wasn’t so cheap) that I bought didn’t hold up well. So, I decided that I could probably find better quality material that would hold up better, and just make my own jewelry. I did, and after wearing it for several months, I noticed how well it held up. I decided to share it with anyone that might have been interested!”
What inspires your style?
“I have a lot of style influences, and while I’m all for the idea of being “original,” you’ve got to find inspiration somewhere! I love fashion, anything simple, nothing gaudy or bulky. Several of my favorite clothing brands are modern and simple, so I wanted to create something that would go well with that. Something that was simple yet elegant and could be dressed up or down. I’m also obsessed with anything gold, so…”
How did you get started?
“The answer to question 1 basically explains the reason I decided to do this. However, it began with various different samples. Different styles of chain, different types of gold, etc. I made several different examples and wore them all for a while. After several months, I picked the styles that held up the best. After selling to a few friends, we landed a wholesale order with a local store here in Corinth. It quickly expanded from there.”
What sets Madden Christopher apart from other jewelry brands?
“Every necklace is assembled piece by piece with a small pair of pliers and my own hands. That ensures that every product I sell meets the high quality standards that I set for myself. The jewelry is dainty and simple, not something you see a lot of around here. The chain and clasps are whats known as gold filled, rather than gold plated. That allows it to stand up to everyday use without tarnishing or smelling like metal.”
What do you enjoy about being a maker?
“Being able to create something of my own and sharing it with others who appreciate the overall quality/design”
Tell us about the success you’ve had and your plans for the future.
“It has really grown quicker than I could have ever imagined. By November of last year, we were wholesaling to a local boutique in downtown Corinth. Within about 3 months, we added 4 other retailers to that list, including one as far as Springfield, MO. It was fantastic, but at the same time I had to take a step back and reorganize things to operate on a bigger scale.
As for the future, we have been working on some new styles that will be released soon, and focusing on the upcoming holiday season. We are also still talking with other stores in surrounding areas about carrying MC. I hope to keep adding to our list of retailers.”
What is your advice for someone who wants to start a handmade business?
“BE ORGANIZED. I didn’t really have a plan when this all got started, but luckily, I have learned the ropes as we have grown. However, there is still a lot to learn!”
What are your thoughts on the importance of buying from local makers?
“I think it is extremely important. I think local artists and businesses put a lot more love into their products. I’ve always loved anything local/handmade, but now that I have my own small business, I appreciate them even more. When I buy local, I feel like I am buying into that individual’s passion. I am helping them with their own dream.”
What are some of your favorite handmade brands/small businesses?
“One of the first small businesses I ever ordered anything from was a brand called Pine & Boon out of Seattle, WA. She makes beautiful leather goods and has grown quite a bit over the last few years. (Yay!)
I have a close friend that makes baked goods, seasonings, canned goods, etc. He is a culinary genius and goes by the name Moondog Makers & Bakers. He was a huge inspiration to me in branching out and starting my own small business.
I also will always choose a local eatery over a chain. #supportlocal!!”