“You are going to LOVE her!”
A sentiment we’ve probably all heard, as I had a million times before. I took it lightly until my first night of teacher training when Sloane sat down next to me and rolled out her mat. Our paths were meant to cross and as we spent the next three months together on a roller coaster of emotion, education, and movement through yoga it was clear why.
Eliza Sloane Doud is the essence of #GirlBoss. With her jewelry line, Eliza Sloane Jewelry (formerly, Mermaid by Hand), she is single-handedly changing the industry by utilizing recycled materials and handcrafting one-of-a-kind pieces. Drawn to yoga by the challenge, her yoga practice has brought confidence and creativity to her work – and brought her abundant soul into my life! We sat down to talk about yoga, staying creative, and practicing sustainability in business. Continue reading below to learn more about her innovative and imaginative approach to design:
The name, Mermaid by Hand (Now Eliza Sloane Jewelry), encapsulates your line of designs, how did that come about?
I originally came up with the name while living in The Caribbean about 5 years ago. At the time, I wanted the name to really portray what my company was all about. The name served me well and helped create a good customer base, but after a few years, I started to feel very pigeon-holed. I am constantly expanding and growing, and therefore my style and aesthetic have evolved a lot too. So that being said, I recently decided to rebrand, ditching the name Mermaid by Hand. Over the last year, my designs have matured a lot, and I want the name to reflect that change. (I will now be going by Eliza Sloane Jewelry.)
Sustainability is such a huge buzzword right now when it comes to products which show that our generation is really looking to live responsibly, what originally inspired you to run Mermaid by Hand this way and how has it shaped your path of growth?
Before I started designing jewelry, I had an internship with a vintage clothing company in New York City. I had always loved vintage and the idea of recycling what is already out there. After my internship, I realized I wanted to start my own business, and one of my original dreams was to sell vintage, handmade and fairtrade goods out of my vintage Grand Wagoneer. When I moved out west I had to sell my beloved wagoneer, and I immersed myself in jewelry making. I quickly found out that creating with my hands is where my passion is. I love working with metal and tools. In a world where we generally want everything so fast, I decided to work hard to keep the art of handcrafted jewelry alive. Sometimes it may take up to 5 weeks for orders to be made and shipped out, but for the most part, my customer base appreciates the value of handcrafted jewelry and truly cares about making a difference with their purchasing choices. I work hard to create consciously and responsibly. I also use recycled boxes and my packaging is all recycled and reusable! We have come to a point where things MUST change. We cannot ignore the impact the fashion and accessories industry has on our natural world, and we cannot keep normalizing the way that people in many factories are treated. Knowledge is power.
Each piece is so unique, is there a story behind each one?
Yes, I believe the story of each piece began before me. Each stone and shell has been created by Mother Nature and has lived out many stories before reaching my hands. Sometimes I let the stones dictate the design, sometimes I dream up a design and then source stones specifically for those designs, and other times a client will have an idea in their head and I will sketch it out for them. It really varies from piece to piece.
How do you continue to fuel your creativity and stay inspired?
Striking a healthy balance between staying grounded and traveling. I am a bit of a spontaneous homebody. (try and figure that one out, ha!) Spending time in Mother sea always helps me hit the reset button. Also reading, music, sleeping under the stars, and cooking good food with good people keep me inspired.
Why did you originally start practicing yoga?
I’m not going to lie and say that it was the mindfulness of the practice that drew me to it. At first, for me, it was more of the physical workout that I enjoyed. As my body was challenged, my mindset started to shift.
How has yoga impacted your life and your business?
Community, confidence, creativity…Just a few words that immediately popped into my head. There is not one aspect of my life that hasn’t been impacted by my yoga practice. I can confidently say no to things that don’t serve me. I still struggle with indecisiveness sometimes, but yoga has also helped me trust my intuition, and be more assertive in my decisions. I am able to show myself more kindness, and therefore be more gentle and understanding with others. I fell in love with every aspect of yoga and found myself wanting to learn more and more. I suspect that thirst for knowledge will never be fully quenched. I can be a bit of a go-getter and hustler (I’m a Capricorn!) so yoga has helped me realize that THINGS CAN WAIT. Everything doesn’t have to get done right this second. Whether it be transitioning from asana to asana, or creating a piece of jewelry, I have found so much joy in the process, and that changes everything.
What is one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs or creators?
Trust the process. Go in the direction your soul is leading you. Have a plan but don’t be afraid to alter it. Leave enough room for the magic to happen. Collaborate with other creatives who share similar aesthetics or work ethics. There’s a time to hustle and there’s a time to rest. It’s important to find balance when you’re running your own business.
Although awareness continues to rise about the environmental impacts of fast fashion, it’s not mainstream to find designers such as Sloane who approach each piece with delicacy, time, and consciousness. Her workflow is inspirational and reputable across creators and consumers alike. Through trust, movement, and connection to nature, Sloane has captivated the realm of Etsy and conscious buyers offering pieces that resonate with all. Eccentric, sustainably designed jewelry made by Eliza Sloane can be found on Etsy – but be ready to become addicted to the bohemian funk and end up with more things in your cart than you had planned. You can also stay up to date on all her newest designs by following her Instagram or Facebook. Happy shopping!