This month I had the opportunity to visit Tonic Jewelry and chat with the owner and designer Honor Cienska. Tonic Jewelry is situated in Market Square where you can see Honor at work crafting her own jewelry as well as shop amongst the other local artisans featured in the store. Here is my interview with Honor.
1. What inspired you to start making jewelry and how long have you been doing it ?
I’ve always enjoyed making and gifting . The jewelry making probably started when I was about 5 years old. I loved making necklaces out of rolled paper beads. I remember being taken a back by the colours and patterns that could be made with the paper.
2. How long did it take you to launch your own business?
I started selling my work at local markets in Victoria in 1994. The Government Street market was one of my regular gigs. In 2004 I started a line of jewelry called Shi Studio. With Shi I took things up a notch and through collaboration with my business partner and we built up a great team of local designers. Shi is still in Victoria but I switched tracks to focus more on my silversmithing which culminated in my shop Tonic Jewelry.
3. If you could do it over again what advice would you give to someone just trying to break into the industry?
I’m not sure that I’d do anything differently if I could do it over again. Markets were the perfect place to start. I suggest getting out there. You’ll learn all about effective displays, packaging, pricing, marketing and what people are looking for. Be unique. Be authentic. Don’t just follow the latest trend. You can have the latest aesthetic and styles present in your work but a reflection of you needs to be there as well so that it’s unique and stands the test of time.
4. Who is your style icon?
James Gordaneer, Reverend Allen Tysick, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Tom Waits. I admire people who are on a mission and their style is being themselves and contributing. I’d wear the same thing everyday as long as what I wore felt “like me” and I could do what needs to be done in that get up. I don’t think we should spend an inordinate amount of time trying to have a certain look or follow a style or trend. I don’t think it’s healthy.