Big news! In support of the Shop Small® movement, we’re excited to announce that the next round of our Meet the Maker series will be presented by American Express. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring eight incredible businesses right here on Brit + Co. First up? Jen Murse of SF-based plastique*. She makes laser cut acrylic and enamel jewelry… and we are BIG fans. We’ve been hooked since we first laid on this hashtag necklace. #obsessed!
And guess what? Jen will be joining us at Re:Make on September 13th. Read on as Jen fills us in on her making process, her sources of inspiration, and more!
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a graphic designer obsessed with colors, geometry, miniature toys, artisanal coffee and the San-X character Rilakkuma. I grew up in San Francisco and after living in Los Angeles for over 13 years, I finally made my way back to the Bay Area. I’m kind of a workaholic and I’m definitely OCD (as I find a lot of designers to be). I love grid systems and organization.
Why did you decide to start plastique*?
I had been working as an interactive graphic designer for a number of years and I was tired of all my work living in a virtual space. I wanted to create tangible objects so I started laser cutting jewelry as a hobby. plastique* as a brand, happened as a result of my hobby going viral via various websites and blogs.
In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.
Making just makes sense.
What does the making process look like for you?
Sometimes I sit down and formally sketch. Sometimes I doodle an idea with my finger on my phone. Sometimes I just go straight to the computer and open Illustrator. It all depends. I go back and forth a lot between pen and paper and the computer. Once my designs are close to finished, I laser cut samples in various colors and sizes. Then, I cut more, add all the jewelry parts needed and the pieces come to life!
We LOVE your laser cut designs! Where do you get your inspiration?
I love geometry and math. I actually wanted to major in math at one point but realized I would never have a fun job as a result of that! My love of numbers and shapes stuck with me and comes through in my design work. I love clean lines and minimal design. I also love color. Bold color. I get a lot of inspiration from just walking around. There’s a lot to see if you wander the streets, whether it’s in your own neighborhood or across the world.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Keep at it. It’s not always easy or glamorous, but it’s always worth it.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
I like to dabble in baking because I have a sweet tooth.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
Technology is changing constantly and it’s exciting to see how it continues to help shape what I am able to do. It’s all about adapting and growing as technology changes. Most of my jewelry is laser cut, so without the technology of laser cutting machines I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. And now with social media, I have been able to get my jewelry in front of many more faces than I ever could have in the past.
What’s up next for you?
Hi, I'm Brit, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co. I'm a young mom of two, tech nerd and design-inclined lady who has a zillion hobbies and curious about... just about everything! My mission from the beginning has been to unlock women's creativity and courage to try new things so that they can find the path to their true passions.
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.