We had the good fortune of connecting with Melinda Ryan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melinda, where are you from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
Hello there! I’m from Long Island, New York; not exactly majestic and inspiring. I’ve lived on the West Coast for over 15 years now though, and can definitely say that nature was not really a fixture of daily life on Long Island. With that lack of connection comes a lot of things. There were other connections that weren’t quite there either, in my formative years (wow saying “formative years” makes me feel like a cute little old lady). A huge fixture of my entire upbringing was living in a home environment lacking in order and beauty, and I can’t help but think all of that would have some influence on my enthusiastic appreciation of beauty, order, nature and all the ways daily life can be more magical. I was indeed always artistic and silly, and this was encouraged by those around me, which I really appreciate. Memory is an elusive thing, but having art supplies set in front of me was always a refuge, and still is, minus the heebie jeebies from feeling under pressure to make something amazing, haha. Given the lack of order around me growing up, minimalism has long been appealing to me. While my jewelry is meant to be beautiful and magical and all that jazz, a big factor that guides my design choices is making sure that my pieces are still, hopefully, refined. I think my designs involve themes that were greatly needed when I was growing up, and things that we all need, really. Meaning, kindred connections, magical nature escapes, warm cups of tea, furry children, inner knowing. To semi-accurately quote a Larry David line in a movie: “You gotta filch as much joy as you can outta this chamber of horrors!”. There’s always going to be hard times and bad days, time where we’re wrestling with some aspect of life, but it’s so important to remember and engage with all the beauty of life, as well!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My professional background has included working in: a law office, Blockbuster Video (hell yeah. I used to write short inspiring quotes on the back of people’s receipts), a grocery store, various offices, a bookmobile, work trade in the cool Buddhist monastery my silly butt lived in for a few years. But in the past 11 years i’ve on and off assisting in small cute home day cares with little kids, part of that time simultaneously creating and growing my business. I love kids, and as an introvert, I also love saying goodbye to them at the end of the day, haha! But yeah, in about 2012 I got tickled at the thought of creating jewelry and selling it so I just started spending $20, $50, $100 or whatever getting fun charms and stuff on Etsy until I started creating all of my own components and designing pieces from scratch!
The method I use is carving designs out of jewelers wax, which is then used to make a mold of the piece, and then the casting process until I’ve got my finished pieces. Alternatively if a design is not quite possible to carve, I use a CAD designer who makes a 3d model of my design, an example would be my very favorite piece, the one I’m most proud of — the Garden Gate Necklace. I’d ike to also share that my small business journey has been one containing a lot of fun and imagination, but also one in which i’ve done a lot of comparing my growth journey to others — which is never fun, and which i’m less occupied with now, thankfully. I think the biggest challenge (maybe?) has been patience. But that patience is something that i’ve slowly (and I do mean slowly, over nearly a decade) started to see pay off. It feels pretty damn rewarding. At this point i’m just riding a balance of letting myself be moved to create pieces as inspiration hits, so long as I can fund it. Always trying to do right by my customers. Packing things as beautifully as I can. Finding random creative ways to connect with my crowd on social media (for instance we did a PG nightgown show and tell the other day. I was just curious how many of them were nightgown wear-ers. Some people get me.) Also, btw, I also love sharing other people’s creations on instagram – hit me up!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Regardless of timing and geography, here is what our day might look like: We’d get some eggs benny at Blu Jam Cafe in Sherman Oaks. Then we’d take a digestive walk down Ventura to my favorite kind of “museum” — antique shops! We would check out the Sherman Oaks Antique Mall and browse the history and see if there were some special treasures meant for us. After, some rest and a picnic at Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Santa Anita. Then we would definitely be going to the Old Town Music Hall to see a silent movie with live musical accompaniment! After that we’d get some yummy boba tea at MILK+T!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mother was always encouraging and supportive of my artistic endeavors, and I definitely feel grateful for that. And on this long journey of Good Looking Objects, my heart has glowed many a time from the support of kind souls that found no trouble in lending a helping hand. There are so many people I feel grateful for, but let me tell you about someone who has had such a tangible effect on my business, with a little backstory: wholesale accounts have never been something I seem to be able to acquire, but a couple of years ago it was suggested to me to follow @allisonfretheimceramics, as well as Allison’s own brick and mortar shop, called Heim (@heimiowacity). Well I did indeed follow her, and one day she posted a questionnaire on insta stories asking “what should I stock in my shop”. I had the nerve to send her a photo of one of my best sellers, the Handful of Magic Necklace. She took a look and was basically like “wait I really like that actually, can you send me wholesale info?”. Suffice it to say, Allison has made many repeat orders from me which has greatly supported my tiny business, and just as impactful as her orders are, her super engaged social media following loves my jewelry as well, so she basically single handedly increased my own audience by probably 1000 followers, which in turn has given me all the more eyes on my work and has resulted in many sales, and much needed encouragement. I will never forget the chance she gave me and the impact she continues to have on Good Looking Objects. It’s a very “you can sit with us” feeling. That’s a good feeling <3
These were all taken by myself, Minty Ryan (@ladybanksphoto)