We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Rankin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
This has actually been on my mind a lot lately. As someone with major health issues that prevent me from holding a full time job outside the house, I’ve had to work hard to figure out how to be productive despite my illnesses. My children have watched me struggle with chronic pain, yet still be able to run a successful, growing business. They see that I’m not wallowing in my pain, but instead am bringing joy to others through my art/jewelry. They have watched me continue to push on, working hard every day to grow that business. My business wasn’t an overnight success, yet I didn’t ever give up when times were tough. My kids are learning that persistence and hard work pay off.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Lessons I’ve learned along the way: 1) It takes time to build a loyal clientele. Businesses are rarely an overnight success. It’s important to put in the hard work every day, and stick with it. Patience and fortitude pay off in the end. 2) I wish someone had told me this next part when I first started my business…figuring out your niche and who your ideal client is can make the difference between success and failure in a business. 3) Find a mastermind group (or start your own) to be a part of. These groups are where you learn from other businesses, bounce ideas off of one another, and encourage one another. It has been an essential part of my own business over the past 2.5 years. We used to meet in person, but now meet virtually via Zoom calls, due to the pandemic.
My shadowbox necklaces are what truly set me apart from others. They are fairly intricate little landscape scenes, with lots of layers, texture and depth, that take about 18-20 hours each to make. Every part of the pendant is hand cut, textured and soldered. They are what my followers and customers most look forward to, out of all my designs, and every one is unique. I always know when I’ve got a good design idea, because I’ll get really excited about it, and want to drop everything to get started on it. Sustainability is also very important to my business. After all, I want the landscape that inspires my designs to be around for years to come. All of the silver I use to make pendants is made from recycled silver. All of my scrap silver gets sent in to be melted down and made into new silver sheet. There’s no plastic in my gift boxes or packaging. And I use shipping boxes made from 100% recycled material, that are fully compostable. My customers and I care deeply about the environment, so I do everything I can to help it out.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is pretty easy to answer, since I am blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world. First I would take them to grab a muffin (seriously the best muffins in the world!) at The Store Grocery, and head up to Mt Erie (a little mountain in our town) to get a birds eye view of the surrounding Puget sound and mountain vistas, and then fill up our tummies at Nonna Luisa’s for dinner. We would take a day trip to Friday Harbor (just a short ferry ride away) to visit the whale museum, shop the little artsy stores downtown, stop at the Pelindaba Lavender farm, then head over to check out Lime Kiln lighthouse, where we will hopefully see some Orca whales. Next we would take a day trip up to Mt Baker, hike some of the trails, look for Marmots and Pikas, see some waterfalls and alpine lakes, and maybe do some sledding. Then we’d finish the week by going to Washington Park, right here in our town. We could hang out at the beach and watch the ferries coming and going, walk or drive the Loop Road to see more of the Puget sound, and stop at the cool Bristlecone Pine tree to get some beautiful scenic vista photos. Then we’d head back into town to grab a bite to eat at Dad’s Diner for lunch, do some shopping downtown, and finish the day with a stop at Cap Sante lookout to watch the sun set on the mountains and sea. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my parents and my husband. My parents taught me that working hard is rewarding, and encouraged me to follow my dreams. They have been there to celebrate every success I’ve had along the way, and have lifted me up when times have been tough. My husband has supported me in every way with my business. He encouraged me to start selling jewelry almost 20 years ago. He has been my cheerleader along the entire journey. He puts up with me answering customer emails at all times of the day, listens to loud hammering and sawing in my studio every day, drives me long distances to get supplies, installs extra lighting for me to see better at my work tables, etc, etc, etc. Heck, he even dressed up as an elf for a holiday market I sold at, and handed out candy to the kids to distract them while the parents shopped my table. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is!