Women in Beer | Hopped Up on Jewelry
Photo Courtesy of Hopped Up Jewelry
One day while perusing social media, I came across a post by Deschutes Brewery promoting beer-themed jewelry for women. It’s the first time I had ever come across anything beer related that was exclusively made for women (how many ‘unisex’ beer shirts are in your drawer)? I immediately went to the website for Hopped Up on Jewelry and made my first purchase, a pair of steel hop earrings with my birthstone.
A few months later Kimberly Markley, the creative genius behind the unique business, happened to be passing through Austin and reached out to me about delivering a necklace that I purchased in person. After an engaging meeting at a local coffee shop, I knew that her story needed to be told.
PD: Tell us a little bit more about your journey and how you started making jewelry. As an artist, what inspired the use of hops as your muse?
KM: After moving west to Oregon, I was working full-time as a bartender, trying to make my way in a town known for its “poverty with a view”. The craft beer scene intoxicated me with all of its colors and flavors and experimental brews. It was a whole new world for a Midwest gal, where the domestic breweries had dominated the lion’s share of the beer market. When I realized that, like really good food, great beer starts with fresh ingredients and a heart full o’ love, I was hooked. There was so much to learn and appreciate!
On a trip to the coast Redwoods in the fall of 2012, I picked up a pocketful of pebbles as I wandered the beach and, after returning home, decided to turn them into earrings instead of just tossing them into a jar to gather dust. After investing a few dollars in a bit of wire and a couple pairs of shaping pliers, I spent some time at the library studying jewelry design books, commandeered the coffee table for my jeweler’s bench and started experimenting. My mind was quieted by working with my hands and it felt good to have a creative outlet. It was around this time that I lost one earring of a favorite pair – large, dangling leaves that were light and easy on my ears. A few days later at work, while pouring a pint, I was admiring the various hop designs on the tap handles and realized I could replace my favorite earrings with something hop related! So you might say that Hopped Up Jewelry began with a pocket full of pebbles and one sad, lone earring.
But this is the part of the story that gets interesting to me, personally. Because that could have been the end, before it even began. If it wasn’t for my friends and co-workers telling me that I had to do something with the idea and that I really should make more, I might have gone on creating a few pieces of jewelry here and there, while continuing to focus my energy on my work at the bar indefinitely. But I have some pretty insistent kickass friends who don’t allow that sort of thing. They push me, they inspire me, they give great feedback, and they love even my ugly first design attempts. I don’t ever want to let them down!
I love the combo of yoga and beer, what else inspires you?
Real people who live mindfully, while deliberately choosing a lifestyle that allows them to foster their curiosity, and to seek out truth and adventure are where I find deep inspiration. When I witness someone who has given up a traditional path to follow their nose and live out day by day the thing they really care about, I can’t help but be moved. More than anything, I want my life and my work to exist holistically – for instance, I’m convinced that the human race is the biggest threat facing the health of our home planet today, but we’re also great agents of change. We could be as much a part of the cure as we’ve been part of the disease. So keeping that in mind, from the design & creation process, to the final shipping & delivery, I’m doing my best to keep Hopped Up Jewelry as earth-friendly as possible. My studio is solar-powered and mobile, tucked inside of my tiny home on wheels: Starry Eyed Stella. I can sweep my floors in the time it takes to brush my teeth, which frees up time for important stuff… like making more hop earrings!
Living in a house on wheels has made it possible for me to finally give up my day job and work full-time at Hopped Up Jewelry. Which in turn allows me to travel, my other great source of inspiration. Leaving my hometown wakes up my brain and forces it out of its comfortable, worn paths. It forces me to problem solve and find clever solutions to dealing with stress. I meet people outside of the Bend bubble that challenge my thinking and remind me how similar we all are. Basically, traveling is a tried and true method to foster growth and change, which are the foundations to creating new things. Now if only one of those new things could be a solar powered engine, so I didn’t have to worry about burning fossil fuels, I’d be one happy camper!
Aside from online shopping (the only way to find your jewelry in Texas), where else can your jewelry be found?
The very first location to carry my earrings just happens to be one of my favorite places to spend an hour or two poking around – a funky consignment store here in Bend called Rescue Collective. In Oregon, you can find Hopped Up Jewelry at all three Deschutes locations, in addition to special editions and collaborations at Worthy Brewing and Double Mountain Brewery. You can also find my hop flower jewelry at a bottle shop in Santa Cruz, CA – Beer Thirty; and That Place on Main, an independent boutique in Tipp City, Ohio.
What’s next for Hopped Up on Jewelry and how do we get your jewelry for sale in Texas?!
The growth of Hopped Up Jewelry has happened organically over time. As word has spread and demand has increased, I’ve had to research new methods and refine my techniques to allow for faster production. However, I remain committed to keeping the growth in a range that never forces me to leave behind the handcrafted goodness and personal customer service that has been a part of my work from the very beginning. My background is in art, not business, so it’s been a challenge for me to figure out how to price my jewelry in a way that it is attractive to both individuals & wholesalers. It’s just in the last couple of months that I’ve started to feel like I can handle supplying bigger accounts outside of Oregon, so if there’s a place in Texas that wants to bling out their swag selection, I’d love to be their gal!
If you are a brewery interested in carrying the jewelry in your taproom, contact Kimberly directly here.