June 16th, 2020
Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Mullins.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Heather. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am originally from Colorado, I grew up in the foothills outside of Denver and from a very young age I grew an appreciation for the mountains. I also grew up renovating family condos and houses with my family. I lived here until college and then I moved to Bozeman, Montana to study art at Montana State University. After graduating and living there for a few years I decided to try out the big city and moved to Chicago for graduate school at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I got my Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture there and also worked in the student wood and metal shop as a manager and teacher for a few years. My experience in Chicago was very influential in my life but in my heart, I knew I needed to be near the mountains again so I found a way to move back to Colorado. When I moved back, I started focusing more on my own business, Relevant ReUse, that I had started in Chicago as a side job. Relevant ReUse began as an art, design and furniture company where I built custom furniture, accessories, children’s play features, jewelry and environments out of reused and recycled materials. Making jewelry has always been a part of Relevant ReUse as I would have small scraps of interesting raw material that turned out to be perfect for earrings and necklaces. These materials included wood, fire hose, bike tubes and my favorite, skis. Now my ski jewelry is my main focus and has proven to be quite successful as its own business called Après Ski Jewelry. I stay very busy running my business, spending time with my husband and my two dogs and enjoying the mountains of Colorado on my skis, bike and going on lots of adventures.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wouldn’t say smooth but it has been exciting. Figuring out how to manufacture my product, be a sales person and run all the online aspects and finances of my business has been a challenge. I’ve learned a lot the past few years and continue to learn every day but I now know my strengths and weaknesses and am aware of the ways I can grow to become more successful. However, a new set of challenges has come about with Covid-19 and I hope I can make it through that okay. Selling my product through wholesale and consignment in many retail stores is my biggest growth avenue for Après Ski Jewelry. In the current state of things, tourism is only just starting up again in most Colorado mountain towns and retail stores are slowly starting to open. This affects my business greatly and I also hope that all of the wonderful boutiques and stores I sell in can make it through this! We are all one big community.
Please tell us about your business.
Après Ski Jewelry designs and manufactures jewelry and accessories made from skis. We strategically cut the skis to create one-of-a-kind, very colorful designs for jewelry and accessories, including coasters and custom furniture. We offer wholesale, consignment and online sales throughout the United States and world, especially in Colorado ski towns. We are doing something different and unique with skis that sets us apart from other artisans and jewelers. We are proud of our values and being able to maintain those as we grow as a business. Our values include:
Promote Environmental Awareness & Sustainability:
-Save objects from going into the waste stream while giving them a second (or third) functional life.
-Inspire others to look more closely at used materials and what they could become before throwing them away.
-ReUse can be considered a radical act by some, but here at Après Ski Jewelry, we see it as the wave of the future.
Support Our Community:
-A small portion of all sales goes towards Protect Our Winters.org
-We support local Colorado organizations by way of donations and involvement for fundraisers and events.
Promote Female Leadership:
-We strive to be a female run business and support the push for gender equality in the realm of business, education and outdoor adventures.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Each step along the way has been a new experience and a learning curve so there are many things I could have done differently but I’m not sure I would end up in the same place. But, the one thing that comes to mind is hiring someone to help with production. I could have done that a long time ago. And, as far as social media, I always need to be posting more and get in the groove of that, which I have yet to do!
- Powderhound Ski Earring – $28
- Freerider Ski Necklace – $32
- Camber Ski Coasters – $42
- Website: www.ApresSkiJewelry.com
- Phone: 720-383-3970
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apresskijewelry/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apresskijewelry/