We had the good fortune of connecting with JC Ortiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JC, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The ultimate freedom is taking risks however you want and never being afraid of imperfection. Our entire foundation of our business is based on risk. It’s about putting on a ring and walking out the door and facing the day with zero fear, unafraid of judgement or anything that the fashion industry imposes and tries to scare you into thinking about yourself.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started making rings just from watching YouTube videos, I’m largely self taught through trial and lots of error but found mentors in these videos and jewelers willing to share their knowledge. Two of my key favorite persons who taught me even how to handle a torch and how to do jewelry business were Michael Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald jewelry in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Tracie Campbell of Brooklyn Charm (now located in Ventura CA). They showed me how to make a living doing what you love and that the possibilities are endless when you follow your dreams. I have a rough luxe aesthetic that has evolved with Pia into gemstone, large king ring pieces that are these trophies and talismans that walk with us and are symbolic of showing up and being present in this world. Our pieces are more about the meaning and story than they are about fashion and that sentiment is crucial to our business. It’s what we stand for. We hand engrave every piece so no two pieces are the same. Each gemstone is carefully curated for the nature and person that it is for. I got here by investing all my energy, time and money into making rings, and paying my rent typically two weeks late, eating chicken casserole for weeks on end. When I started I was designing well but there is so much infrastructure into building a sense of trust where someone wants to buy something from you, that it was a lot updating Etsy and websites and doing markets that it took two years until someone actually purchased something.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We live in New Mexico currently and where we are is truly alpine and high desert. Spending as much time reuniting with nature would be a must with San Antonio hot springs up in the Jemez, White Sands (thé largest gypsum field on the planet) in Southern New Mexico, Tent Rocks outside of Albuquerque. Bisty Badlands up by Farmington, the world of Georgia O’Keefe up at Abiquiu/ Pedernel Peak and Ghost Ranch. Rio Grande Studios in Albuquerque for our musician friends is the best music studio in the South West and is a true southwestern experience. Rust is Gold for coffee/tea and shoppable goods while down there. We’d head to 10 Thousand Waves in Santa Fe for a spa day, walk the plaza and Canyon Road. We’d go to Taos, stopping at Momo (A luxury shoppable, curated gallery), grabbing chocolate at Chokola (bean to bar chocolate) and stopping off at Ampersand for curated Vintage and Mid Century modern testaments to time. We’d end Our days with sipping Tequila made by friends at Tepozan Tequila.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shout out PÏA, Instagram handle @pia_armor, my lady. She has founded a design studio and jewelry atelier of objects of resilience and quiet rebellion, to help unleash the supernature in the wearer. It’s an empowering line that also features a self defense collection.
Images Courtesy of Brooklyn Smithy LLC