This month’s featured client is Army Of Rokosz Jewelry Design and Metal Art, designed and created by Andrea Rokosz. Andrea uses ancient techniques to make her jewelry that is shaped by her appreciation for the unconventional and ornate. Her small wearable sculptures reflect her love for adventure, folklore, and pop culture, as well as, a respect for nature, history, science and religion.
When did you open your business?
I started Army Of Rokosz as a part-time gig while I was in jewelry school, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I left my part-time job to focus my energy on Army Of Rokosz full-time.
What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
There are many facets about being a business owner that I absolutely love. I really enjoy the comradery that naturally exists between small business owners. I don’t have any formal business education so a lot of what I know and do on the business end of things has been learned from asking a ton of questions to people who have done it, or are doing it. In Vancouver, right now, there seems to be a lot of amazing people starting up their own businesses so having a community of like-minded people supporting one another is pretty inspiring.
What motivated you to start your business?
Honestly, I just started making jewelry and the response was so great that I followed along the path I was being shown. I never really thought I would own a business — I don’t know what I thought my end game was when I started making jewelry — but I am totally stoked things have turned out the way they did.
What’s your vision with your jewelry?
I really like to design things that I would want to wear, it’s what lights me up and gets me excited to work on a piece. I started out launching my line Army Of Rokosz — available online and in stores across North America — but now I work one-on-one with clients on custom pieces. There’s something extremely special about getting to know someone and being able to make their vision a reality as well.
What do you like about jewelry making?
I love it all! I feel very fortunate that I get to do what I do every day. When I sit down and think about the actual act of making each piece and the historical lineage of the techniques I use (passed down over thousands of years), it makes me feel like what I do is pretty special and important. I also really love getting to create ceremonial pieces, engagement rings, and wedding bands. The first time I watched a couple exchange wedding bands I had made, I got pretty emotional.
What advice do you have for future business owners?
Ask a lot of questions and hire a bookkeeper.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
For a long time, I didn’t. I work for myself, by myself. So when I first started out and was getting busier, I just defaulted to working all the time — which was crazy. As basic as it sounds, I put myself on a schedule, have set days and times that I work, and take weekends off. I love my time in my studio, so after a couple days off, I’m always geared up to get back to work.
Who would benefit from your services?
I think people reach out to me when they are looking for pieces that tell a story, whether it be a story that I’m telling through my collection, or one they want to tell with a custom piece. Everything I make has a meaning and significance behind it that has a unique way of resonating with people.