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Hand-stamped humor and salty threads made with care in Arkansas...

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Filtering by Tag: arkansas artisan

Arkansas Jewelry Designer Bang-Up Betty Featured on THV11

Stacey Bowers

Since 2013, Bang Up Betty has been serving up unique and fun handmade jewelry from Arkansas!

THV11 contacted me recently to chat about how I got started making jewelry, what inspires my handmade jewelry, what my bestsellers for holiday gifts are, and, of course, Betty the cat.

This interview with Ashley King airs Friday, December 14, 2018, during the 8 p.m. premiere of their new show, The Vine. It’ll be an Arkansas Christmas special focusing on what’s wonderful and local, and I’m so honored they chose to showcase my handmade jewelry.

I’m proud to be an Arkansas-based jeweler supporting local nonprofits and making folks laugh and smile with my jewelry!

Arkansas jewelry maker Bang-Up Betty at work stamping custom jewelry at Moxy Modern Mercantile. Bang-Up Betty handmade jewelry is designed and made locally in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Arkansas jewelry maker Bang-Up Betty at work stamping custom jewelry at Moxy Modern Mercantile. Bang-Up Betty handmade jewelry is designed and made locally in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

What a Jewelry Designer Wears to Her Wedding

Stacey Bowers

Your wedding jewelry should be as magical to you as your wedding day. Especially when you’re a jewelry designer.

Your wedding jewelry should be as magical to you as your wedding day. Especially when you’re a jewelry designer.

Full disclosure: I bought my wedding dress on a Dillard’s pink tag sale rack for less than $100. And I made my jewelry. That’s about as handmade as my wedding got, though. I don’t know how my discount dress ties into that, I’m just really proud of that deal I got.

My jewelry was literally the last thing that was ready for the wedding. I made my necklace that same morning. Like, four hours before the ceremony. Not because I wasn’t worried about it, but because I wanted it to be so perfect.

I wanted to wear something of my Grandmother’s, and I chose a little amethyst, gold and diamond charm of hers that I love so much. It was on a very worn, lackluster box chain, and that just wouldn’t do, so I built a new chain for it out of Czech glass beads, creating two graduated layers to frame the charm perfectly. I love this charm so much because it looks like a tiny stained-glass window and is so rich and warm in color that I can’t help but smile when I wear it.

I built an elegant and vibrant Czech glass chain in graduated layers to frame this beautiful little amethyst, diamond and gold charm that belonged to my Grandmother. I was sure that I wanted to wear something of hers on my wedding day.

I built an elegant and vibrant Czech glass chain in graduated layers to frame this beautiful little amethyst, diamond and gold charm that belonged to my Grandmother. I was sure that I wanted to wear something of hers on my wedding day.

For my “something borrowed,” my sweet sister was kind enough to lend me the handmade brass bangle she wore at her wedding. My “something old” was my Grandma’s diamond ring. For my “something blue,” I had my deep blue sapphire engagement ring that makes my heart sing whenever I see it. I think the little black diamonds studding the middle band are the best touch and really make the teenage goth girl inside me happy, er, sad.

My earrings I actually made as part of a collection of jewelry I released right after the wedding. I called it the “Stay Gold” Collection, and it was inspired by The Golden Girls. They usually pair with a pineapple necklace and include the same chain as my wedding necklace. This pair I’ll keep forever, but you can snag your own if you like them.

My  wedding earrings  were intended to be part of my  Stay Gold Collection  inspired by the Golden Girls. They featured a brass spiral circling Czech glass bead chain and matte gold chain in a long, elegant chandelier shape.

My wedding earrings were intended to be part of my Stay Gold Collection inspired by the Golden Girls. They featured a brass spiral circling Czech glass bead chain and matte gold chain in a long, elegant chandelier shape.

For my bouquet and each of my two bridesmaids’ bouquets, I created a brass charm stamped with C + S to attach to the ribbon. Anyone who knows me knows I wasn’t going to get through one day without stamped brass.

How about this amazing bouquet of tropicals by Hannah Allen?! Is it not a dream come true? It’s certainly mine.

I personalized my bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets with brass charms stamped with our initials.

I personalized my bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets with brass charms stamped with our initials.

Little Rock floral designer  Hannah Allen  created this luscious bouquet of tropical plants and local flowers. It’s so dreamy!

Little Rock floral designer Hannah Allen created this luscious bouquet of tropical plants and local flowers. It’s so dreamy!

Our wedding was a tad unconventional. We had yeti cake toppers, an inflatable dancing man on the dance floor, and I threw the bouquet to all the single men, much to the relief of all of my single gal pals. It was the most fun night of my life.

Back to jewelry. I wanted each of my honorary bridesmaids (and bridesman) to have something special from me, so I created each of them a unique necklace of their birthstone using real, natural gemstones, some in their raw and unpolished forms. I dropped each of the stones into resin to create a cluster of stones so that each one was unusual and couldn’t be repeated.

For each of my bridesmaids, my honorary bridesmaids and my honorary bridesman, I made a  unique necklace of their birthstones , using real stones set in resin in an unusual cluster setting. I personalized them with their initials.

For each of my bridesmaids, my honorary bridesmaids and my honorary bridesman, I made a unique necklace of their birthstones, using real stones set in resin in an unusual cluster setting. I personalized them with their initials.

I loved making these cluster birthstone necklaces so much and getting to know all of the stones involved. I spent a lot of time researching and learning about gemstones, from their structures to their origins to their symbolism and historical use. I had to collect them all, and I made more necklaces so you can claim one, too! Find your birthstone necklace here.

See the entire  Birthstone Cluster Necklace Collection  and find your birthstone. Let me know which one you like the best!

See the entire Birthstone Cluster Necklace Collection and find your birthstone. Let me know which one you like the best!

Shoutouts to:

Katie Childs Photo for slaying my wedding photos.

My husband Collin Buchanan for photographing my birthstone jewelry.

Hannah Allen for going above and beyond with my tropical wedding flowers.

Angela Alexander for doing my hair and makeup perfectly.

The Edgemont House for being the most beautiful home to get married in.

Boulevard Bread Co. for the most delicious catering that I ate probably way past when I should have.

Kelli Marks of Cathead’s Diner for making our beautiful cake (and bringing donuts!).

Our friends and families for celebrating with us and supporting us. You are everything and more to us.

Freekend Weekend Pop-Up Brings Together Arkansas Artisans and Food Trucks Aug. 4-5

Stacey Bowers

One Tough Mother Necklace  by artisan jewelry designer Bang-Up Betty, vintage clothing from  Crying Weasel Vintage , and handmade leather clutch by  O'faolain

One Tough Mother Necklace by artisan jewelry designer Bang-Up Betty, vintage clothing from Crying Weasel Vintage, and handmade leather clutch by O'faolain

It's a TAX Free-kend Weekend Pop-Up Shop at the Moxy Warehouse! Brought to you by the same crew who brought you the Speakeasy Pop-Ups last year! We are excited to come together again and bring you a few new vendors, some of our new goods, AND at TAX FREE prices! Woohoo! 

We will have a preview party Saturday night with complimentary beer so you can sip and shop and we will be there on Sunday as well with a complimentary self-serve (careful now) mimosa bar!

Freekend Weekend Pop-Up brings together Arkansas artisans with Little Rock food trucks for a shopping weekend that coincides with Arkansas's tax holiday

Freekend Weekend Pop-Up brings together Arkansas artisans with Little Rock food trucks for a shopping weekend that coincides with Arkansas's tax holiday

RSVP on Facebook!
 

Vendors List:
AR-T's
Bang-Up Betty
Crying Weasel Vintage
DOWER
Krystal Bijoux Jewelry
O'Faolain

Food Trucks:
Viva Vegan (Saturday Night 6:00pm-10:00pm)
Philly Phresh Water Ice (Sunday 10:00am-2:00pm)

Wanna know more about tax free weekend? 
Learn what it's all about and what items are tax free at: https://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/exciseTaxOffice/faqsConsumers.pdf

Handmade leather wallet by  Dower , Arkansas t-shirt by  AR-T's , Glamfestation brooch by  Krystal Bijoux Jewelry  

Handmade leather wallet by Dower, Arkansas t-shirt by AR-T's, Glamfestation brooch by Krystal Bijoux Jewelry 

Thanks for Voting Bang-Up Betty Jewelry Best Artisan in Arkansas

Stacey Bowers

Bang-Up Betty jewelry voted best artisan crafter in the Arkansas Times's best of Arkansas

Bang-Up Betty jewelry voted best artisan crafter in the Arkansas Times's best of Arkansas

I am so grateful and so humbled that y'all voted Bang-Up Betty jewelry best Arkansas artisan crafter in the Arkansas Times's Best of Arkansas 2018. It's so thrilling and so rewarding to hear from you that this little handmade jewelry business I started five years ago is meaningful to someone other than just me and my mama (who still doesn't approve of my nope middle finger necklace, that's for sure). 

I feel that making jewelry has been a part of my life forever. My sister Amy would take me to the original Argenta Bead Company in North Little Rock (where The House of Art is now), and let me pick out beads and make shiny things, and I felt so loved and encouraged by everyone in that shop, especially Ellie Roy, the owner. I made some TERRIBLE jewelry when I was 12 years old, but they let me try to sell it (no one really bought it), and therefore planted the seeds to Bang-Up Betty a long time ago.

Handmade necklaces by Arkansas artisan jewelry designer Bang-Up Betty. Find the I'll Cut You Necklace, Custom Heart Necklace, Made of Magic Unicorn Necklace, Salty Pretzel Necklace and more in the shop. 

Handmade necklaces by Arkansas artisan jewelry designer Bang-Up Betty. Find the I'll Cut You Necklace, Custom Heart Necklace, Made of Magic Unicorn Necklace, Salty Pretzel Necklace and more in the shop. 

I ended up working at Argenta Bead as one of my first jobs (I've always simultaneously had at least 2 jobs, always, because I'm a workaholic) and learned a lot more about making jewelry. I left for college with an arsenal of beaded necklaces I made myself, and I fit right in at the art studio in school. 

I put jewelry away in college and focused on getting a degree in communications (and minoring in binge drinking). I graduated with a good knowledge of marketing, writing, media, design, Español (my actual minor) and my entrepreneurial spirit intact. I interned at marketing firms, film sets and worked at stationery and invitation companies (hey, Mint Julep Paperie!) out of college, which sparked my first small business, Betty Pearl, hand-drawn greeting cards I printed myself. Like my jewelry, the cards were cute, offensive and salty. That's just what I do. 

Betty Pearl Valentine postcards, the prelude to Bang-Up Betty handmade jewelry 

Betty Pearl Valentine postcards, the prelude to Bang-Up Betty handmade jewelry 

I sold my stuff on street corners (at craft fairs! got you!!) while simultaneously working as a writer and editor in the Little Rock publishing scene until selling $4 cards ran me ragged and I retired Betty Pearl. Pretty soon after that, I found myself back into beads. Creativity and entrepreneurship needs an outlet. 

I made funny, four-letter-word bracelets for my friends as holiday gifts in 2012, after teaching myself how to stamp and drill copper and brass. When the bracelets were a success, I launched an Etsy site to make some money off my handmade jewelry on the side. It got kind of big kind of fast. 

One of the first Bang-Up Betty jewelry designs, a handmade stamped copper bracelet, called the four-letter-word bracelet. You could order customs! You still can in my  brass or silver mantra bracelet.  Photo by Arshia Khan. 

One of the first Bang-Up Betty jewelry designs, a handmade stamped copper bracelet, called the four-letter-word bracelet. You could order customs! You still can in my brass or silver mantra bracelet. Photo by Arshia Khan. 

In the next couple of years, my handmade jewelry was featured in Bust Magazine, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Bustle, Cosmo UK and more. I created my own website. I expanded the business into wholesale, and now stores across the United States carry Bang-Up Betty jewelry, enamel pins, koozies, shirts and more. Oh yeah, I expanded the products as well. There are now about 100 designs in my repertoire, where I started with about four designs. I did all this while maintaining a thriving career as a nonprofit marketing director.

And when I say "all this," I mean all this. I do 98% of this business by myself. Designing and making the jewelry, marketing retail and wholesale jewelry, maintaining the website, fulfilling orders, photographing products, attending markets and craft shows, planning events, professional development, bookkeeping... that's all me. Shout out to Collin Buchanan and Katie Childs Photo for photography help and Lee Lee Arts + Design for graphic design help. 

Anyway, I've derailed from thanking you for voting Bang-Up Betty jewelry best artisan (for the fourth time!!). I guess I just wanted to share a little bit behind why this makes me feel so special. It's a lot of work (see above paragraph) to start, manage and expand your own business, especially if you yourself MAKE nearly every single thing that you sell. And it can be really scary to put your art out there, especially if it tends to lean one way politically and you live in a state that trends the opposite way. Sometimes my hands hurt, but my heart is always full. Thank you. 

Handmade jewelry artisan Stacey Bowers (AKA Bang-Up Betty) in her studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas, with her popular Smash the Patriarchy hammer. Photo by Katie Childs. I'm talking about myself in the third person. This is weird. But, you know, captions. 

Handmade jewelry artisan Stacey Bowers (AKA Bang-Up Betty) in her studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas, with her popular Smash the Patriarchy hammer. Photo by Katie Childs. I'm talking about myself in the third person. This is weird. But, you know, captions.