"Lacoste, you are amazing! The way your colors and lighting reflects as the sun streams across the mountains and hits the fields of lavender, orchards of cherries, and rows upon rows of grapes, is something I’ve never seen before. You are unreal!"
Well, folks, it’s been 3 weeks and I am fully settled in here in Lacoste. I have the most cozy and inspiring studio, I’m surrounded by the coolest group of 6 other alumni and we have a quaint house filled with decor that blows my mind. I am living the dream all thanks to my alma mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and Paula Wallace, president/founder of SCAD and visionary behind the Alumni Atelier Program.
If you missed it before, I’ll rewind for a second. I’m here in Lacoste, France as part of a program at SCAD called the Alumni Atelier. What that means is, I was selected to be an ambassador to guests/working artist/mentor to students for 2 months, all while creating a new collection of jewelry inspired by the beautiful scenery of Lacoste/Provence. How did I get so lucky?…that I’m just not sure about! I pinch myself every morning and each time, it’s still real.
That being said, these first few weeks have been nothing short of life changing. I’ve been in business for 3 years and it’s been a 24/7 sprint since I quit all my side gigs and went full time here at Kristen Baird® Jewelry. I haven’t had much time to be fully immersed in design and 100% creative because well…accounting, taxes, business, etc, etc, etc. Being here has given me the opportunity to create, experiment, network, brainstorm, and collaborate. For my creative soul, it’s heaven.
Here are a few of the fun things that have happened so far:
- I have my own Atelier that is open to the public and also serves as a storefront. OMG I have an international storefront!!! #bizgoals
- I’ve introduced my brand to guests from Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, UK, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Greece...and the list goes on.
- I have sold my designs to people from the USA, Germany, France, and Belgium already.
- I led a workshop for both students and French guests. Each person walked away with a piece they created and an excitement about making jewelry. #winning
- I met Bibhu Mohapatra (see photo above), a renowned New York-based fashion designer, and we had a great conversation about jewelry design that ended with him complimenting my bridal line and saying it is unlike anything he’s seen in the industry. He loved the uniqueness and the thoughtful design elements. (Bibhu recently completed a jewelry collection in collaboration with DeBeers, the worldwide diamond conglomerate. Hello!)
- I have had the opportunity to share what I do with students, guests and my favorite, kids! There is nothing better than showing people what I do and letting them see why I am so passionate about jewelry. My hope is that somehow in someway, I inspire a fellow artistic soul to pursue their passion and make their artistic dreams a reality.
- I still am completely non-fluent in French, but I have a few phrases that I am totally nailing...“bonjour”, “je fais des bijoux”, “Merci beaucoup” :)
- My husband is coming to see me in 23 days!!! Yeay!
So that’s what’s been going on. It’s been a whirlwind and I feel so completely blessed to be presented with this opportunity of a lifetime!
Until next time,