Meet Grace Simmons, owner of Mabel Grace Crafts—an online shop for handmade, high-quality jewelry and crafts. Being a crafter since childhood, Grace finally turned her long-term dream into a reality with the launch of her shop last year. In this creative space, her goal is to satisfy customers with rare yet trendy pieces while supporting our local economy. Get to know more about what motivates Grace below!
What drew you to becoming an entrepreneur?
I come from a family of small business owners and it is so important to support small and local. As an entrepreneur myself, I can keep spreading that message in a different light as opposed to being just a consumer.
Why did you decide to start this business?
I have wanted to have a jewelry and craft business for nearly my whole life. I always thought I would have to wait until I retired, but I honestly got tired of waiting. I officially launched Mabel Grace Crafts in February of 2020.
What specifically drew you to the Jewelry & Art industry?
I’ve always really been drawn to earrings, and once I grew out of an allergy to metal I was ecstatic to wear them! I’ve collected earrings from every place I’ve visited, they’re like my own fashionable postcard. All my jewelry pieces have a fun story behind them.
On a daily basis, I tend to wear solid colors, but I let my flashy earrings fancy it up! I‘m not a loud dresser…except for my jewelry. It’s a simple way to be me.
What advice would you give to those thinking of starting their own business?
Make sure you have your own website and branding so you can try to develop brand recognition to really stick in someone’s memory. Being active on social media is really important so people can get to know you and trust you. Attending markets is also great, but they are few and far between right now.
I will also note that networking/befriending other creators is really important because they understand you in a way that others may not. It’s nice to touch base with people in your industry because you feel seen by one another, and there’s no need to explain yourself to them.
Why do you feel it is important to be known as a local business?
Local businesses are the backbone of the economy. 66 cents of every dollar spent in your community at a locally owned establishment stays in that community. I simply want to help the people around me. I have a lot of local pride, and I think others should too!
What is the biggest challenge in your industry?
First and foremost, society typically views art as non-essential and frivolous. I want to be taken seriously as an artist.
Visibility when starting out is another hurdle; one that I still encounter often. Networking is huge. You have to get in front of the “right person,” but you have to hold on until you get there, and that’s the hardest part. You have to keep going no matter what. You just can’t give up, you have to be in it for the long haul, which includes learning from your mistakes.
What do you love most about your industry?
It’s peaceful for me. Creating can be stressful, but if I sit down at my table to make something, I may not even notice that I missed lunchtime. I get very engrossed in what I’m creating, which can be a great mental release.
What plans do you have in the near future?
I’m currently working on a dog-themed collection to be released soon! In the meantime, you can shop for my products in person at Mercantile 37 in Noblesville. The store features a ton of local goods, plus buying there will save you the shipping costs!
Do you have a favorite collection you’ve created thus far?
I’m really proud of my “Happy Things” collection, it consists mostly of cats and bees, plus I made a few raccoons. Everything was all hand cut!
Animals make me happy and I surround myself with them. At home, I have 2 cats, 2 dogs, a pig, a duck, and 8 chickens. Each of them inspires my designs in their own way.
What is one fun fact about yourself or your business that people may not know about?
Mabel is my dog’s name, but it’s okay if you accidentally call me that 🙂
Anything else we should know?
Polymer clay is incredibly lightweight so if you find regular earrings uncomfortable this is a great alternative!
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