When I owned my women’s wear boutique, one of our best selling lines was Chikahisa Studio, a jewelry collection by designer Ann Chikahisa.
Ann was a weekly presence in our store, the reason being she had to continuously drop off supplies of jewelry as her designs sold out immediately. Our customers simply loved Ann’s organic, bold, creative and beautiful jewelry. The feedback was that it was exceptionally well made, timeless in design and can be worn with anything to anywhere. I thought Ann would be perfect to interview for this “Work” series.
A creative, an entrepreneur who has built her own business from scratch – I wanted to know more.
Tell us a little about your background, did you start off designing jewelry at the beginning of your career?
I began my career as a sales executive in various different industries over the years but my love has always been in fashion and design. I became disenchanted with the corporate world so I took a jewelry metal smithing class for a creative outlet. One class lead to another and my hobby became an obsession! Next thing I knew I started designing a collection and started the business!
Your designs are very organic and timeless, where do you look for inspiration and how do you keep the ideas coming?
I find inspiration from the outdoors- especially when I’m out walking. It can come from the shape of a stone or a texture from some wood. I never know where I’ll find it and thats what makes it so fun- the discovery is a big part of my process. I take lots photos with my phone of things that intrigue me. It’s a visual diary that I go back to when I’m designing.
Can you briefly tell us about your design process – choosing materials, design development, creating the piece ?
I like working in wax and most of the work is cast. I enjoy the carving or forming the wax. There are so many ways to play and shape the wax. I love spending time playing with it to see what evolves. After I have shapes I like, it’s cast in silver. Next is designing with these pieces to create the jewelry. After that I create variations by using different metals like bronze or 18k gold and pick different finishes for texture.
What is the most important advice you would give someone wanting to be a designer and running their own business ?
I would tell them to believe in themselves and to go for it! You’ll never know everything and it’ll never be the perfect time to do it. Owning a business is a journey and that’s what makes it so great. Enjoy the twists and turns because you will grow so much from it.
You have started a men’s line. The pieces are beautiful, If people are looking for ideas for Fathers’s day this weekend,
what are your personal favorites from this collection.
Thank you Ann. I love talking to creatives like Ann, so true what she says about enjoying the twists and turns – we all grow from them.
To see more of Chikahisa Studio go to www.chikahisastudio.com