the blog of jewelry designer

November 17, 2015

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby! (We're engaged)

Meet me at The Modern
Tommy invited me weeks in advance to a photography exhibit at The Modern in Fort Worth for 4pm on a Friday afternoon.  When I tried to reschedule with him to meet with one of my best friends visiting from Canada, he said you can't change our plans (Tommy is typically more flexible in changing plans.  I knew something was up). 
My favorite view of The Modern Museum.

The Ruse

While I did suspect he was going to ask me to marry him on this night, I had absolutely no idea of how and when he would do it. A museum guide approached us to say she was getting her certification to be a docent, and needed more practice in the process, offering a free tour. I said, "of course!" --not even thinking of any connection to Tommy's proposal. (it was all a ruse!)


The museum docent-in-training gave us a short tour, of which I asked a lot of questions (and Tommy later told me he was anxious for me to quit asking questions). Then she led us around the corner outside the museum to "show us Richard Serra's tall sculpture, Vortex." I turned the corner to see an adorable blown-up photo of the two of us, and I still didn't realize what was happening!

AH! At this point I realized what was up....very quickly Tommy was on one knee and asking, "Elizabeth Showers, I love you very much. Will you marry me?"

"YES!" I said!

At this point, I still had no idea that there was a photographer capturing all of this.

I love Tommy. He is such a good man and the perfect partner for me. We are perfect partners for each other.

Tommy found this ring on Etsy to use as a placeholder ring until the Love Monkey Ring that we designed together was complete.  I love this ring--it's an infinite row of ampersands, to symbolize all the things we will do and create together... and and and and and and....

 The rain was exceptionally beautiful on that day.

He had champagne glasses made to commemorate this wonderful day.

Engraved on the bottom of each glass is one of our favorite songs from the Dave Matthews Band:
"You and me together, we could do anything, Baby!"

I look forward to soon sharing with you my engagement ring that Tommy and I designed together.

Remember how beautiful you are,

October 12, 2015

Catch Me While You Can

I've got big news for all my customers and friends. I'm preparing for a new incarnation by stepping back from business as usual as of January 2016. I am hitting the reset button on my designs and inventory, slowing down to create the space to reinvent.

I am not yet sure the meaning of "reinvent" for myself... this could be in the world of jewelry or not. I took an aptitude test recently that said I would make a great engineer, surgeon, architect, and alas, a designer!

I am happy and gratified with the work I have done as a jewelry designer and entrepreneur over the past 20 years. Since I have been in this field, the landscape has become more crowded and in some ways less diverse. At the risk of sounding too self-congratulatory, I'm proud to say that most of the jewelry styles I've designed (and have in my inventory) still strike me as beautiful, versatile, and amazing.

However, I am ready to move to a new phase in my career. We are dramatically discounting almost everything in my inventory. 

Now and throughout this fall season, we are rolling out and putting ON SALE 400-500 unique jewelry styles many of which we only have one or two left, which means if you really want something, buy it now.  These jewels will be at our lowest prices ever. 

Celebrate with me by shopping this once in a lifetime sale event, and let me remind you of how beautiful and precious you already are!

It’s an End of an Era at Elizabeth Showers.

Catch me while you can!

June 22, 2015

Vintage is Back

Before my blog post, I have some REALLY FUN NEWS! Though it has been years since we at Elizabeth Showers Studio have sold our Vintage Collection, that’s all changing this Thursday, when we will begin offering a few styles from our classic collection online for a limited time.

During our (incredibly successful) moving sale event last month, my staff was thrilled to uncover a treasure trove of our beaded Vintage Collection!  What a surprise!  Customers ask for these designs all the time, so we were so excited to find them. We hope you’ll be excited about them too.
Be sure to pop in to on Thursday to check out the Vintage Collection!

It’s been great looking back through this collection that meant so much to my career and development. Holding these pieces in my hands really got me thinking about the history of my business, its humble beginnings and its not-so-humble aspirations.

The necklace I have on below (at age 26) is the first necklace I ever made, all the way back in 1997.

Okay, this is actually the first unique necklace I ever made. 
I made my first piece of jewelry in 1996—an anklet made of super-cheap round, smooth amethyst beads. It was nothing special, but it was enough to get me hooked.

That first unique necklace was made of 24kt gold leaf Venetian glass beads, which I popularized in the late 1990s. At their peak, I couldn’t design enough styles using Venetian glass gold leaf and silver leaf beads.  Although very simply constructed, they were so popular and distinctive. If only online shopping had been mainstream then!

I started my business at age twenty-four, driven by a mostly-unexplored talent, blind optimism, and a passion for designing and selling jewelry. Like everyone starting out, I was a portrait of youthful naiveté and cluelessness about how to build a successful business. Though I didn’t have anything approximating a sales strategy, nor anything so straightforward as a written business plan, I possessed an incredible surplus of focus, time, and determination.

My first mission was to make my mark with unusual materials that others weren’t using. When I discovered Venetian glass beads, I understood right away that I had found my breakthrough. Specifically 24kt gold leaf Venetian beads in clear (my favorite) and in colors stuck out like magic in the jewelry scene of those days. They were so distinctive and fresh. I knew I was at the beginning of a fun adventure.

I started selling wholesale at Carol Quist showroom in The Apparel Mart, and southern US retailers started writing orders for my jewels right and left. I was a real designer!

Tootsie’s in Dallas was the first retailer to sell in my hometown. Susie Calmes, the buyer there at that time, is a friend of my mother. She called me and said, “When do I get to see your collection?”
I said, “I need more time to prepare for you. Maybe we could meet in a couple of months.”
She said, “Okay, I will see you this Tuesday.”

It was totally nerve-wracking. It would be an understatement to say that Susie has good taste and high standards.

Tootsies in Dallas

Naturally I was terrified of her reaction to my work. But I’m still so grateful to Susie. I’ll never be able to thank her enough for pushing me to be ready before I was. I showed up with my jewels in Ziploc bags with no price tags, and she bought almost everything I took with me that day.  What a life-changing and affirming experience! It really was an occasion to remember.  Thank you, Susie!
All that was just the beginning of the uncertain road that eventually led to my selling at Neiman Marcus, and onward down the path to a lasting business. 

Some of those early pieces I still love as much as the day I made them. In some others I can see the beauty and the good instincts, but they don’t represent me in quite the same way. But all of them are a part of me, part of the work that has led to this moment in my trajectory.

This is me modeling my jewelry!
I’ll talk more about the progression and development of my business in a future post.

In the meantime, please remember to stop by on or after this Thursday to take a look at the pieces that started it all for me.  You just might find the perfect thing you didn’t even know you were looking for!

Feel Beautiful!

May 27, 2015

Sweet Memories of My Jewelry Career in Dallas

Dallas has been home for my entire adult life. I went to college in Dallas, at SMU. And not too long after, I started my business here at the age of twenty-four. It began in my humble $450/month, all-bills-paid apartment in Preston Hollow. Those apartments don’t even exist anymore, but I can still remember moving my sofa out to make room for my first employee. We worked together in the living room for a year before I finally leased my first office space in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff.
That was 1999, at the dawn of the Bishop Arts' revitalization. That same year, Neiman Marcus picked up my collection. I thought life couldn't get any better.

My first office is now a restaurant, Café Veracruz

Earrings from the collection I was selling at that time,
 now we call it our Vintage Collection

In 2002, I leased a warehouse-style space on Monitor Street, north of the Design District, and hired my first sales person. Then I hired another. And another.

That office is now a gallery (pictured below). And they still have the security bars that I had installed!

We were in that space for five years before relocating in 2007 to our current showroom overlooking Turtle Creek. That’s when I launched my first 18k yellow gold collection, followed a few years later by my first semi-precious silver collection.

Turtle Creek in Dallas

Our showroom overlooking Turtle Creek

I live in Fort Worth now.  I bought my first house in Dallas in 2007, and had great fun making it my own style and giving dinner parties there.  I sold my house in Dallas and moved west in October of 2013, see my blog post here.  

These past couple of years, I've kept my business and showroom on Turtle Creek, and I’ve been commuting, sometimes spending the night in Dallas to make the transition a little easier.

Now, after a lot of thought, I've decided to relocate my business at last. We are moving in two weeks!

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining where we are.”

- Oprah

I can hardly believe it. I’m sad to be leaving Dallas, but I’m excited about finally jumping in with both feet, and truly living and working in Fort Worth.

Many of you know that I grew up in the small town of Hillsboro. After that upbringing, in many ways Fort Worth seems like a perfect fit. It has a calm, small town feel—as much, anyway, as any city with nearly 800,000 people could. The city is absolutely filled with incredible things to see and do. I’ve fallen in love with its energy and spirit. And I get the best of all worlds—the small town feel and the big city adventure. I’m excited, and, you know, life is good.

Elizabeth Showers' earrings from past to present

Looking back at every phase of my life and business, I can also trace the trajectory of my evolving style, tastes, and skills. A focus on vintage, then stones, learning about metals, gold, silver. Learning about myself and what I could do, where my own creativity could take me. Every new place and experience has informed and deepened my work in a way that now seems like a critical part of my artistic development.

I know this new phase and locale will have the same effect. Every time I take a leap, I’m rewarded. I hope you’ll continue to follow me as I make this one.

Stay tuned for details on another major leap in my life! (hint: Molly from A Piece of Toast leaked it here!)

“Every day is a journey, and the journey
itself is home.”

- Matsuo Basho

Feel Beautiful,

March 11, 2015

Finding Beauty Beneath Ugly Self-Talk

From age thirteen to twenty, an eating disorder controlled my life and informed nearly every decision I made. After seven years in the throes of what some call 'The Beast,' I know what it is to be shackled by feelings of darkness and self-hatred. I empathize with people currently struggling to free themselves of those destructive feelings. Too many people are alienated from the truth about their own beauty.
The self-hate dialogue I fed myself for so many years went like this:
“You overate again. You’re disgusting. You dont know how to control yourself. You have no willpower. You are a failure.”
“Your body is gross. You will never be enough. No one will ever love you with the way you look.”
Without looking back at my old journals—which I still have—these are the thoughts I recall most vividly. There were many, many others. I know there were even worse things I said to myself from which I am (thankfully) so far removed that I cant remember.
Even today, I’m not completely free of body-centered negativity. One of the residual symptoms of an eating disorder is that I still struggle daily with pernicious thoughts like:
“My body could be so much better looking.”
“I’d look so much nicer if I lost five more pounds.”
“This shirt doesn’t fit the way I want because there’s something weird about my body.”
A younger version of myself thought the best plan was to simply ignore negative thoughts or to try to shut them out. But I found that when I did, they persisted and made me feel bad even when I thought I knew better than to give negativity power over me.
Over time, I learned the solution was to counter destructive self-talk with messages of positivity and self-love. Therefore, whenever my self-generated ugliness began, it triggered me to reply with thoughts such as:
“My body is beautiful exactly as it is this very moment.”
“I cherish, love, and adore my body. ”
I am so grateful for my healthy, wonderful body.
“Look at all the amazing things my body does for me!”
This new way of dealing with harmful thoughts became my self-made path away from days charged with masochistic, ineffective thinking. I'd finally discovered how to free myself from some of the most poisonous unkindness in the world: the unkindness that comes from within.
Of course, it didn't happen overnight. "Fake it 'till you make it," became my motto. After years of ACTING as if I believed the positive affirmations I was taught during: 12-step programs, treatment, therapy, positive mentors, uplifting books, and body image/nutrition counseling, I'd made it.
"We are flawed creatures, all of us. Some of us think that means we should fix our flaws. But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left." 
-Sarah Vowell, Take the Cannoli
Why is negativity so much easier to believe? At first, it's hard inviting positive words in... especially when affirmations can initially sound slightly hokey and silly. But, you know what? Everything changes when you let your guard down. I was amazed to find when I believed something beautiful about myself, I began to heal.
I remember feeling so FREE and RELIEVED when it finally clicked. I had the power to change my thinking! I realized: those made-up thoughts? They were just that. Made-up.
It was essential to start feeding myself regularly, giving my mind the healthy fuel necessary to reflect on the impact such negativity has on the body and soul. Without a healthy relationship with food, my mind would have remained locked in a vicious cycle of negating self-talk.
Once I started really being in my life knowing that to be human is to be imperfect - that flaws are part of the deal - I loosened up. I started to love and trust myself; which empowered me to LET GO of voices telling me otherwise. The hardest but most important lesson I learned is that within imperfection IS perfection. It is simply perfect to be imperfect.
My profound wish for you? Believe the tried yet true cliché: "beauty comes from within."
"I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period.
Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness."
- Drew Barrymore
Embracing your uniqueness applies to attaining true physical beauty as well. What makes us unique, may also be things many don't like about themselves: a crooked nose, a gap between two front teeth, curly or straight hair, or a loud laugh. These "things" make us individuals. However, self-regard for our distinct lovability is tarnished when ugly thoughts control our minds. We're all too uniquely beautiful to let negativity win.
Try it and see how you feel. Let your negative self-talk serve as a cue to tell yourself something you love about you. I’m willing to bet it will make something beautiful happen in your life.
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
- Confucius
We have the option to see the beauty in ourselves.  Empower yourself to see your own beauty and how precious and singular you are.
Feel Beautiful,

January 20, 2015

From Me, To You

I’ve been delaying my reboot of this blog for a couple of reasons. First, because of some internal, self-generated pressure that before I proceed it has to be perfect. And besides, everyone has a blog these days, so who’s going to read it anyway, right? 
E.B. White says:  “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”  Thank you E.B., I needed to hear that.
Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings’ Blog

I recently finished reading “Share Your Work,” a short book by Austin Kleon recommended by my beloved cousin Drew. Thanks to Austin’s words of encouragement, regardless of what the future might bring, I feel it’s imperative that I write this, and begin to “share my work,” even if it’s imperfect.
Get 'Share Your Work' Here

From the outside, my work appears to be as a jewelry designer, and yes, jewelry is a result of my "work." But my truest, most important work -- and my purpose in this life -- is to simply remind you of how beautiful you already are. You are precious, regardless of your outward appearance or any piece of clothing and jewelry you could ever put on your body. 
wearing my jewelry to serve as a reminder of my preciousness in this world
I need a daily personal reminder of this, especially on days when I didn't get a solid night's sleep. Fatigue inevitably turns up the volume on that awful internal critic of mine, and alas, the temptation to dump coffee/caffeine over my wearied self tends to work in the inverse.
Thank the goodness in this world that I have fantastic solutions for getting out of a less than optimal mental space since simply going back to sleep isn't always an option.
Here are a few ways I drown out the critic: going for a run, reaching out to an uplifting friend, offering help to someone, listening to an educational podcast and escape into learning (like James Altucher's Podcast here and Tim Ferriss' podcast here), sharing my work through posts like this (ah, yes, last night was one of those less-than-six-hours-of-sleep nights), creating a way to enter into the “zone” on a project at work,
a sneak peak of a custom jewelry project we're working on
sitting in meditation (Sharon Salzberg is a great guide), eating healthy foods ("Eating on the Wild Side" was recommended to me by my friend, Krista), yoga, consciously smiling and relaxing the muscles in my face (a natural facelift!), wearing my jewelry to serve as a reminder of my preciousness in this world, consciously recognizing negative thoughts and turning them around to be positive...
yoga clears my mind for a fresh perspective and
Exhale is one of my favorites in Dallas
These are just a few solutions that help me disengage with the critic and remember my preciousness, to feel beautiful.
Plus, they remind me to focus on seeking progress, not perfection.
graphic compliments of Patti Murphy Designs
My company’s mantra this year is TO ADD VALUE to the lives of anyone I can reach. I personally want to see, read, experience, and learn things that add value to my own life, and it has become even more important to me to ensure I am doing the same for you.
Email me with your favorite quotes, stories, books, podcasts, or any other inspiration that reinforces your confidence.  I would also love to hear from you if you are simply feeling stuck or challenged.  I am committed to fostering a community that lifts each other up!
Feel beautiful,