Elisabeth K Designs is on its way to the top! Betsy, the founder and designer, has an eye for creating beautiful jewelry that can take you from day to night. Her pieces are refreshing, unique and timeless. We sat down with the up-and-coming designer to learn more about her work! Take and look and meet Betsy!
Betsy Klopman Sanders is a designer from Birmingham, Alabama. She has been making jewelry as a hobby since a young age. In high school, Betsy started creating her own earrings out of bead and wire; she wanted unique pieces that no one else would be wearing. Through an interdisciplinary degree from the University of Alabama, she combined entrepreneurial studies, design, and studio art classes to prepare her for starting her own jewelry business. Following her undergrad degree, Betsy earned her diploma as a Graduate Jeweler and in Jewelry Design & Technology from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. GIA's JDT program teaches jewelry design and product development using CAD/CAM technology. The GJ program teaches bench jewelers techniques for making jewelry. Skills covered include stone setting, jewelry repair, fabrication, pre-finishing, polishing and buffing.
With the knowledge of craft, fabrication and the fast-moving design and manufacturing technology, Betsy is excited to bring unique and exciting ideas and designs to the world of jewelry.
How and when did you know you wanted to design jewelry?
For a long time, jewelry was just a hobby for me. I loved simply creating, and jewelry was a great outlet for that. In high school, I would make earrings out of wire from Michael’s and beads I would get on trips with my family or from the local bead store, Bead It! (I couldn’t go there without singing the Michael Jackson song in my head). At some point in college, while trying to figure out my major, I realized I could turn my passion and my hobby into a career. It was like a light went off and that’s the direction I’ve been going ever since.
How did you come up with the name, Elisabeth K Designs?
I used my first name and last initial of my maiden name. Honestly, I couldn't think of something clever or cute! And I knew I wanted something timeless.
What was the process to get where you are now?
I am still in the process of getting where I want to be. It’s ongoing and ever-changing! I got where I am today by being blindly passionate about jewelry and always wanting to learn more. I had a business on Etsy.com selling beaded jewelry and simple stackable rings. But there was so much more I wanted to make! Specifically, I wanted to learn how to set gemstones. I looked into some courses and saw that the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, CA offered a Graduate Jeweler six-month course. A few months later, I was headed to California. GIA’s campus was magical to me! All of these people under one roof with the same passion about jewelry as me. And a museum of jewels and gemstones to die for! Towards the end of the Graduate Jeweler class, I knew I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. So I stayed for the Jewelry Design and Technology, another six-month course, which taught Computer-Aided-Design and manufacturing. Since then I have mostly been using CAD to design my pieces.
What inspires your designs?
Lately for my cuff line, I’ve been inspired by geometric shapes and Moroccan tiles. It changes all the time. Sometimes I’ll be all about animals. Sometimes it’s leaves and nature. It just depends on what catches my eye and sticks with me. When I design jewelry using people’s stones and heirloom jewelry, I’m inspired by the gemstones as well as their own personal style.
What is your favorite piece from your collections?
The elephant cuff – hand dyed acrylic. I dye them myself and am never really sure what color they will turn out. It’s always a fun surprise! People are always surprised to hear they are plastic, they’re very strong and flexible.
What piece of jewelry do you never leave home without?
I never leave home without my engagement ring, wedding band, and at least three thin stackable rings that I made on my right hand. Sometimes I stack on five or six! I don’t actually wear a lot of jewelry. Everyone asks if I designed or made my engagement ring. The answer is no because I wanted it to be something my husband picked out on his own. I’ve got nine other fingers I can wear a ring I designed on but I wanted my engagement ring to be something special from him!
What is the most challenging part of your business?
Honestly, the whole business part is a challenge for me! I would much rather just create all day long. But I don’t want to just make art for art’s sake. I want to make something people will love and feel good wearing. I love studying trends and taking my own spin on things. But the whole selling, accounting, and just business stuff in general is a little challenging for me.
The best part?
The best part is after I’ve finalized a new design and receive the finished product. For my cuff line, I design them using a Computer-Aided-Design program. It’s one thing to see it onscreen even though it’s rendered to look like the real piece, and another thing to hold the finished product in your hand. Another favorite part is seeing people when they get their custom piece. It’s a fun process creating something with someone and then they can say they took part in designing their own jewelry.
What is the "vibe" from your designs? (Simple, statement, fun, etc.)
The vibe for my cuffs is statement, but not overwhelming. They are bold but can be worn every day!