Kathy Janak joins us from Studio Janak and JanakJewelry.com to share her lifelong passion for jewelry design. Listen to this episode because one day you’ll hear or be asked, “Is that a Janak?” and you can say, “I remember her when…!”
This is the first time I’ve shared an entire bio, but I think you’ll enjoy reading about Kathy’s history so here it is, in her own words…
My lifelong passion is jewelry design and metalsmithing. I design and hand‐fabricate women’s jewelry and men’s cuff links from raw silver, often incorporating precious gems or meteorites.
My clients find a distinct and recognizable look in my work and many of them believe it’s a direct influence of my design education and 30‐year career in the architectural profession.
For the last 20 years I’ve been furthering my training through many avenues, but especially with Marilyn Nicholson, a master metalsmith in Taos, New Mexico. Design influences in my work come from the work of silversmiths in Taxco, Mexico (circa 1930), particularly Los Castillo and Hector Aguilar.
I have also studied and been influenced by the work of Louis Cartier (circa 1930) when design shifted away from Art Nouveau and into the Modern Age with a more streamlined look. Both the Taxco and Cartier jewelry artists of this era were masters at geometry, scale, balance and repetition, all of which play a huge part in my own work.
For 20 years I have designed and fabricated my own jewelry. During this time the passion for my art persisted but it wasn’t until about four years ago that all the signs began pointing in the direction of a career change and listening to an inner voice that was too strong to keep suppressing.
By that time, I’d spent close to 30 years in commercial architecture. I had outgrown my lot in the corporate world even though my profession had been well chosen. I no longer felt challenged and I was slowly but surely experiencing brain and soul death. I clearly craved the type of work that fueled my soul – jewelry design and metalsmithing.
The next series of overlapping events finally opened my eyes to the writing on the walls of my heart and changed my life’s direction ‐ ‐ ‐ my father, whom I was extremely close to, died after much suffering for many months; and, I had three major surgeries for separate unrelated health issues.
One by one, each of my health issues were completely resolved. But the one thing that wouldn’t go away was the impact my father’s death had on me. That confronted me with the final mirror: I didn’t want to be on my death bed looking back and asking myself – “what if I had tried to follow my passion?”
So, I left corporate America and started my own company as an independent consultant – right as the economy crashed. It was an extremely high‐risk move but I felt it was the right door out of my corporate years and a step in the direction of truly becoming an entrepreneur and formulating my jewelry business plan.
The best source of encouragement for me all these years was being repeatedly approached by complete strangers who asked me where I got my jewelry and where they could buy it.
This made me realize there was already a demand for my designs and product and I just needed to build a business to meet the demand.
This inspired me to make jewelry for special orders and in enough quantities to hold exclusive trunk shows. All these shows were a success, and I realized I needed to take the next steps to grow my jewelry business.
Jewelry design and fabrication is my passion – I can’t not do it. It’s in me – and it has to get out.
Enjoy the show!
Items Mentioned in this Episode
- Germán Velasco
- SEE 017: Randy Valentine Lifts Up the Curtain on Publicity and Media Outreach
- Jessica Winkler from Digital Simplicity
- Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields
- The Web Startup Roadmap by JP Stonestreet
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx: