Today’s wedding vendor interview is with jewelery designer Auri Penner of ForTheMaids, based in Boulder, Colorado! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Hello! My name is Auri and my husband Andrew and I opened our For The Maids jewelry shop about 3 years ago. We were just graduating from college when we decided that we wanted to start our own business. I had just recently taken up jewelry-making as a hobby — learning from YouTube tutorials and experimenting with craft store beads. I had another jewelry shop called Powder & Jade (which is still alive and kicking!) and I noticed I got several requests for bridesmaid jewelry. Around the same time, one of my friends from high school asked if I could make some earrings for her bridesmaids for her upcoming wedding. Needless to say, we recognized the need for customizable bridesmaid jewelry that could be given as a gift and so For the Maids was born!
Read the full interview after the cut!
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part is designing new jewelry and really thinking about what my customers are looking for. I also love big-picture business strategy!
If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?
Right now I’m really loving some sparkly stud earrings like these. They are big enough to make a statement and to coordinate with your wedding colors, but I know bridesmaids will love to wear them often after the wedding. Also, anything champagne colored is really gorgeous for weddings and is my number one go-to.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?
I would say my biggest piece of advice would be to listen to your customer! When I was first starting, I was just making things that I enjoyed making instead of really paying attention to what my customers really wanted. I think that is a common mistake!
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I live up in the mountains in Boulder, so I love hiking, soaking in the hot tub, and spending time outdoors. I’m also a pretty avid reader and absolutely love traveling. Also, Andrew and I are expecting our first baby this summer!
Sometimes when you get in the groove of things you forget how special the jewelry can be for people. I love seeing reviews that say that the jewelry and special note included made their mom cry or seeing a picture of a group of bridesmaids wearing our jewelry with the bride and looking so happy! Here’s an example of a great recent review on our site: “Absolutely love this jewelry. I ordered 4 for my bridesmaids and they are the perfect size. I was having a hard time finding something because I didn’t want what I gave them to wear to be obnoxiously sparkly and this is perfect! The boxes they come in are adorable as well!”
I would say that we really concentrate on creating gifts that are the full package — from the quality of the jewelry itself — to the customizable gift notes and name tags to the cute kraft paper and twine packaging.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I personally love simple, delicate jewelry that still makes a statement and that people will want to wear after the wedding. I don’t love really big chunky pieces because more often than not, you are sacrificing quality for quantity of material and that can look a little tacky in my opinion.
You do you! Don’t feel like you have to do everything the “right” way. Surround yourself with people, products, and ideas that make you happy! You don’t need to over-complicate things!
Thanks Auri! For more information about ForTheMaids, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their Etsy shop.
Do you have any questions or comments for Auri? Add them to the comments below!