Charisma Eclectic, I was undeniably in awe.
I discovered these beautiful accessories by chance, a couple months ago through a Vegan website that had an article about an African American woman and her experiences being a Vegetarian. One link led to another and I discovered the beautiful creations of Ms. Clara Star. This 31 year old mother, vegetarian, and jewelry and accessory designer decided to create her own business last year based around what she loves; creative accessories! And I must say, for her to only have been in business for a year, she has definitely made a name for herself amongst many style and fashion bloggers, websites and jewelry collectors.
I decided a couple weeks ago that I wanted to do an interview with Clara, because her creations really inspire. I purchased a pair of her "Wish You Would" earrings, which are of the 70's blaxploitation character Foxy Brown which is SO my style. What I like about Charisma Eclectic is that it is a collection that really represents unique and individual style. It reflects culture, merges styles from every decade and has a piece that anyone could be attracted to.
My interview with Clara Star of Charisma Eclectic.com:
What city were you born in and what city do you currently reside in?
[Born in] Louisville, KY [I currently live in] New Albany, IN
How old were you when you realized that you had a love for accessories and making things?
5 years old
Do you have a love or obsession for jewelry and accessories?
As a plus sized teen, cute and trendy clothing were hard to come by. I relied on accessories to define my style. I always loved colorful sneakers and handbags.
Were you always into making jewelry?
Being a hobbyist, I've toyed around with making jewelry in the past, but crocheting and graphics took up most of my time.
What inspires you?
Foremost originality inspires me. Original forms of music, visual art, spirituality, anything that is fresh and exciting keeps me motivated to create.
I can tell that you have a love for shapes, the boldness of colors and patterns etc... Where does that stem from?
I adore bold colors and shapes because they usually speak for themselves. A circle is just a round object alone, but pair it with a triangle and it becomes a design. I used to spend countless hours in the library skimming fashion, photography and music books. Throughout all of these I found inspiration for color, patterns and more.
Do you try to send out a message/feeling with your art?
My objective for every piece that comes from Charisma is individuality. I want the piece to speak to the owner and the viewer. Like art, I see my works as conversation pieces. If I have on a pair of Nina Simone earrings, I want someone to say, "Hey, that's Nina. I love her music!". We may then talk of poetry or black feminism. However, another may ask me who she is or why I'm wearing her on my ear. This is then a chance to introduce her and her works. I want my designs to be a statement for fashion. A lot of people need to know [that] the definition of style has changed. We are in the age of individuality.
Many of your pieces are pictures of musicians, artists and activists; why?
I think my whole life has been made up of music, art, and community activism. Since Charisma is a product of me, my pieces definitely reflect such. Growing up, I hung around my Uncle Roey a lot who was a local singer. He introduced me to Al Green, Parliament, and Cameo. I kept the love for these musicians in my adult years. Music is a melodic art form that fuels my creativity. I was so inspired by Al Green's charismatic personality, that I named my business Charisma Eclectic. Art has always been conducive to fueling movements. Many items in my collections are inspired by community activists, groups, or spirituality. Both are near and dear to me for they have the power to change lives.
Are all of your pieces handmade by you?
Yes, I am a one woman show and every piece is handmade by me.
I can tell by many of your pieces, you have a nostalgic love for the 70's (like myself), is this true?
I love the 60's and 70's. Often times, I wonder if I had a past life that took place in the 70's! I feel like we're reaching an era like the 70's now. Everyone is into rocking vintage pieces, clothing and jewelry. I love the 60's and 70's for its fashions, slang language, bold interiors, huge cars; all of that funk!
How important is it for African Americans to have jewelry that reflects who we are and our culture?
I think African Americans can wear jewelry and anything for that matter and make it ours. We can throw on a sweatsuit and a Chinese jade necklace and be fresh! I'm glad to see the resurgence of African prints, Navajo patterns and more. When I was a teen these items were mocked because they were so opposite of the European styles the mall sold. I think its important for us to wear what reflects us, be it metaphysical crystals or antiqued brass.
What is your favorite item to make and what is your favorite piece that you have made thus far and why?
I love creating earrings with faces. As a graphic designer there's nothing like having a vision, rendering it, then seeing it manifest.
As a Black woman and business owner, how has your experience been owning and operating your own business?
I've had a wonderful time running my business. I think its because I'm the sole owner and only employee (smile). This means I have full creative reign, marketing, and financial power of my business.
What kind of advice would you give to people out there that may be interested in owing their own business based around their own personal creations?
This is a good time in the world for Black women to start their own businesses and utilize their creative skills. Find your niche and research it. Analyze what makes your business different from someone else's. Perfect your product, master it.
Do you have any new items that you are currently making?
I've been working on a new collection for Winter. I'll also relaunch the home decor section of my site soon. Sometimes I shell out pieces one after another. Other times I wait for the inspiration and vision to move me. I guess you could say I'm trying to be like Maxwell and D'Angelo, hahaha.
What are your futures plans and dreams for Charisma Eclectic?
I love seeing my goods in boutiques so I'm working toward landing more wholesale accounts especially overseas. And of course I dream of my fave female celebs in my pieces!
Quote that you live by:
"Be and it is." -Bible
"Be and it is." -Bible
Thank you so much, Clara for doing Purpleskyyys's first interview! It was truly a pleasure and I wish you love and luck in your future endeavors with Charisma Eclectic.
To check out more of Clara's amazing creations, peep:
Email her: email@example.com