Welcome and hello!
My name is Mike, the owner/operator of Good Girl Jewelry and welcome to the GGJ blog! I thought about what the first blog post for this site would be and, honestly, the best idea I could conjure (given the current time and mind-state) was to tell you all about how I got started in jewelry crafting, how I landed on the Good Girl brand, and maybe even some Jeep stories.
Back in 2012, I was living in San Jose, California and I was looking for a new hobby. I was working in San Francisco and had recently finished liquidating my thrift-store inventory. (Who other story, that.) I was starting to sniff around at different hobbies looking at dog training, leatherworking, lapidary, etc. In other words, I was open to just about anything.
Instead, I moved to Mexico.
I packed up my dog, my motorcycle, and my computers and jumped in the car, and headed south. I lived just outside Puerto Nuevo for a few years before moving to Primo Tapia, just a block off the ocean beach. While there, I re-visited my desire to find a new hobby and settled on jewelry-crafting. Specifically, I began with wire-wrapping and rock-polishing as I didn't even know how to solder.
But first, I needed a jeweler's bench. So, I built one. I downloaded some horribly-incorrect plans from the internet, trundled off to the nearest Home Depot, bought my lumber and supplies, and spent the next couple weekends, ending up with this:
Once I had the bench, I started ordering the tools and materials I would need to begin crafting. I started with a copy of the book: Simple Soldering: A Beginner's Guide to Jewelry Making which taught me how to solder, among other things... After completing all the projects in the book, I moved on to the next book: Metalsmithing Made Easy: A Practical Guide to Cold Connections, Simple Soldering, Stone Setting, and More!. This book taught me some basic stone settings, riveting, and some tougher soldering challenges.
I had a brief go at wire-wrapping and I made a few early pieces that were, let's say, not pleasurable to the human eye? Wire wrapping requires a level of patience that I apparently lack. Also unhelpful was that I didn't own a lapidary wheel or cutting implement. Wrapping raw, tumbled stones, is not for the faint of heart. Or at least a stone-cold beginner. (/snareDrum)
I continued to learn through-out all of 2016, 2017, and by 2018, I had started making pieces that weren't so hideous I could offer them to friends. Close friends. As in, very good friends who, like your mother, would tell you how much they love whatever it is you handed them they will cherish it forever. Those kinds of friends.
Also, in 2018, I relocated (back) to Texas, the DFW Metroplex. I continued honing my jewelry skills and began working with silver and making gifts that I was able to send out for Christmas to distant family members without feeling too worried about if they would love it. (They did!)
In 2019, I bought a new Jeep Wrangler JL Sport. The last Jeep I drove was in 1977 courtesy of the US Army. Anyway... I started off-roading almost immediately and quickly developed a strong love for the Jeep and the off-roading as a sport and the people in the sport. I also started looking at the existing jewelry specific to the Jeep brand and noticed a missing niche for my jewelry. That's when I came up with the idea of a Jeep cuff - a copper bracelet that was nitty enough, gritty enough, macho enough (I form the bracelet over an old Harley piston!), for a Jeep-riding, trail-conquering hero!
At least that's the hope... I also collected some of my popular product requests as released them as fine-jewelry on the newly created website.
The Jeep'ing has been an absolute blast! I have my two good girls:
They accompany me on weekend trips where we go camping and share a (large) tent at night. That's Gracie on the left, she's my 3-year-old yellow Labrador whose purpose in life is to show you how much happier petting her will make you. Bella, on the right, was my 7-year-old German/Belgian Shepard mix. Bella was my protector, my friend, and my rock. Unfortunately, Bella passed away from cancer in March 2020 at the age of seven and I've missed her every day since.
Towards the end of 2019, I had my fill of Texas and moved back to Mexico. I live in Northern Baja and am currently looking for a plot of land so I can start building my retirement home, complete with a jewelry studio! I hope to retire in a few years and continue working in jewelry for as long as I can. After 40 years of writing software, I need to do something that doesn't involve sticking my head in a screen all day. I wanted to work with my hands to make a tangible product that would make people smile. Hopefully, I am able to accomplish this with my jewelry.
For every sale made via the website (which is the only sales venue) for Good Girl Jewelry, I donate a significant portion of the sale to Service Dogs, Inc., a Texas-based non-profit that provides hearing and service dogs to Texas veterans and adults. (I am a veteran and DAHH.)
Well, that about wraps up this first post. I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and how Good Girl came to be. Appreciate you reading my story... in future posts, I'll be writing about various techniques in my craft, show you my rig build-out, and maybe some stories about my good girl so stay tuned!