Hello! Welcome to our second edition of "Meet the Maker."
This week, we are featuring the lovely Lena Kim of niceLena. NiceLena is one of our favorite collections of jewelry - super cute, creative, affordable, and made right here in Evanston. If Lena looks familiar to you, that's because you've probably seen her working at our shop! We're so lucky to have Lena and her pretty pieces of jewelry at Stumble & Relish.
We asked Lena a few questions so our favorite customers can get to know her a little bit better. Enjoy!
Where are you from, and where do you live now?
LK: I was born in South Korea. I came to the U.S. at the age of 10 after living apart from my mom for 9 years. I live in South Evanston now.
How did you get started in your trade?
LK: I dabbled in jewelry making in high school and even made stuff to sell during a road trip I took when I kinda went Awol from the Army... but that's not for now. I mainly painted until I opened up a gallery and boutique in 2002 called Monkey Business. It was on Chicago Avenue in Ukrainian Village [in Chicago]. I started making and selling niceLena there, and started participating in the early DIY movement.
What would you say is the hardest part of your trade?
LK: The creative part is easy and fun. The hard part is doing everything else.
Where do you gather inspiration?
LK: I gather inspiration from everywhere and everything. The source is infinite. Once you exercise that part of your brain, the more you find things that inspire you.
What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
LK: Being able to work from home and not being tied to something else that belongs to someone else. I like making my own schedule and I feel extremely lucky to have been here for my kids every day since they were born. They're not so little anymore so I'm ready to reach outward again. Also, my favorite part is imagining my pieces being part of other people's lives. I have seen them go on fabulous trips, everyday outings, and being given as gifts. I feel so much joy from that.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
LK: I don't really have anyone in mind. I like the random people I meet every day.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
LK: I like watching Korean Mukbang videos on Youtube. That's embarrassing to admit. I like wine with my friends and spontaneous dance parties. I love watching movies and cult documentaries. I like cooking and eating with friends. I like daydreaming every chance I get. I like to zone out and make up stuff in my head.
What is your favorite advice?
LK: If you're tired, take a nap. If you're thirsty, drink something. If you're hungry, eat something. I think it's from a movie. It cracked me up but it's also very wise.
Come by our shop to see Lena's line, get something custom made, or find a few of her already made pieces on our site! See ya soon!
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Use #stumblestyle to show us your favorite earrings by niceLena!