This Jewelry Designer Juggles Motherhood, History, and Modernism in Detroit
When asked what she hopes her children learn from her business and art, Brooke Fisher of Brooke Fisher Designs responds with a quote from author Joseph Chilton Pearce, “To live a creative life, we must first lose the fear of being wrong.”
It’s the perfect introduction to Brooke, a woman who has not only paved her own path as an entrepreneur, but can often be found in far off locations, bartering in exotic markets, unphased by the fact that she’s one of the only English speakers in the area.
An inspiration to us all, this mother of two shares the story behind her successful jewelry company, how she learned to juggle the many aspects of her life, and why she’s drawn to ancient materials and methods. Read on to learn more about this boss babe and how Hobnob has played a role in her career.
Brooke fell into jewelry making organically. As a teenager, she taught herself how to craft bracelets, earrings, and necklaces as well as basic beading techniques. She would make custom pieces for her friends and family, and loved giving them away as gifts. Later in life, she began taking technical classes which included metalsmithing, lost wax casting, and jewelry design to further hone her craft. As her understanding of the artform grew, she felt more comfortable, and decided to take a risk and sell her pieces commercially.
“It seemed like a natural way to combine my passions in a format that worked for a mother of two young boys!” She recalls.
Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that. It took a lot of confidence for Brooke to put herself out there and to get over her fears of rejection and failure. But, she was never one to back down from a challenge and decided right then and there to stop making excuses.
Taking those first steps was certainly a challenge, but it wasn’t the only one Brooke faced when starting (and continuing) her business. As a mother of two young children, the hardest part of her job was finding time to actually do it! It was and still is difficult to create a schedule that allows her to complete her work while caring for, playing with, and providing for her children.
“It’s a learning opportunity for all of us,” she explains, “It’s important for my children [and all children] to watch how we ‘juggle’ things in life. How can mom, dad, and the kiddos get all of their needs met in a day? How can we all work together? Like most families, we’re figuring it out as we go along -- and frankly, I think the kids really enjoy seeing their mom being creative. Adventures are the best ways to learn.”
And if Brooke Fisher Designs is anything, it’s an adventure. In fact, Brooke often refers to her company as a “business adventure.” Her fascination with travel and indigenous cultures has led her to incredible places where she has navigated through unfamiliar customs, languages, landscapes, and more.
She finds inspiration everywhere. From the curving shape of a shell to the pearly whites and rich lapis blues of the ocean in summer.
“I think nature’s rhythms have inspired artists since antiquity,” she tells us.
And antiquities are something Brooke is quite familiar with. During her many travels, she fell in love with the tribal cultures she encountered and their perspective on jewelry and jewelry making. She loves the fact that in many places around the world, jewelry was/is not only a form of adornment but was also worn to display wealth, declare status, or show that someone was a member of a certain society. These accessories were also used as a way to reach the spiritual realm -- talismans, charms, amulets, and prayer boxes were all used to ward off evil spirits, protect their owners from negative energies, and to heal.
Not only that, but the tribes’ use of naturally available resources like shells, ivory, wood, seeds, animal bones and teeth, semi-precious stones, and simple organic and raw materials is something that has always inspired Brooke. These materials have their own unique qualities that appeal to her style—earthen, eclectic, and funky!
Perhaps even more fascinating than the symbolism and materials used by ancient cultures were the techniques they had for crafting each piece.
“In most of these cultures, the craft has been passed down from generation to generation, and in many instances, its methodology and purpose has not changed since ancient times. I suppose I find that element refreshing, and a true juxtaposition to our modern western world where many things are machine-made, trends change with the wind, and celebrity culture influences so many of our fashion choices.”
It is this fascination with history as well as her modern day sensibility that has allowed Brooke Fisher Designs to stand out from other lines. Brooke’s goal is to create “unexpected juxtaposition” within each piece, and she loves to contrast the beauty and luxury of diamonds, gold, pearls with organic materials such as mammoth bone, raw turquoise, or vintage beads from places like Ethiopia, Nepal, or India. Her jewelry is sophisticated and luxurious while being earthy and ethnic.
“I think this gives the collection an effortless transitional appeal” she describes.
Located in Detroit, Michigan, the business thrives in a world of creativity. There, a beautifully collaborative community of designers, artists, creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs come together and support one another in their creative pursuits. There’s a reason this city was known as the “Paris of the West” and is home to three of the top art and design schools in the country!
Both in Detroit as well as other cities (like Los Angeles and New York), Brooke has been able to grow her business by following her heart, working hard, and being flexible when it comes to scheduling and family. She’s also had a little help from the Hobnob app which she first heard about while helping a friend put on a trunk show in Los Angeles.
“It was as simple as 1,2,3.” she says, “Literally point, click, drag… she sent me the cell phone numbers of guests and all i had to do was type them into my phone, upload a favorite image, enter the details of the show and poof! It was incredibly easy to track responses as well.”
Now, she’s used it to organize multiple trunk shows and has introduced her unique craft and work to a wider audience. We can’t wait to see what incredible combinations she comes up with next (and we’re sure you can’t either).