This week we are featuring Gretchen McAllister of
Splendor and Stone
Gretchen is a warm and wonderful human who makes beautiful earrings at her home in Tacoma, WA. I met Gretchen at the first market I ever participated in. It wasn’t a super busy one so we had a chance to talk a bit and get to know one another. She is absolutely lovely and I’m so happy to have met her.
We recently met up for coffee in Tacoma and it felt like catching up with an old friend. We had so much fun chatting about making and what it’s like being a maker here in the PNW.
Continuing reading to learn more about Gretchen and her jewelry making journey.
To shop Gretchen’s gorgeous pieces, visit her Etsy store here.
How did you get into your craft or hobby?
I've been making jewelry since I was 8 years old. I’ve always done it a little bit. When my daughter was 9 months old we thought about moving out of Ballard, it took a little convincing but I got my husband to move to Tacoma. We fell in love with our rental house and our neighborhood, but I had no friends and didn't have a job. I’m an outgoing person and found it hard to meet people organically. I had a lot of time on my hands and jewelry was something that appealed to me. Instagram was just sort of taking off so I started an account and had my friends follow me. I didn’t really know what I was doing but Tacoma is an amazing space for makers. Everyone I met was super supportive. The first year I was in business I had very gradual growth and I was working as a nanny for another family. I got to a point where I was making the same amount of money with my jewelry as I was being a nanny. So I quit my job in 2017 and started doing the jewelry full time. I focused on doing a market a month and I’ve just grown from there.
Who has been your biggest mentor or role model?
I've met so many awesome ladies through the Tacoma night market. Every maker I meet is inspiring in some way because they're following their passion. Everyone shares their tips, and helps each other.
There have also been a lot of shop owners that have helped me like Jen Luna of Paper Luxe. She put in a lot of work to grow her business, she has been awesome and has stood behind my designs. She really knows her shit. Leah Morgan who started the night market is amazing and I love what she does.
What has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome?
Myself, self doubt, letting myself feel free to create and design, to put myself out there and not be scared about what people think.
Tell us something on your bucket list.
Traveling more out of the country. I haven't really been out of the country and that is a big goal with my business is to save up to travel more.
What advice do you have for other female makers?
Be true to yourself. Something inside of you is driving you to create so follow that and don't doubt yourself.
Put yourself out there and you'll find an audience, not everyone will love your stuff but you will find your people and they will be so supportive.