Surface Handmade is a jewelry collection full of bold shapes and soft colors. Jacqueline Davis is the Richmond-based designer and her unique work inspires us daily!
Have you always been passionate about design?
Growing up my grandfather was always creating interesting things with his hands. He worked with all types of mediums making everything from stained glass to leather goods. It was fascinating to watch him transform ordinary materials into something beautiful. His light-hearted attitude towards design really stuck with me and pushed me to design and create on my own.
Why did you start working in this particular craft?
I began working with clay in my last year of school studying fashion at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013. What started as a side project quickly grew into something more once I began working with local stores and selling my products online.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
My designs are definitely bold but they are also whimsical and lighthearted.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
The business has grown relatively slow, so I haven’t felt as though I have experienced what I would consider a major failure. However, I have definitely made mistakes and had some setbacks. I have realized the value of having supportive relationships and working with like-minded people. It is really difficult to do everything a business requires on your own. For things I do collaborate with other people on, it is important that we see eye to eye.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I don’t have any regrets and I don’t feel as though I have sacrificed anything. This is exactly where I want to be and what I want to be doing right now. When you are passionate about your craft, the things you give up to pursue your goals don’t seem as important.
What has been your proudest moment since creating your business?
Two years ago, Richmond locals, Need Supply Co., picked up a line that I had designed specifically for the store. I have always admired and have so much respect for their company. Need was the first major store to carry my work and establish my presence online. I will always be grateful for that and they will always have a special place in my heart.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Richmond is a really great city with a lot of history and amazing people. The community is very supportive of local shops and makers. I am very inspired by the accomplishments of other makers and shop owners.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Having a background in Fashion Merchandising has been really helpful. VCU has a great art school and it helped prepare me for all types of situations I have encountered with my business.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
When I started Surface Handmade I was finishing my last year of school and working part time in a local shop. I managed to balance working and owning my own business for about a year before I felt it necessary to go out on my own.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I discovered the work of Memphis design group while I was in school. The group worked as an Italian design and architecture group out of Milan during the 1980’s. Their bold design, pattern, and use of color is very attractive and inspired some of my own designs. The clay itself and all its capabilities is also a great source of inspiration. There really are endless ways to manipulate clay.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
The best advice I have is hard work pays off!