Monthly Maker Spotlight: Tropikali
Each month we spotlight a new designer we love right here on our blog! This month, we are featuring the work of Sydney Khan who owns and creates the jewelry line Tropikali. Sydney has had her jewelry at the shop for a few months now and customers (as well as employees!) love her unique style of bead-work with mixed metal accents. Sydney also works and teaches at Blue Door Beads just down the street from the shop. If you haven't gone into Blue Door Beads, you have got to check out this incredible shop that has all of your jewelry making needs; classes, jewelry repair, and a knowledgeable, sweet staff!
We asked Sydney some questions about her business, advice for other new jewelry designers, and Tropikali's upcoming events. Read on for more info!
How long have you had your business? Tell us the history of how you got started to where you are now.
I have been making jewelry for over ten years and have loved discovering new techniques and inspiration along the way! I am self-taught and learned most of my basic skills from my mom and then continued to experiment and explore on my own.
I have officially had my jewelry business for about a year now, but have been working up to it for the past three to four years and learning along the way! Working at Blue Door Beads really pushed me to get out there and give it a try.
Tell us more about Tropikali.
Choosing a name was difficult, but I finally chose Tropikali. I was envisioning a bright and bold contemporary version of the Hindu goddess Kali wearing my jewelry. After diving deeper into what the goddess stands for, I knew I had to incorporate it into my name and logo. Stemming from Middle Eastern heritage. I knew that this name had a deeper meaning and would serve my brand as authentically as the goddess herself.
Kali stands for fierce authenticity and revels in the destruction and rebirth of life. My logo is in the shape of a lotus with three eyes (just like the goddess Kali) and these represent the past, present and future. I liked this because it embodies being aware of yourself in your current surroundings and to remain present. Each piece I make is special to me and I hope my brand instills confidence and empowers others to be themselves!
What inspires your creative process?
I am constantly on the move as a full time student, with a job, internship, and my budding business. I am the most inspired when I take time out of my day to put myself into a timeless bubble and experiment with different jewelry designs. I find that bringing this creative meditation as a daily practice helps me reflect and process the day, while still being able to relax!
What are some of your favorite pieces you have ever made?
My favorite piece would have to be my first statement necklace made with sea-foam green crystal points with messy wire wraps. The piece was big, bold, and just my style. This is a design which is featured in my collection (see blue crystal necklace in below images).
My second favorite piece, I recently made for a staff trunk show at Blue Door Beads, I rarely get to make jewelry for myself, so when I do I take my time. The statement necklace has a piece of natural turquoise, mixed metal spacer beads and cascading chain. I have begun to make more pieces like this to include in my next collection because I am in love with it! (See first image below to view this necklace.)
What advice would you give someone just starting out as a designer?
My advice is to not give up and to make products that make you happy. Make mistakes, learn from them, and reflect on how you feel during the process. The process is more important to me than the outcome and I think this helps you as a designer to push yourself.
It won’t always be easy, but if you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone you will continually surprise yourself. Immerse yourself in a creative community where you can collaborate and connect with others.
What classes do you teach at Blue Door Beads?
I am currently teaching a series of bead weaving classes. I teach a beaded ring class called Peyote Rings (that is the name of the bead weaving stitch), Brick Stitch Studs, and Beaded Triangle Fringe Earrings. I am considering teaching some new classes involving wire work and hammered metal components, which I have come to learn about through some experimentation and are featured in Tropikali.
When is your next trunk show event?
I will be at Good Omen Market with 35 other amazing local artists on October 22nd from 4pm to 10pm! You can also catch me at First Friday with a friend of mine who makes pottery. Follow @tropikali on Instagram to find the location of these events as well as see Sydney's newest creations!
Thanks Sydney! The next time you are in Resurrect check out her gorgeous pieces in person!