Studio Update: Reflecting & Revising

Katy Kippen Designer of Grayling

The transition into warm weather may be subtle, but it's happening all around us! Every time I catch a glimpse of fresh leaves unfurling or flower buds opening my spirit lifts! If it wasn't for all the Portland rain I'd likely be working in my garden at this very moment.

Here at the studio, new designs are blooming, too! The Grayling Team has been working on several new product releases including additions to our Fashion collection (inspired by a trip David and I took to Paris last year) and a Rose Gold collection! We're sorting images from the photo shoot as we speak (check out the behind-the-scenes shots at the end of this post). Look for new releases in May!

As some of you know, Grayling was founded in 2009, which means THIS IS OUR TENTH YEAR

10 is a big deal and I feel pretty damn grateful! I've been carefully considering what I'd like the next ten years to look like here at Grayling. I'd like to revise some of the ways we've been operating to hold space for what's to come. Eventually, I would love to open a second brick-and-mortar location but that's a gargantuan undertaking (and a commitment I'm happy to put off a while)!

Not expanding in the conventional sense doesn't mean we're resting on our laurels! We're going to be shaking things up a bit here at Grayling and we are committed to using our new efforts to truly add value to this community. Here's what we're working on:

// Fewer, better emails

I feel a bombarded by technology these days and my hunch is you might feel the same way. So, we'll be testing a new journalistic style format within our email newsletters. We intend this format to have a meaningful, value-added focus (think entrepreneurs, music/books, events we're excited about and more). In other words, we'll send stuff we'd like to read, not simply pretty pictures.

// Less anonymity

You may have noticed more of me and the Grayling Team in our marketing over the past year. We know so many of you care who makes the products you wear and we're excited to show the "real us"! We care deeply about each and every one of you and treasure the human connection we share. Thanks for all your sweet comments and for making us part of your community!

// More recycled and earth-friendly materials

Did you know our Fine Collection is crafted using third-party verified recycled metals including 14-karat gold and sterling silver? Yeah, baby. In fact, we're so enthusiastic about being earth-friendly that Grayling will be at the Sustainable Fashion Forum this April! We will continue to think about sustainability in regards to everything from gift boxes and shipping containers to our raw materials. That's why we just switched to recyclable padded mailers for online orders and we will continue to eliminate as much plastic as we can.

// Increasingly inclusive photography and branding

As an inclusive company founded by a woman, we create products for all jewelry lovers. Diversity and inclusivity are values we hold dear and my team and I want to be sure these values are illustrated by the images and language we share. I recognize we've not done as good of a job as we could have in portraying a diverse range of people on our website, and this may have led people to think Grayling was not for them. We're expanding the range of models we work with to reflect the full spectrum of beautiful bodies and diverse range of skin tones of our audience.

// More size options (?)

A good fit is key, and not just when it comes to clothes! Jewelry matters, too. We're inspired by the efforts of Universal Standard and Elizabeth Suzann and we're considering adding expanded sizing options so necklaces and bracelets fit and lay exactly the way you want them. This could end up being a drop-down option to add/subtract length for those of you who can't visit our shop. Or, it could be offering pre-made extender chains so you can customize to your liking at home. Or both? Right now, we're looking for your feedback! Please let me know if you have any ideas.

// A revamped website

We want to highlight the features of our work we believe are most important to you: thoughtful design and construction, versatile styling and of course, metals that won't irritate your skin or cause harm. Expect a new website from us later this year with a smoother interface and more user-friendly tools.

// Embracing design collaboration

For the past nine years, I've designed the majority of the pieces you've seen in the Grayling line (with occasional input from my Production Team). It's been nothing short of amazing and I've enjoyed solving the riddle of what to do next every season. But when creating new collections, it's not unusual for me to get “designer's block”. So, rather than force creativity, I asked Aimee and Mey to co-design the Spring/Summer 2019 Collection with me. With their feedback and modifications, we were able to create the best version of each idea I had initially brought to the table. I can't wait for you to see all the new Grayling styles (we'll be sure to post a few sneak peeks on Instagram).

// I have a side hustle

Well, more like a side passion. My journey as an entrepreneur over the past nine years happened in tandem with a journey through chronic pain from endometriosis, subfertility, and miscarriages. Over the years, the stress from work and health issues wore me down until I gradually found ways to heal through yoga, meditation, healthy-ish eating and surrounding myself with amazing medical professionals. I'm launching a new project called A Faceted Life where I'll be sharing my story and many of the resources that have helped me find balance in my life (which for the record, often feels like a dumpster fire and not at all like a jewelry box). My mission is to shine a light on endometriosis and help others find healing, so if you know anyone who might benefit from this new work please help spread the word! I'm also accepting submissions from medical and wellness professionals who may be interested in contributing articles. If that's in your wheelhouse, you know where to find me! If you want to know when AFL launches you can learn more here.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading and being part of my/our world!! Thanks so much for reading – please drop me a line and let me know what you're up to! If there's anything we can do for you I hope you won't hesitate to ask!  

- Katy
Lead Designer & Founder

*This is our amazing photographer Candace, trying to nail the perfect shot.


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