We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaleigh McBride and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaleigh , we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest, I never really had a thought process behind starting my own business, it just kind of happened! It all started with a passion for the ocean and a love for seashells. Back when I was in college, I would walk the beach and collect shells as a form of meditation. Being a crafty DIY person along with having an overabundance of seashells, I decided to make wire wrapped jewelry for friends and family. This was the initial spark that inspired me to create GypSea Soul Jewelry, which organically blossomed into what it is today. I’ve always liked the saying “slow and steady wins the race.” Good things take time, and if you’re persistent and consistent with your craft (whatever that may be), your effort will lead to success. Sometimes this is mentally hard because it’s easy to compare yourself to others, but you have to trust the process and enjoy the journey! I think having this mind set has really helped my business grow into what it is today. There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to starting a business. By taking it slow, you can make adjustments along the way and learn to grow with your business. Again, consistency is key. Stay with it and honor your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Every piece is handcrafted with love and inspired by the sea. I love to work with natural materials, especially shells, sea glass, and shark teeth which I hand collect beachcombing from various beaches around the world or while out diving in the ocean. Each ocean inspired piece is unique and one of a kind. I love to create jewelry pieces for like-minded ocean lovers and hope they serve as a reminder to live a happy, positive, and ocean-inspired lifestyle. Wire wrapping is my favorite method, it’s one of the oldest techniques for making handmade jewelry. I taught myself how to wire wrap through trial and error, along with some shared knowledge from other artists. I also love to make aromatherapy bracelets with natural wood beads and gemstones. I’ve worked at two different surf shops for a total of 10 years, so that really helped me learn the industry and apply learned skills to my own business. I also was able to put my jewelry in these stores and personally talk to customers about my handmade pieces (every shell has a story), which really helped me grow. Over the years of owning my own business, I’ve learned that if you love what you do, have passion and stick with it, your effort will pay off in the end! Also, just enjoy the ride! Life if about learning and growing and in this business there’s always something to learn, change and evolve.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I’m not making jewelry, I’m diving! I also own another business, Live Free Diving, where I teach people how to SCUBA and Freedive. I love sharing my passion for diving and the ocean with others, so naturally I always take my friends diving! One of my favorite dive spots is Blue Heron Bridge, I have dove this spot hundreds of times but it never gets old! It’s accessible to anyone and it’s a short swim from shore. There’s always so much life to see under the bridge and along the snorkel trail. I love taking people here because its perfect for beginners or advanced divers. For my certified dive friends, I would take them out on one of my favorite dive charters, Calypso Dive Charters out of Riviera Beach Marina, to do a 2 tank dive. There are some beautiful reefs and vibrant shipwrecks located off the coast of West Palm Beach! Hopefully we would bring home some fresh Lobster for dinner too! I love being outside on any kind of outdoor adventure. I would take my friends to John D. MacArthur State Park to go kayaking, paddle boarding or walk the nature trail. There are some really good shells in South Florida, so naturally we would go beach combing too! Afterwards we could head to Grand View Public Market to sample local flavors and visit some of Palm Beach’s most unique business. This is such a cool spot! It’s an industrial style market that has yummy food, events, live music, yoga, and it’s a great happy hour spot. There’s also a super cute store Gypsy Life Surf Shop, where I also sell some of my jewelry!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Special shoutout to two boss babes, Samantha Mclnnis from The Clay Cache & Michelle Oprisi from Vita Di Amore. At first, I was a tad bit intimidated to try selling my jewelry at arts and crafts shows and festivals, but these two were so encouraging and helpful with tips and tricks of the trade. My mentors even let me borrow equipment until I finally invested in my own! Since they had experience with shows, they kept me in the loop about what future events to attend. I also attended my first overnight, two day art show, Deerfield Beach Festival of the Arts, with them being tent neighbors. I was a bundle of nerves preparing for this event but Michelle and Sam were both such a HUGE help with preparation. We ended up having extremely strong wind gusts that weekend (of course!) that would have lifted away my tent and supplies if it wasn’t for their help of filling buckets with sand and water, ratchet straps, and other tips! You don’t think about the little things and all the prep that goes into events until you’ve actually experienced it. I’m forever grateful these ladies were so generous with their knowledge and helped me get the ball rolling when I first started out. They are both so inspiring and have beautiful work, make sure to check them out!
Instagram: @gypsea.soul.jewelry @underseakeke
Facebook: Gypsea Soul Jewelry