Our latest blog features Karisa Perrone, the creative mind behind Velvet and Slate. Unique to most she has been dabbling in her field of jewelry design since she was ten and has been pursing her passion ever since. Her drive and hustle have resulted in two successful careers that allow her to express her creativity. Reading through Karisa’s answers I wouldn’t be surprised if you, like me, find yourself smiling, relating, and wishing that you were once invited to her jewelry making birthday parties.
What has been the biggest hurdle you have overcome since starting Velvet and Slate?
I think the biggest hurdle that I’ve had to overcome so far has been trying to find the right balance between my responsibilities outside of Velvet and Slate. I am a freelance wedding gown designer and it keeps me super busy and I have clients that rely on me. I used to tend to put all of my eggs in one basket at a time, meaning one of my business would be neglected. I’ve learned that if I take easier strides with each, both can flourish at the same time. By working this way, I’ve also noticed that I have a more constant flow of ideas to inspire both of my businesses.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Because of my freelance job, I am constantly looking at fashion, fabrics and vintage goods. I would say my personal style is modern bohemian and comes through in what I do. I love natural materials, like feathers, gemstones and leather, but I like to combine them with a modern style and lots of metals to make them feel fresh and new. When thinking about each piece I make, it always begins with the materials. I can happily spend hours looking for new feathers and stones. When I have all of my materials, I literally lay them out on the table and begin to play around and mix them to see where I land.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to any woman who has a dream and acts on it. At times, running a business can be a really scary thing! It’s really easy to doubt yourself, so when I see a woman who has not let fear take control of her, I admire her. Then when you throw life into it (kids, pets, domestic life, self-care) and you find a woman that makes it all work for her, I think thats kick ass.
Which piece from your collection is your favorite? What’s your favorite way to wear your pieces?
Currently, my favorite piece is a layered wrap necklace with a black Brazilian Druzy Stone and metal spikes. Because my pieces are already layered, they are super easy to wear. I love to throw them over chunky sweaters in the winter and low cut jumpers in the summer!
What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Don’t get frustrated when the plan changes. Get ready to adapt and prepare to overcome. And take a chill pill! It’s only fashion, you’re not saving lives.
How long have you been making jewelry?
I’ve been making jewelry for a very long time. When I was about 10 years old, I would host jewelry parties (like tupperware parties back in the day) at my little sister's teacher's houses. The hustle started early! When I was in high school, I enrolled in weekend jewelry making classes at F.I.T. While the hustle is still there, I can proudly say the look and taste level has changed.
What is it that draws you to working with feathers and stones?
My favorite thing about working with feathers and stones is that no two pieces are ever alike. Feathers are such a unique material. I find the patterns to be so interesting and when you look at some of them closely, the colors can be really magnificent. I love the rawness in the stones that I use. While some of them are not natural colors, the natural texture in them is really beautiful.
What is one of your proudest moments thus far?
Having a really great market day always makes me proud as does having a dress on the cover of a magazine. But I’m proudest when my design peers admire what I’m doing.
What’s the next goal you hope to meet?
I have two big goals for the near future. The first is to have a functioning website to make it easier for my customers to shop. I’m not too ready to fully share the second, but I see it as the culmination of everything I have currently done with my career, rolled up into one super exciting package! When the time is right, I will happily share.
Where can people find your product?
Currently, you can find my product on Instagram, Etsy and local markets. I’m working on getting it out there in a bigger way, so stay tuned!
What are other hobbies you have?
I love to travel, so when given the opportunity, I do! I also am a proud dog mom, so when I have some free time I try and get her out and about. I also love to cook! So with winter soon upon us, you’ll find my boyfriend and I in the kitchen trying new things.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who’s interested in handmade goods and jewelry like you are?
Make sure your product stands out from the crowd. There are a lot of talented people doing this and they have really great product. Its very easy to get lost in it.
How has Babes in Business helped you?
Babes in Business has really inspired me to try and be the best version of myself, both personally and professionally. I’ve meet incredible woman that share in similar ups and downs as I have. Its nice to know that someone else gets what you’re going through. The sense of community that Babes has fostered is rather outstanding!
One thing that I took from this interview is that the things that have made you happy your entire life and your passions can be your career. Don't be afraid of tackling a new adventure. Throughout these interviews with the inspiring women involved in Babes in Business an overlying theme has been learning to live without fear ruling your life. Is there something that you have always wanted to do but pushed to the side? Try to pick it back up, start it small as a project, a side hustle and let it grow. You'll be surprised with how far you can take yourself.
If you're interested in learning more about Karisa and her product follow the link to her website http://www.velvetandslate.com/
or follow her on Instagram @velvetandslate.