Today we’d like to introduce you to Hallie Bolonkin.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Hallie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a kid, my favorite toys were of the artsy type; parlor beads, shrinky dinks, polymer clay, basically anything that would allow me to be hands on and unleash my childlike creativity. From doodling all over my notes in school and photographing my friends on the weekend, the urge to create continued to grow as I became older.
My grandma, a self-taught artist, always encouraged me to explore different avenues of art, and she helped put me through school in the fine arts department at The University of Arizona. There I tried my hand at graphic design and followed my career path in advertising as a graphic designer.
It wasn’t until 2016 when I took my first jewelry class at Mesa Arts Center. The first class I took, I instantly fell in love (cheesy, but true). It was the perfect creative outlet that wasn’t tied to my career and allowed me to use my hands. I slowly invested in tools and materials to practice and work from home in my spare time. I’ve learned a lot on my own, but continue taking classes to learn new techniques and grow as a jeweler.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Having a background in advertising has really helped me understand the many processes that go into creating a business. There’s a lot more to just sitting down and making something with your hands. You must also understand the marketing side of things; establishing a brand, brand voice, and getting the word out to build your client base.
Running a one-man shop can feel extremely overwhelming, but also empowering at the same time. I’ve always admired a strong independent woman who set their own goals and makes their dreams happen through hard work and dedication. I keep those who’ve inspired me in mind when setting my own goals and taking on challenges that might seem out of reach.
I’m still in the early stages of my journey, but it has been an enriching experience, thus far. Full of late nights, sore fingers, problem-solving, inspirational quests, and personal growth.
There have been plenty of times when I’ve failed to create a piece perfectly, and let’s be real, most pieces aren’t “perfect” and that’s okay. There have been times where I work hours on something and have to scrap it and start all over. That can be terribly frustrating and disconcerting, but as long as you can learn from your mistakes and move on, you will continue to grow into a stronger, smarter individual.
For those of you who are also starting your journey towards entrepreneurship, just remember failure is your friend, as long as you can turn that into a learning experience.
Alright – so let’s talk about your work. Tell us about HALBO Designs – what should we know?
I am a jewelry designer and metalsmith specializing in down-to-earth, quirky and approachable jewelry. Each piece is handcrafted with intentions to help people find elements that fit their own unique style or give them opportunities to share heartfelt gifts with loved ones.
Creativity sets me apart from others and is the core of my process. Anyone can learn technical skills, but I believe the ideas behind each piece acts as the heart and soul. Pairing a creative idea with the skill set I’ve learned has allowed me to create quality work with unique one-of-a-kind designs.
Finding zen through the creative process is what makes art so special to me. Inspiration can strike at any moment, so I like to keep a sketchbook with me at all times. When I’m ready to start a project, I reference my sketches but also let the piece evolve as I work through it. The evolution of a piece is essential to establishing its charisma.
I am extremely proud of the skills I’ve acquired through practice. Each design varies on mood and inspiration; from funky and bold to more subtle and elegant. This range of work allows me to spark interest in a variety of personalities.
Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
When it comes to finding a mentor to help guide your journey, making the right personal connections can be priceless, and the more people you know, the more resources you will have available to you. The internet also has a great source of knowledge and finding a community through Instagram, Facebook or YouTube can be an extremely useful tool.
I have made connections from many different avenues in my life that have helped guide my journey as a metalsmith. Taking jewelry classes at Mesa Art Center has allowed me to connect with knowledgeable teachers and students who are willing to answer questions in and out of class. Working in advertising has connected me with an inspiring business owner and marketing specialists who offer guidance with growth and goals. I follow a great group of people on Instagram that’s all about sharing tips and tricks to technical abilities which have made my work more efficient and precise.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out for help. More people are willing to offer support than you might think!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @halbo_designs