A little over 30 years ago, I discovered the artist hidden within me while I was "Howl-ing At The Moon" one night.
It started with tweaking old antique jewelry into something new and unique. Soon thereafter, I was awarded the opportunity to apprentice under one of the best silversmiths in the world, a Cherokee tribal chief and his brother who are still on the reservation today in New Mexico. The times I spent with them on the reservation over a year awarded me to opportunity to absorb generations of passed down secrets in metallurgy, sculpture, and perhaps the most valuable secret of all...releasing the flow of my heart, soul, and spirit into every piece I create.
My little sole proprietorship “Howl At The Moon Gifts” has been around for decades. My customers have found me in the strangest of places throughout the globe whether it a design show competition, negotiating raw material buys in remote secluded lands, craft shows, civic events, and even ten plus years vending on tour with the Grateful Dead. I have even had a couple designs show up on large department store chain shelves but never again. I prefer the one-on-one of creating something totally unique each time so the buyer knows that they got something unlike any other.
I am the entire Howl At The Moon Gifts staff. I am the designer, handcrafter/jewelry maker, and assembly line all rolled into one. I am the entire marketing department developing themes, doing all the photography, creating listings, booking events, designing booths, designing flyers, etc. I am the entire shipping department doing all of the packaging and shipping myself and even waiting in line at the post office. And most importantly, I am the entire customer service department handling all conversations with customers personally, one-on-one, whether it is in a craft show, civic event, or online through Etsy. That is my favorite task especially when I can talk about anything with a customer while they actually watch me make their piece right before their eyes. I pride myself in always being able to recall each and every item I have even made and each and every customer to whom I have sold.
I have been doing this for a little over thirty years. During that time I did try a couple times to make this my primary career but failed. I could never quite get my priorities straight between purchasing more raw materials and paying my rent. lol Sounds like a starving artist huh? That is just between us. The last twenty years handcrafting jewelry has just been a part time hobby and I didn't think about letting the internet do most of my marketing for me until I found Etsy. I do feel very much at home here with all these other great artisans. Yes I did try eBay a long time ago but I never considered myself a retailer and there I felt like one and I didn't like it. My career right now is as systems analyst for a world class manufacturer. Howl At The Moon is how I fill my free time.
All my pendants, charms, bracelets and rings are fabricated by me through either wax casting, die striking, stamping, and electroforming. I do occasionally purchase a small percentage of pre-existing casts but usually I am not totally satisfied and make minor modifications to meet my specifications. I have also occasionally found a very special casting created by a fellow artisan that I just had to do something special and unique with but always acknowledge the credit where due. I purchase all beads, findings, chain stock, leather, and packaging. I have only mass produced an item or two for a large department store chain but refuse to do that ever again. When I create a new piece, I usually only build in lots of six unless I get a lot of early demand and sometimes will double that number.
Periodically you may see various Grateful Dead themed items pop up in my displays spawned from Howl At The Moon Gifts early days as a licensed vendor for The Dead through subsidiary of Grateful Graphics. Those memories of those ten plus years vending at various tour shows really built the foundation for Howl At The Moon Gifts and the kind of craftsman and vendor that I am today. Forever Grateful….Forever Dead!
I have a special relationship with every customer I have ever had. I have told people that I handcrafted this for them and as they enjoy that piece for years and years. Each customer of Howl At The Moon Gifts is part of a life long relationship. Should someone stop by a booth and begin reminiscing with me about when they met me ten years ago and purchased a ring, necklace, etc. they will discover I have those same memories of the day I made it and they do of the day they bought it. We will renew those memories again. And if something broke, not quite the right size anymore, or he/she wants to change look or feel, they can sit down with me and I will do them up again...as we share what we have been up to since then. After all, at one time or another, we have all found ourselves together "Howl-ing At The Moon."
Thank you so much for getting acquainted.
Peace and Love,
Howl At The Moon Gifts