RACHEL OF VINTAGE REHAB JEWELRY.
Today, we welcome Rachel Rotabi to the blog! Not only does she create beautiful modern jewelry items from vintage pieces, but she also shares with us some wisdom in how to get started and the ways she stays motivated in making.
I’m Rachel Rotabi, the one-woman-show behind Vintage Rehab Jewelry. Founded last November, I upcycle vintage costume jewelry and other vintage baubles (skeleton keys, glass buttons, etc) into new modern vintage designs by incorporating stones, crystal, and wire wrapping. I love the craftsmanship and detail that went into vintage things, and I also love the hunt to find little unexpected treasures at local flea markets, antique stores, and even online. I do have my own designs, but my absolute favorite part of my business is collaborating with clients on custom designs.
2 // What makes you want to create? What keeps you going? A couple of years ago, I went through a challenging time in my life, for a multitude of reasons. Creativity became my therapy and a way of expressing a piece of my soul – a piece that had been hidden since taking art classes as a kid many years ago. During that challenging time, I transitioned to being a stay at home mom, and Vintage Rehab Jewelry was born. What keeps me going now is the joy my clients feel in having “wearable memories” that I help them create. Many of us have something that reminds us of someone special – vintage costume earrings, a military pin – that sits in a box in a closet. It’s too special to give away, but not something we would wear. I love getting to understand their everyday style and turning that “something special” into something that they can wear often.
The other thing that keeps me going is my charity organization, Donovan’s SMILE. Our friends founded this foundation to honor their son Donovan who passed away at the age of 4 from brain cancer. They help raise awareness about pediatric cancer in hopes of increasing research funding, and also support other families experiencing the heartbreak they endured, both for the children fighting the disease as well as their families. Their strength is so inspiring to me, and I feel blessed to be able to help them in this small way. I have a commemorative piece I made for Donovan in my shop; 100% of proceeds go to Donovan’s SMILE. I also donate a portion of all my proceeds to their organization, which gives me motivation to keep moving forward! They will be hosting a holiday toy drive for cancer patients and their families - please visit their site for more info if you're interested in giving.
3 // What has been the most challenging part of your business? The handmade field is so different than what I did in my professional career. The great thing is there are so many different paths to grow this business, and there are a lot of great educational tools out there as well. The challenge for me: where to focus and STAY focused with limited resources! I am learning as I go, from my mistakes as well as from others. And that means I’m growing too, which is important to me.
4 // What advice do you have for other, perhaps newer, makers?
#1: Create a plan. Stick to it, and revisit it often to make sure that you’re growing and that you’re HAPPY (very important).
#2: Network. You never know where you’ll find great opportunities for collaborations, exposure, or to learn from others. Even bouncing ideas off of someone, especially if you work alone, can be so valuable. There are great resources available online (all you have to do is Google!) and Instagram has also been a great way to find people (that’s how I found The Higgins Creative!).
#3 Make sure you’re doing something that you love. When the going gets tough, you really need to be passionate to endure!
5 // Are there any exciting projects coming up for Vintage Rehab? Yes! Vintage Rehab will be featured in an online green/sustainable market for the holiday season hosted by RxOrganics, called the Rx market. The Los Angeles County Store (an awesome curation of “made in LA” creations!) is also now stocking some of my products.
6 // How can people follow you and keep up on your business? I’m on Instagram @vintagerehabjewelry and Facebook at Vintage Rehab Jewelry. I try to keep up with blogging on my website, vintagerehabjewelry.com, and for any custom projects please drop me a line at Rachel@vintagerehabjewelry.com. Thanks so much!
Happy making and happy holidays to you all.
Thanks to Rachel for her encouraging and practical advice on making! Be sure to find her on your favorite social media & start shopping her vintage pieces for your Christmas list!
To be featured as a Wake To Make Feature, kindly fill out the form here.