Maker Stories: Jen Hough Schierl of Jen Hough Designs

Go behind the scenes with some of our favorite makers! We sit down with entrepreneurs for a deep dive into their businesses, what makes them tick and what they’ve got in store for the future! Join us as we Meet the Maker!

This time, we chatted with Jen Hough Schierl of Jen Hough Designs! Let’s dive in.

Jen Hough Schierl of Jen Hough Designs

Q: Give us your back story! What made you want to start your business?

A: I began my jewelry making when I was in college at UW- Milwaukee. I was studying for a degree in fine art with an emphasis in sculpture. During these years I lived in an incredibly small apartment and had to keep my work small. Eventually my sculptures were small enough to wear and everything fell into place for my life in jewelry design and fabrication.

Q: Did you come in with experience or did you learn as you went?

A: Looking back the naivety and energy of youth is what allowed for me to get where I am now. There is so much to know and learn in the jewelry industry, down every path is more and more. For example, I recently began making mobile inspired earring that balance and move with the wearer, making the leap from jewelry to tiny kinetic art. While researching and designing these I have learned so much about physics. Balancing systems at equilibrium and in proportion has become a welcome challenge. I can’t wait to see what is down the next path.

Q: What makes Jen Hough Designs unique compared to other companies?

A: When I began Jen Hough Designs I knew I wanted to make handmade jewelry. It was always important to me that I use sustainable metal and stones from small ethical mines. Every piece of Jen Hough Designs jewelry has been hand made by me in my studio. I focus on one of a kind and small runs which results in each piece being truly unique to the buyer.

Q: How have you coped with COVID? How have you had to pivot?

A: I had my son Albert just before the lockdown began. Most of the pandemic has been spent taking care of a newborn and a three year old so I have stayed very busy.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: My one year old wakes up around 6am followed by my three year old. We make breakfast and ‘hatch’ then I’m off to my studio to design, fabricate and photograph my jewelry. I work from 6:30-11:00am when my husband has to leave for his work as a chef. After my sons are asleep I focus on photo editing, listing and replying to customers.

Q: Is this your full time job?

A: Yes! I’m so happy to be able to say I am a full time artist.

Q: What are your goals for the future of Jen Hough Designs?

A: I would love to be able to do more stone cutting and faceting. One of my goals is obtain fine rough and facet my own stones for the designs I make, it is the only part of my jewelry making that I don’t do one hundred percent of.

Q: What do you like most about what you do? What keeps you going?

A: I love being inspired by my studio mates and the challenges of designing new work. Hearing from past customers about how the pieces I make have been treasured really keeps me motivated. It fills my heart to know that an engagement ring I made will be worn in love for a lifetime, or a pair of statement earring reflect the confidence and personal style of a powerful women.

Q: What are you looking forward to most, post-COVID?

A: I am so excited to see customers in person at shows and in the studio! I will be packing my bags full of jewelry and a couple pairs of cute shoes and heading to the best makers shows across the county.

Q: We’re suckers for fun facts! Tell us more about you; share some deep dark secrets!

A: I love tiny versions of things, like miniature furniture and tiny silverware. This little fetish extends to me finding joy in itty bitty bottles of hot sauce and tubes of toothpaste 😂.!


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