Ohio Creative Collective is honored to partner with some of the most talented makers in the state, and this week’s member spotlight feature is just that!
LivyLynn creates and sells absolutely beautiful vintage jewelry. I went to check out some of the goods at one of many retail locations where Jennifer Haines’ pieces can be found. I was quickly wooed by what I saw, everything from sweet stud earrings in a multitude of colors to bold image cuff bracelets; style that caters to everyone, from simple to statement maker. It was hard not to leave without taking everything home with me, and I loved
reading the cards, learning the story behind the stones and metals.
Jen was kind enough to take the time to tell me more about her creations and growing
Hello! Hello! Everyone is dying to know... Who is the woman behind LivyLynn?
I grew up right here in Central Ohio (Westerville, actually). We moved a lot growing up, but
only to other homes within Westerville, so I have VERY strong ties to my community and Ohio! However, for a brief time, my husband and I lived in Austin, TX. We actually had our daughter when we lived there. It was a fun time in our life with MANY changes in a very short period!
In February 2011, we moved back to Central Ohio from Austin. I also had a stroke, which forever changed the way that I look at life in general. Throughout recovery, I had to focus on things that would help me to reach my goals, and that was the start in thinking about starting my own business. We were living in Clintonville, and I had loved making jewelry since I was a child. I needed a creative outlet, and began to try and think of ways that I could make jewelry for myself and friends.
A few years later, we moved to Westerville. Yet another change in our lives, but a welcome
one! We were excited to start putting real roots down in a community, and I could not have
thought of a better one. We were now in a lovely neighborhood with kids for my daughter to play with. We were also very close to my parents so that they could visit with their only
granddaughter any time they liked!
This is where I finally took the step to begin selling my handmade vintage upcycled jewelry. I love my family, but it is just necessary to have some sort of creative outlet in my life. So, I
talked with my husband about my idea and found my first batch of bulk vintage finds!
My first real test was working an art show in February 2014. I figured that if my items sold there, then I was making something that others would also love and appreciate! In fact, they did, and that’s when it all started! From then until now, my jewelry has gone through a lot of transformations! It looks very different now than it did in the beginning, and I am just thrilled with the current look and feel of our collection!
That is such an inspiring beginning, and you have such a passion for this! Where did it come from?
My passion comes from a true love of old stuff! I grew up with an appreciation for vintage and collecting. My grandparents were avid collectors and sellers. In fact, my grandfather still collects to this day (and sells too). His house is full of interesting things from paintings to vintage secular items. It’s just really cool!
I love that when you touch something that is 30, 50, or 100 years old or more, you are actually touching history. It becomes less abstract and more relatable to your own life in this moment. It’s a bit of a transcending moment (in my opinion). I absolutely ADORE my vintage knick knacks!
One of my more recent finds was a vintage French letter (friend to a friend) from July 1788! It is just an amazing experience to hold something that old in your hands. Now, my goal is to figure out how to incorporate this letter into some of my pieces. My latest idea is transferring the writing onto upcycled pieces of leather to then turn into cuffs, etc. That would be a cool way to transform this piece of history into something alive again!
I love that idea! Did you mean to start a business, or did it just sort of happen along the way?
I didn’t necessarily mean to start a business. However, to feed my creative need, I would have had to make so many pieces that I knew I wouldn’t and couldn’t wear them or gift them all. So, at that point I thought....”Well Jen, just start a small business!” I wanted something where others could find a little piece of history too. From there, LivyLynn is what it is today!
What are all the products that you make?
I make a lot of different pieces, including custom orders. However, our current lines include vintage image cuff bracelets and necklaces, vintage upcycled earrings, vintage beaded necklaces, vintage enamel necklaces, and a few vintage bracelets (made of vintage chains, vintage pearls, etc).
I am in the process of playing around with some new items and pieces for fall/winter using
upcycled leather and also looking to create some longer boho style vintage necklaces. Oh – I also have my eye out for some really cool vintage brass adjustable rings. I love those things!
Ooh, can’t wait for those! What inspires you? Do you have a creative process that you tend to follow or is it always different?
My creative process is not something that is set in stone by any means! To be honest, I doubt that I have any type of structure when creating or imagining! It’s really just allowing myself to think freely, look around, and get inspired.
I mean, I could get inspired driving around in my car and seeing a cool pattern on a billboard. I also get inspired being around my daughter and the things that she loves. I actually created a few circus animal necklaces and a side show bracelet after being inspired by her love for circus things at the time!
Honestly, that’s what I love about jewelry and what I do. There are so many different directions you can go with your work, that the sky is really the limit. You can allow anything to inspire you, and thus I feel like I am open to more in my world because of it!
Absolutely! Where would you like the business to go in the future?
I would love to see LivyLynn in some more retail environments. I would like to be able to take my business to some larger art shows and festivals and I would love to grow my online standalone shop!
I spent the beginning of this year getting my standalone online store up, and expanding
LivyLynn into 6 additional retail environments (5 of which are located in Central Ohio). I was really pleased and excited to be able to get feedback and acceptance into that many shops so quickly! However, I would like to get into more. Specifically, I would love to get some of my items into Northern and Southern Ohio. A few of the college campuses in Ohio would be great as well. I would also LOVE-LOVE-LOVE to get items into a boutique in Brooklyn or somewhere in NYC and possibly LA or San Francisco. That would just be really cool!
I have gotten invites to quite a few local shows and festivals, but it hasn’t been something that would fit into my schedule currently. I am hoping that in the next year or two, folks will see LivyLynn all around during the summer months!
Oh – I almost forgot.... I have been itching to try and get some of my products on the red
carpet as well. We’ll see where that leads me, but I have it in the back of my mind! That would be some amazing exposure to my shop and to vintage upcycled jewelry in general!
Are there other products you would like to add to your line?
There are always other products that I would love to add. I want to add some leather pieces. I would love to have some sort of line for men specifically, as they are totally left out with my current line. I have also tossed around the idea of making some pieces for pets, but we’ll see where that goes.
The bottom line is that since the vintage that I run into or find is always changing, there will probably always be a bit of a re-mix of the items I offer.
What do you love most about crafting?
I love the freedom that crafting gives me to create and learn. I honestly feel like I can do
anything I put my mind to! However, there is always a learning curve. I am all self-taught, so all of my techniques I have learned on my own through trial and error. I am sure that some of my techniques would be considered a bit unorthodox by some, but that’s ok. I feel like the creative process allows me to figure things out for myself, so I always continue to grow by learning more and trying more!
Do you have a favorite piece?
I have quite a few favorite pieces. I absolutely LOVE my vintage image pieces. My favorite pieces to wear are the feather cuffs and the gypsy cuff. I also adore my new butterfly
necklaces and there is an orange moth necklace that I love wearing! Last – I love my vintage earrings. They are simple and classic. Most are not too flashy (since I’m not too flashy). I absolutely love my vintage copper Japanese tassel earrings. They are amazing on, and they really go with anything!
However, I am 200% in love with the French Jet pieces that I have right now. Currently, they are all earrings (one of which I have online, and one that I just created) but I LOVE telling people the story behind them. They are all pieces made in Victorian France in the mid 1800s. So, they are holding a really interesting piece of history. Not only are the pieces over 150 years old, they were actually made and cut by hand. This very different process (compared to what we are used to) gives an incredibly unique and intimate character to each of the pieces. No two will ever be identical- it’s impossible for them to be. Can’t you just imagine the people who made these, see where they worked, and see where they lived?
I have the same experience when selling a few pieces that I have which were made in post-war occupied Japan and Germany. These kinds of pieces are all beautiful, but also have some historical significance. Essentially, the pieces made in post-war occupied countries helped to re-build them! It’s a little mind-blowing when you think of it that way, don’t you think?
It is definitely mind- blowing! And you give us a way to wear these bits of history again, it is amazing. Where can people find LivyLynn to purchase?
Online 24 hours a day at LivyLynn.com – you can find jewelry, where to shop locally, and
Anyone can also find me in Central Ohio at Simply Vague – Polaris, Celebrate Local – Easton, Ohio Art Market – Uptown Westerville, Glean – Short North, What the Rock – Short North, Wholly Craft – Clintonville, and in Bloomington, Indiana at Gather Shoppe.
Do you have a favorite place to sell, and why?
I don’t know if I have a specific favorite place to sell yet. The biggest reason for this is because I haven’t done a lot of shows yet. This will change in the next month or so, and then I might have a favorite. I am really lucky to be in some amazing retail locations, I honestly couldn’t say that I love any of them over another, because they are all wonderful and owned by some amazing folks. I am really thankful to live in a community that values locally made products this much!
LivyLynn also just started offering trunk shows in home! It’s an idea I have tossed around for many months. So, I have decided to give it a try. I am hoping that this is something that might interest people once we get closer to the holidays or just as a fun thing to do in the winter time.
I actually have more information on my blog about it...
Those sound like fun! What advice would you give to aspiring crafters?
MAKE! MAKE! MAKE! Tap into that creative outlet that is inside of you- inside of all of us- and do what you love! Not only will you feel better for it, you will learn along the way and maybe even be inspired to make the next “gotta have it” item!
Find, follow, friend, and like LivyLynn
Written by Sarah Picciuto
Ohio Creative Collective Committee Member