From first sight we fell in love! We met the lovely Jessica, founder of Bella Buddha Beads, a while back at Yoga Fest. And, after owning one of these beautiful bracelets, we began to fall in love with it's earthy tones and unique stones more and more everyday. Each bead is so unique! And each design is so different that you won't see two exactly alike. Jessica talks to us about her inspirations and journey as a new talented designer and entrepreneur. Follow us along on this adventure for some inspiring content.
Meet the awesome Jessica Silvestri
Founder of Bella Buddha Beads
Tell us a little bit about yourself..
I'm 26 years old, from Welland Ontario. I started Bella Buddha Beads when I was 25 years old. I went to university for political science and studied in Siena for a year. When I came back, I went to teachers college. I am an only child, so I consider myself a free spirit and kind of have the freedom to do whatever. I am also Italian and my parents are really supportive of me. I kind of rebelled when I was younger. But, it's nice to not fit the standard stereotype of a European Italian quiet girl. Not a lot of people think that you should be branching out on your own at this age, but there is no market for teachers and jobs out there. so I said; "lets go with it" and I did.
How did Bella Buddha Beads start?
This kind of came out as a fluke, since there were no jobs out there. I was making this stuff for myself and I liked it. I couldn't find anything affordable or nice, good quality, and for a good price. I said I need to find something that is easy and nice to wear so I made bracelets for myself. The first store I put my designs in was just a little boutique that I shop at all the time, and they asked me; "Where did you get those from? We want to have them in our store." And I said, "Oh my goodness I made those!" So I said yes to them. It's a nice high end boutique called Citrus Boutique in St. Catherines!
Anything that continues to inspire you?
My grandfather used to call me a gypsy because I always had bracelets on my arms from here to here and when I used to always come back home from Europe I used to wear bracelets like crazy. So I told myself I need to start something on my own. I started looking at things and the meaning of beads and gemstones, and what kind of powers they have behind them. I was building a brand and I didn't really know I was doing that. I would wear everything that I make and I think that that's different from some designers, as they wouldn't necessarily wear what they design for their crowd but I design what I would wear. We go to Europe all the time so I'm inspired by the beach and scenery. It is so interesting and the colours of nature are beautiful and I'm inspired by how they mesh and mould together. I like music a lot too and I find it changes my mood and my mood changes what I work on. I never have a rule that I have to do the same stuff, I just sit down and work.
How would you describe your designs?
Boho, chic, I call it gypsy soul; very relaxed, laid back, easy to wear.
What kind of beads do you use in your jewellery?
Mostly I use gemstones; agate, Quartz, turquoise, jade... A lot of it comes from Greece and the States. And I get a lot from Toronto. All my wooden Rudraksha beads come from India. But the normal wooden beads are from Ontario and are locally sourced.
What makes your brand unique and different?
Each piece is unique because it's handmade by me. I also think what makes it special is that I love doing what I do and I love every piece that I make. EVERY piece you wear is different. And what I usually say is that it's unique like all my customers because everyone is different. No one will ever have the same piece on. You have a piece of Bella Buddha Beads that no one else is going to have; which is pretty cool. Many customers express that the stones symbolize to them passion and love, so you can also just wear them as a little reminder of that on your wrist.
What are some goals that you are setting for yourself?
When I come back from Europe, I'm going to have my own website up and ready and I would like to get into the online world, more than just an Etsy. Also, I am working on getting into more stores in Toronto. My designs are in a few now but I'd like to expand more across the city.
Could you show us your favourite pieces?
This Opal necklace that Yara is wearing and I also love my new wooden collection of bracelets that Jude is wearing.
|Yara is wearing an evil eye choker, good luck elephant choker, signature Bella Buddha Beads choker, and the Opal necklace.|
|Jude is wearing the wooden bracelet collection|
What advice would you give someone going after their passion?
Never give up! Take every opportunity that you have. And if you fail, know that you are still learning something. Just be true to yourself and do what you love. Also, believe in yourself and don't let other people bring you down. It will be crazy, because it's not a 9-5 and it's not something that is stable, static and forever. But, you just have to keep moving with it.
Anything else you would like to share about your overall personal growth journey?
As a kid I was really quiet, and growing up I was a tomboy into sports and soccer. High school was okay and teachers college was okay. But, this... This is just different. I have found myself in the past two years and it has given me so much confidence. You meet people from all around, from different stores. You have to become talkative and be able to talk to people and it builds your confidence a lot. If I could tell my 10 year old self where I'd be now, that 10 year old self would lose her mind! Having that confidence that I have now then would have been incredible. And I think when people get too big they lose that, but the fact that I am still doing everything by hand is just as if I'm sharing a little piece of me, literally.
One day it's going to click and you are going to think; "It all makes sense now." And for me it took time. But then you look back and say you were a weirdo for a reason. There was a reason why you were this artsy, silly, goofy kid because this is your plan. This is what's supposed to happen.
I think that the best thing that has come out of this is all the connections I have made. It's phenomenal. Amazing and beautiful people all over from Welland, Toronto, Muskoka to Saudi Arabia! Like how does this happen?! It just makes you so full. Even if it's a bad day and someone told me your jewellery is awesome, that keeps me going.
Where can people purchase your jewellery?
They can purchase from my Etsy, or if a design they like isn't up there, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
& here's a little fun...
Talking to Jessica was so uplifting. Wild tripple crazy bees.
We decided to step outside, maybe run a little and observe the beads under the sun...
Shadow play. In love with these necklaces.
Stacks on stacks.
Colour pops and earthy tones.
A sense of unity, bracelet sharing.
Even more beads...
Can you believe each one is different? Jude and I had a hard time choosing favourites.
Reaching for the sky...
Trying to catch the clouds.
Crystals on the neck for better energy
This is a small part of Jessica's handmade jewellery kit.
Finding friendships and joy in these earthy jewels.
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If a design isn't up on the shop you can email Bella Buddha Beads to get in touch: