The Good Life
with a Southern Drawl

Golden Hands Create Golden Thread Jewelry

By Amy Bailey — June 30, 2014

Beautiful customizable jewelry is Jennifer Welker’s specialty. This once nurse who learned how important it was to use her hands, transformed into a skilled artisan jewelry designer creating sophisticated, wearable pieces just for you. Check out her upcoming jewelry trunk show Friday April 11 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Golden Thread Trunk Show Details:
Date: Friday, April 11, 2014
Time: 11am-5pm
Address: Saks Fifth Avenue, 129 Summit Blvd, Birmingham AL

If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be?
I would be in London!!

As a child, did you envision yourself doing something creative?
Yes, definitely. I’ve loved accessories, playing dress up and style from day one!

How did you get started as a designer?
The two careers I’ve had (nursing and fashion) are actually stark opposites and have nothing to do with the other. However, I’ve tapped into my type-A, high-energy, adrenaline-junkie-ICU nurse-personality to help me move forward into launching my dream and my business. I was used to working with really tiny, one pound babies, using my hands to start IVs on tiny little veins. This required me to be good with my hands and utilize very tiny tools extremely accurately, which helped this be a natural progression for me. I’m completely self-taught. I researched a ton online, asked lots of questions, established a few jewelry mentors early and started out watching YouTube videos.

What inspires you to design?
I find inspiration from all over. My husband Ellis and I traveled everywhere before I had children and we still try and make it a priority! We travel to London quite a few times a year and I’m always so enamored by the architecture. Same goes for Paris. Seeing some of the most iconic and influential architecture is actually where I draw the majority of my inspiration from in addition to historical pieces, adding a fresh appeal. For example, my maiden name is McKenzie which dates back to Scotland. We have a family crest and this year, we introduced a crest to the line. The clover shape that’s seen in the charms on our new bangles and earrings is timeless, and was actually inspired by Big Ben (in London) and The Louvre (in Paris), as the clover shape is seen in this historic architecture.

Is designing jewelry as fun as it seems to be?
I absolutely could never have dreamed my life would turn out this way! It has filled a void in my life I have had for a long time. I get to do what I truly love. I have to pinch myself sometimes because I can’t believe I get to do this everyday. I can’t wait for the day I can share this with my daughter and help her believe she can truly do anything.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?
In terms of new products, we’ll always be a brand designed with the everyday woman in mind but we’re looking into launching additional pieces and categories! Stay tuned.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?
I would advise up and coming designers to really believe that you can do anything. This is not just a lucky fairy tale, it doesn’t come easily but don’t be discouraged. If you love something and are passionate about it you will never work a day in your life! It’s sounds cheesy but if you put your mind to it you can do whatever you want! Have thick skin… act like “Teflon” and don’t let any of the “nos” or “negativity” stick to you. Know that behind a successful business, as many times as we’ve heard “yes”, we’ve heard “no” about 100 times more! Knowing what’s truly important and where your priorities lie allows you to take risks and not be disappointed or upset if they don’t work out. Pick your head up, dust yourself off and start again. Be persistent, stay positive and don’t’ be afraid to take a risk.