Today we’d like to introduce you to Marianne Homsy.
Hi Marianne, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada from Egyptian parents. Montreal is a multi-cultural spirited and vibrant city from which I draw a lot of inspiration from. As a little girl, I was the one doodling, painting, and observing colors in nature. I loved to scribble in class and design dresses on paper. My mother was a doctor, but her second passion was painting. She led a busy life and managed to express her creativity through her art as well as her colorful style. Growing up around her art is what I believe led me down my creative path. She remains an influence and inspiration to me. I first went to school thinking I was interested in Science. However, after a semester of chemistry and physics, I turned to the Creative Arts field and found my true love. I earned a BA and a Masters in communication and advertising at The University of Florida. But my creative interests always stayed the course. My thesis, in fact was on The Emotional Response to Color in Fashion Advertising. Color is my thing!
After I graduated from Grad school, my boyfriend who lived in Tampa proposed to me and we got engaged. But, I told him there was a condition… I had to go to New York and pursue my interest in fashion. We would have to wait to get married until I got that experience under my belt. So, off I went 🙂 I landed a job at Donna Karan where life was full of promise, but I knew my time was limited as I knew I had to get back to Tampa to get married.
When I left New York to move back to Tampa, the job I had lined up fell through, 9/11 happened and the economy tanked. I found myself in a new city not knowing anybody, having left a budding fashion career behind, wondering what I was going to do next. I felt deflated and unfulfilled. I did end up doing some freelance work for a lifestyle magazine and also worked at a private woman’s club, which helped pay the bills and pass the time, but still did not feel in my element. Until one day my neighbor invited me over to make jewelry. I didn’t even realize at the time that this was a thing, that people actually made jewelry. I was instantly hooked (no pun intended;). I started making jewelry as a hobby and one day, I walked into a boutique in Hyde Park Village. The owner asked me where I got my necklace. I told her that I made it and she asked me if I sold my jewelry. I paused for a second, knowing full well that I was only making jewelry as a hobby and had a handful of pieces, but the words that came out of my mouth surprised me. I said: “Yes! yes, I do”. And there it was, the start of Pour Toi Designs, the name I originally started with, which means ‘For You” designs, which is now Marianne Homsy Jewelry.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Is anything ever a smooth road?! The road is windy, with some potholes, stop signs, speed traps and bridges. When I started my little business, I would do home shows, I taught some jewelry classes at local bead shops, and participated in a few art/craft markets, and sold my jewelry at the boutique in Hyde Park. I wasn’t really sure where this would lead me, and whether that was what I was supposed to be doing. Was I wasting all this education I had worked hard for? I always thought I would be working in a big advertising agency, but my road led me down a different way.
During this time, I also started raising a family, had two kids and the creative juices weren’t flowing as well. I had the mother’s guilt syndrome. Should I be spending more time with my kids or should I be paying attention to my passion and growing business? Truth is, I felt I couldn’t give 100% to either. My heart told me to keep pursing my jewelry interest and keep a hand in it as much as I could so that one day when I could spend more time on it, that I would have that continuity. So I did, I designed a logo, built a website, and kept designing and doing trunk shows. I sold to Deborah Kent’s boutique and The Tampa Museum of Art, which still sell my pieces today. I built a website but it mostly was an online portfolio as opposed to an E-commerce site. Not very effective… but, it was a website and a start.
A few years went by, my kids started getting older and more self-sufficient, I felt it was time to make a move. In the summer of 2020, I decided to take my business online, rebrand with a new logo, new business cards, packaging, look and name. I enrolled myself in an intensive online course called Flourish and Thrive Academy, I highly recommend it to any creatives and makers out there. I learned how to properly market my jewelry business online. It was challenging, difficult, rewarding, and the best thing I had done in a long time. Then COVID started, and I found myself wondering who on earth would want to buy jewelry during a time like this? I had already put in time and money to do this and pushed through. I figured I would approach it cautiously and believed that offering a little beauty and distraction to my audience would be welcomed. And, it was. I learned how to do virtual trunk shows and connect with an online audience as opposed to in-person shows. I built a brand new website that is user-friendly and functional! It launched in May of 2020, and it’s been a wild ride. I am proud of the obstacles I faced and continue to face. I am still trying to grow my audience and want women to join my FAB CLUB. These are my people, the ones who sign up to my email list and get perks, first dibs on new collections, discounts, special discounts, etc. It’s a continuous process with challenges along the way, but I LOVE what I do, its my therapy!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I design mostly one-of-a-kind jewelry. Pieces are sometimes duplicated until I run out of limited materials. This way, my clients, know that they are wearing something truly unique. I believe in making women feel fabulous and keeping the jewelry elegant and simple. My tag line and motto is: “BE YOURSELF. FEEL FABULOUS.” I design for women who choose to wear versatile, stylish, and easy-to-wear jewelry. Every woman is unique, so why should their jewelry look the same? I am a one-woman show, who seeks out, hands select and uses high-quality, vibrant, semi-precious stones. I personally design and make every piece with intent and love. You can be sure that behind every piece of Marianne Homsy Jewelry is a woman that is passionate and has carefully made the piece. I get excited every time a new piece is finished and do a song and dance once it’s bought. I know that the woman who picked that particular piece is choosing it because she feels it’s an extension of herself, of her personality.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is continually challenging yourself to be better. Not perfect, just better. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, trial and error, asking for help, and feeling happy with every step taken towards your ultimate goal.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.mariannehomsy.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariannehomsy/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariannehomsyjewelry
- Youtube: https://studio.youtube.com/channel/UCV-Ai-JQ7GdBTmGQGL1m7vg
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/mariannehomsyjewelry/_created/
Photographer: Gabrielle Hekhuis