We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Dotson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandra, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
At first, I only wanted to sell a few pieces to finance my hobby. You know, pay for materials etc. There was no intention to grow Entangled Co into a full, self-sustained business. Then two things happened:
1. The pandemic hit and my maternity leave got turned into a stay-at-home mom position. So suddenly a little extra income became much more important. And my mental health aka sense of purpose required some care which my business was able to provide. At the same time I had to care for a little baby so I needed to be flexible. What better way to do that than work in your own home, on your own dime, setting your own hours.
2. People wanted to buy what I made. There was a demand and it felt good. Things have been growing ever since. My craftsmanship has been improving, my style is developing and people love my work.
So here I am slowly but surely growing into a business that can sustain itself (that was important from the start) and actually bring in that little bit of extra money that helps so much in sustaining our little family.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make wire woven jewelry exclusively from copper wire. I believe what sets me apart is the fact that 95% of my pieces incorporate complex weaving techniques. This makes my pieces incredibly intricate with a high level of detail and focus on craftsmanship rather than gemstones. This is why I often don’t include any precious stones or just small accents. This is also part of the reason I decided to use copper wire and not any precious metal: I want my clients to love the intricacy and craftsmanship, not the value of the materials. Also, I find the reddish color of copper incredibly beautiful. In some of my work, I incorporate upcycled items, specifically old nail polish. My signature items are pendants and earrings made from glass stones that I hand paint with upcycled nail polish and then wrap in copper wire. I am very proud of my ability to make these intricate pieces even though I am still learning. I am developing my own style and it’s a journey that is accompanied by many tutorials from other amazing artisans. Without the community, I couldn’t be where I am now. Getting here was a big mix of trial and error, YouTube videos, books, and many conversations on Instagram and Facebook. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that you can overcome any challenge if you just try hard enough. Or maybe better said: often enough – repetition and perseverance.
My journey has just barely begun and I am super excited to see where it takes me and my business.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since we have a little toddler (18 months) we don’t really go out. Our backyard and some good wine and food for take out is most likely the most exciting we will do. Maybe some board games in our living room, accompanied by wine of course (or beer if you want). Since the visit is a whole week long, I’d say a trip to one of the wonderful beaches around or maybe a little hike might be a distinct possibility – as much as that is doable with the little one.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Phew, there is many! I couldn’t have done this without the support of so many people:
My husband who takes care of the baby so I can make new things;
my family who encourages me at every turn;
my friends who bought from me to support my business;
Instagram and a huge community of other artisans that support each other even though they don’t even know each other;
to that regard: Wendi Remi from @door44studios who has been tirelessly trying to make wire weaving a more accessible craft and has been wonderful to bounce ideas and questions off;
also not to forget Sarah Thompson from @sarahndippityjewelry who is an incredible artist and author of two books that I consider to be the basis of my craftsmanship;
to my friend Maddie from @maedmackdesign who does all my graphics design
to my friend Hannah who helps me write my item descriptions and really anything that needs to be written;
to Rachel from @rachel_hoyt_artist for being my friend, ranting with me, and keeping me honest;
to Carol from Bella Farfalla who brought me into her brick and mortar store and successfully sells my items;
to Andrew from The Crafters Library for trusting me to teach his clients how to make wire woven jewelry;
I could just keep going!
(@ mentions are Instagram accounts)