Visiting Artist: Rachael of By.Ren
Moon + Arrow will be continuing our visiting artists' pop-ups into February by welcoming local artists and jewelry maker Rachael Compton of By.Ren. Rachael is making moves as an artist and businesswoman here in Philadelphia. By.Ren is a jewelry line focused on minimal statement jewelry that nourishes a connection between simplistic designs and an innate desire to be expressive and playful. Rachael is a self-taught jewelry designer from Philadelphia and will be joining us for Fourth Friday weekend.
Come by the shop February 28th to the 1st of March to see Rachael's beautifully simplistic and minimalistic designs in person!
Q: What is the significance behind your jewelry company’s name?
A: Ren is a combination of letters from the names of people who are important to me and who have supported me in pursuing this business from the very beginning.
Q: How did you start making Jewelry?
A: I’ve always really loved jewelry, rings in particular. You could find me at flea markets and artist markets hunched over tables full of jewelry for hours. Every time I’d travel I would spend time trying to find a piece of jewelry I loved to have as a wearable memory of my experiences. A few years ago I was searching online for a new ring when it occurred to me that I had no idea how jewelry was made. I spiraled into a rabbit hole googling metalsmithing and naively thought to myself, “I can do that.” So, I bought a starter soldering kit online and with zero knowledge of basic metalsmithing skills, I began taking a small butane torch to very thin wires of silver until I got the hang of it. I had to google everything from solder to gauge. It felt like learning a new language, but I would feel this surge of excitement every time I successfully created a piece of jewelry that had previously only existed in my mind. There was a lot of trial and error, frustrations and disappointments, but I found that I enjoyed both working with my hands and being able to manipulate pieces of metal into something I loved to wear.
Q: How has your business grown since you started?
A: I started this business rather impulsively and, eventually, out of necessity when I spontaneously quit my full-time job in public relations. I was still learning how to make jewelry and suddenly had to simultaneously learn how to run a business. Reflecting back to that time nearly three years ago, I think the largest indication of growth is through the relationships I’ve built with some of my customers. When I had to make the transition from hobby to full-time, I didn’t have any customers outside of my own personal circles. Now I have built a community around the jewelry that I love in a way that I never imagined or anticipated, and a lot of these customer relationships have become real friendships.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout the process of starting your own jewelry business?
A: Consistency. I think this applies to any business. When you are in control of your own business there is no one telling you what to do and when to do it. Staying focused and consistent is one of the hardest things to do, in my personal experience, but also one of the largest driving factors for growth. Being consistent leads to more creativity and opportunities. It is a daily struggle, but every day that it’s overcome is another step in the right direction.
Q: Congratulations on the launch of your last collection, we noticed all the pieces sold out so quickly, what is next for By.Ren?!
A: Thank you! I’m currently working on some new made-to-order designs that should be up on my website soon. After that I have another collection coming out featuring rutilated quartz stones (so gorgeous!). I’m also currently learning some new metalsmithing techniques, so if all goes according to plan then these new skills will be incorporated into the designs for the next collection.
Q: What is your favorite part about being an artist in Philadelphia?
A: I’m not sure how it is anywhere else, but being an artist in Philly is the best lol. I never considered myself an “artist” before I started making jewelry, but once this business started I discovered a whole community of artists and makers, women in particular, and finally felt like I’d settled into my place here. There is always a strong sense of welcoming and sisterhood where everyone looks out for one another. I like to joke that some of these other artists are like my work wives because I see them every weekend during the market season. This community of entrepreneurs is inspiring to be around and it connects me with wonderful people and businesses like Moon and Arrow!
Join us February 28th to March 1st to meet Rachael and shop all her gorgeous jewelry at Moon + Arrow!