We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbie Henderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debbie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was a little bit organic. I worked in the guitar industry for 15 years and designed a symbol/logo in tribute of that industry as a tattoo for my own enjoyment.
5 years later, an old friend who was a Silversmith, saw my logo and asked me to send it to him so he can make me a gift for helping him buy a guitar.
He made a sterling silver necklace out of my symbol and I wore it everyday with pride.
After 101 people stopped to ask me about it, I decided there was enough interest to follow through and start my guitarclef.com jewelry business.
It was truly an unexpected surprise that my logo created a business!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Originally, I was an employee with a career in the guitar industry. By trade, I was the Accounting Manager. It was a great job and I learned to really love guitars because of it. After I received my necklace and had so much positive feedback to the guitarclef logo, I decided to pursue the interest and make the difficult decision to leave my job and start my own company. I have to admit, I got a lot of opposition from people who thought I should not leave my job! I am very proud that I decided to do what felt right to me, even with no guarantee of success.
It took a lot of investigation and an incredible learning curve to build a website, understand the jewelry market, manufacture new products and promote a new brand. This is especially true in a specific field such as music and musicians.
I pushed through even when I hit roadblocks because I truly believe in the products I designed. They represent an image of an industry that I love, a tribute to it in my mind, and I still wear my necklace to this day, almost 6 years later.
All the products were designed with the same attention to detail as each musician puts into his/her craft.
I am extremely honored when someone chooses to wear the guitarclef, both on and off stage, as their symbol of love too.
That is the greatest reward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
On our first night, we would definitely go to the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood to enjoy great food, a nostalgic music environment and excellent people watching. We would head to one of the music venues on the strip, such as the Whisky or the Viper Room and grab a live show.
The next day we would head to the canals in Venice, which most people don’t even know exists. We would grab lunch on the trendy strip of Abbott Kinney and also catch a little shopping. Back in the San Fernando Valley, we would grab dinner at the lovely Garden Cafe in Van Nuys. An awesome spot with a pretty outdoor eating garden and creative food.
During the day we would visit the Melrose Trading Post, a weekly outdoor shopping swap meet, that has unusual items as well as food and live music. For dinner we would go to my all-time favorite sushi bar, Chiba Sushi. Hands down the best in the Valley.
Warner Center park would offer us Concerts on the Green for a wonderful afternoon through the evening kick back spot with a concert. And there are plenty of rooftop Cinemas showing movies around the city at night too. Hollywood Forever Cemetery started this cool trend of movie viewings.
We would also take advantage of the numerous museums such as MOMA, the Science Center, The Hollywood Wax Museum or the Museum of Neon. For great drinks and an immersive experience, we would finish the visit at the Beetlejuice inspired bar & grill called Beetle House LA. I am a native Southern California girl and there is so much to do here, I would convince my best friend to stay longer than a week!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are two people who really deserve a shoutout for the success of my story. First, Andrew from Zina Sterling Silver, who made the first guitarclef necklace as a gift that started the whole idea of starting a business. He also currently manufactures the entire line in the jewelry suite.
And mostly, Jes Fama, an Entertainment Host, who jumped in to help start the business by sharing all of her contacts and calling in all of her favors to do so. She used her favors to get a photographer and models to donate their time for the first official product photo shoot. She then helped promote my business to all her loyal followers with shoutouts in her podcasts and many of her social media posts. She even referred me to Shoutout LA!
I could not have come so far without her. She exemplifies Women helping Women in every way.