CHOKER NECKLACES HAVE BEEN ON MY LIST of things I've been coveting for a long time, and I was finally able to find the perfect one: the ombre cuff necklace from Baleen. Baleen is the product of the sweetest couple Billy and Leah based out of Seattle, WA-- where a million other amazing things come from. Leah was kind enough to send me the cuff necklace you see here, as well as the daintiest pair of circle studs. Read on to find out about their process!
1. How did you get your start in jewelry design? Has this always been what you've wanted to do?
After working for many years as a graphic designer, Billy was seeking a more hands-on art form and decided to start a men's jewelry line. He had taken some college classes as well as some welding classes but is mainly self-taught and has taught me most of what I know. After doing the men's line for a couple years, while I was also running my own design business, we decided to join forces and start Baleen together. Working with a design partner and creating our own products is something we both always wanted, but neither of us necessarily realized it would be jewelry until Baleen really took off - it's been a really organic process and pleasant surprise :)
2. What are your sources of inspiration?
Artists and designers, of all mediums, from the past and present are always a great source of inspiration....as well as everyday objects and of course nature. We love getting away from our normal context and allowing our creative minds to run free. We do a lot of our design when staying with our family in Hawaii.
3. What is the mission statement for Baleen? Where does the name come from?
Our philosophy is Good Design for Everyone. From the very start, we wanted Baleen to be accessible to everyone....in terms of the design and price. We love simplicity and clean lines, and felt it was unfair that that design aesthetic was rarely affordable. The name is simply a word we both loved, for how it sounds and how it reads. Then after adopting it we realized it did have deeper meaning for us. Baleen refers to a type of whale as well as the filter in their mouth. We spend a lot of time in Hawaii as I mentioned, and feel like we migrate like the Pacific whales. We both love the ocean and love the nautical feel of the name. It is also a mash-up of both our names!
4. Describe a day off.
We love spending time at home, with our 3 cats....reading, making things, soaking in our hot tub, and doing domestic things. I love to sew when I get the chance and Billy is quite a carpenter, making almost all our furniture. We especially love the summer months, and whenever possible we head to the lake or ocean for a swim and picnic.
5. Winter/holiday essentials?
1- Hot tub
2- Wings+Horns hoodies and blankets
3- Bourbon cocktails
4- Candles everywhere
6. What's next for your line?
We just opened our first brick & mortar shop, here in Seattle where we're based, so we're really looking forward to the evolution of that--we love curating the shop with other goods that compliment our jewelry's aesthetic and price point, and creating an environment for our customers to enjoy. We're always designing and will be introducing lots of new pieces to the collection in the new year--so stay posted!