Artisan Spotlight - Ellen Mote
Ellen Mote is a jewelry designer who is new to the Waco area. The uniqueness of her designs is what caught my eye, and the fact that she hand-makes every single piece brings a personal touch to her jewelry that I love most of all. To me, that is the passion I recognize in a lot of our artisans. They love their craft so much, that they pour their heart and soul into every last piece. I hope you love Ellen’s story as much as I do!
Tell us the history of your business and how you became a jewelry designer.
My husband and I moved to Waco during the fall of 2015. Before, I had worked for several small businesses, but I didn’t know where exactly I would find niche here. When we were living in Oregon, I worked as a jewelry designer, so all of my friends just assumed that when we moved I would start my own line. People would ask where they could buy my jewelry or where my website was before I had even made anything. I would just be thinking “What are you talking about? I don’t even have a site.” I was almost in denial about starting my own business when one day my mom sat me down and said, “Ellen, you’re the only one holding yourself back. We are all behind you and we are all supporting you.” And that day, I sat down and started designing what eventually became EM jewelry design. It’s weird that I had sketch books and I would brainstorm things, but I never thought it would ever happen. In the Spring of 2016, Magnolia reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in working with them and possibly doing some exclusive pieces for the Market — and the rest is history.
What are the advantages of customers buying your handmade goods over, say, items that are mass produced?
I make everything in my home, one at a time. It’s all made by hand. When I’m designing the pieces, I’m thinking about the customer. The movement of the pieces and how it will interact with them in their daily life. There’s a more personal touch that goes into every single piece and it’s not just made to make a sale or to fill a need for someone to buy something. Every time I make something I’m thinking, “Oh my word, who’s going to get to wear this? Is someone going to buy this for their mom, or sister, or best friend? Is a husband going to get to surprise his wife with this?” Even going around town and seeing someone wearing one of my pieces who may not even know me—I get so much joy out of that.
Who was the biggest influencer for you in your career?
Definitely my mom. She started her own business and has been working ever since I was born. She is such a powerhouse. She has taught me to never waste time and to take full advantage of every minute. She is so gracious and makes everything special.
We love that you strive to create pieces that are timeless. How do you incorporate that in your products?
I don’t believe in fast fashion. When I’m designing something, I never want it to be so trendy that people can’t wear it in three months. I want to know that if a customer chooses to invest in my pieces, they know they can wear it long term. I really focus on using high quality materials so that if you take care of it, it will last.
What advice would you give to other artisans hoping to start their own business?
A lot of times you are the only person holding yourself back. That was certainly the case for me. Never stop reading or learning about what you want to do, because there’s always room to grow.