Philadelphia wedding vendor spotlight series: jewelry designers Forge & Finish in their studio
Desiree, Carly, and Emily have a pretty impressive bond. They’ve been friends for a culmination of 15 years and they have some sequential themes going on- they are 31,32,33, have birthdays in October, November, and December as well as sequential signs- libra, scorpio, sagittarius.
These jewelry designers and metalsmiths started Forge and Finish 4 years ago with zero capital and really created something from the bottom up. They work together in the Viking Mills building just blocks from my photo studio. I photographed them in their inspiring, creative space and then sat down with them to talk about how they got started, what it’s like to operate a small business, and what they offer engaged couples.
Check out the photos below and scroll to the bottom for more of their story!
I love hearing from fellow creative people about the lives they’ve created and their daily routines. I’m fascinated with people who create a life off of the beaten trail. It’s what I’ve done and it’s what so many of my creative friends in Philly have also done.
Desiree, Emily, and Carly gathered skills to create jewelry and run their business from years of working for other jewelry companies, in furniture manufacturing and for a leather smith, to mention a few.
Carly told me how her experience with leather smithing taught her time management, how to be resourceful with materials and how to fake it till you make it.
Desiree talked about working at a large scale manufacturing company and how she learned about mass production, working in an assembly, working on a team, how to train new people and get them up to speed. Learning the flow of a manufacturing company on a large scale really prepared her to start her own business.
Emily first got into jewelry design as a teenager through her dad’s girlfriend. She then went to Tyler School of Art for sculpture and painting, all the while working as a sales associate for a jewelry company. She was then able to create a line of jewelry for that company. She talked about how working for that company provided her with experience as a maker and a buyer, doing purchasing, working at trade shows- all valuable skills for starting her own business.
A typical day at the studio looks something like this:
The day starts anywhere from 8am to 11am. Running the Forge and Finish operation involves giving projects to their daily interns, prioritizing what orders need to be filled and pieces need to be created. Tasks like packaging, cleaning, inventory, photo shoots, website maintenance, marketing and social media presence and some eating and singing and podcast listening fills their day. The day wraps up around 7, but depending on work load that can vary greatly as I well know as a small business owner!
To wrap up I asked the girls about their favorite things in Philly –
Desiree: The food scene is on fuckin point. Our bar food is awesome- there are farm to table options and just really good food.
Emily: There’s a bit of an unruly nature to Philly. It’s rough but you can build your own thing here and there are so many other supportive creative people.
Carly – There are so many artist collaborations here and it feels so small. I love Philly!
This summer in Philly you can find Forge and Finish jewelry at the 2nd street festival on August 7th and hosting an earring workshop this Saturday at Moon and Arrow in Queen Village on July 8th.
And the following boutiques in Philly carry their awesome pieces:
Moon and Arrow in Queen Village
Ritual Ritual in Norther Liberties
Downers in Fishtown
Tselaine in Rittenhouse
Commission this awesome team of girls to create your wedding rings, bridesmaids gifts, or groomsmen gifts! See all that they offer on their website. http://www.forgeandfinish.com/