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Check Out Heidi Vitchner’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heidi Vitchner. 

Heidi, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
This all started by accident. Prior to 2010, roughly, I was looking for earrings to match a necklace my husband had given me. I searched every major department store as well as the smaller boutiques, to no avail. One day I was walking around our local shopping district. There was a bead shop that sold to jewelry makers but also had already made items displayed “For Sale”. I thought “what the heck” maybe they’ll have something to match the necklace. They didn’t but I did end up making my own right then and there. I was hooked. 

What struck me when I walked in was how distinctive and beautiful the jewelry was. It may sound corny or cheesy, but I was mesmerized by all the glorious gemstones and sparkle of the Swarovski crystals to say nothing of all colorful beads. I was like a kid in a candy store. 

I think it was two weeks after I made the earrings that I went back and made a necklace. I loved the creative process, starting with a handful of gemstones, wire, beads, and silver findings (chain and clasp) and ending with a finished piece of jewelry. I’ve been creating ever since. 

In 2011 I applied for my license and became Bella Rose Jewelry Design. Fun fact…Bella Rose was my Corgi’s name. 

I started by creating simple beaded pieces. It wasn’t long before I wanted to be more creative and work more with metal. I started reading “how-to” books and taking some classes. In 2012 I was accepted into my first Art Show. 

Over the years I’ve learned a lot, including how to solder. I now make all my own clasps, bails, bezels, rings, pendants, 

bangles, and cuffs. All created from sheet metal and wire. 

Then in 2015, I joined The Artisan Group. which is “a premier entertainment marketing organization on a mission to introduce Hollywood to the best of the handcrafted movement”. Since then, I’ve had 19 jewelry placements on TV, which I have to say has been pretty cool. I also participated in the Gifting Suite Event for the 2020 Oscars. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think something I created would be in the media. It’s so gratifying and it gives me a sense of validation. I’m so grateful for these opportunities. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t always been a smooth process. I’ve had many doubts about my ability, I’ve compared myself to other jewelry artists, I’ve been rejected by art show committee members and there have been many times when I’ve been frustrated over technical issues. 

I’m a one-woman show which means I’m responsible for all aspects of the business. Not only do I create my jewelry, I do all my photography and editing. I also do the descriptive writing and handle all social media. It can be overwhelming at times. 

Although I built my website (thanks to an online course), I am not at all technical. My brain just can’t comprehend any of it. Luckily, I have a “tech guy” available to handle any issues. He came with the online course 🙂 

My struggle with social media comes from being raised that it was wrong to “pat yourself on the back”, so to speak. When you own your own business, you must be able to put yourself out there. And I have a really hard time with that. Not to mention keeping up with the ever-changing social media avenues. 

I can’t say whether I’ll ever feel comfortable having my picture taken, let alone do a video. That’s something I’ll have to work on, for myself. 

At the end of the day, I absolutely love what I do. I love the whole process. It’s funny because when I’m having those rough moments and feeling my worst, something happens that changes everything. For instance, I’ll get a kind note from someone or they’ll post a pic of them wearing my jewelry and I can see the smile on their face. Or, I’ll learn a piece of my jewelry was chosen to be on TV or it’s being worn on the red carpet (that never gets old), or being featured in a magazine. And I love that my daughter and now my grandkids are asking me to make pieces for them. It’s those “feel good” moments that make it all worthwhile. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I strive to create jewelry that reflects individuality. I want the wearer to feel good about themselves, maybe feel a little more elegant, a little more confident, or maybe a little flirtier. I want her light to shine a little brighter. As women, we have many sides to our personalities. My goal is to reflect those many sides. 

Each piece I create, whether it’s a one-of-a-kind piece, a statement piece, or a minimalist piece, they all have a hand-crafted element. 

I can’t express how happy I feel when a customer posts a pic of themselves wearing my jewelry. I get to see the smile on their face. I get to see that light. 

I’m proud of all my pieces but in all honesty, some just a bit more than others. Trust me though, I’ve had my fair share of fails as well. Sometimes what I see in my head or on paper doesn’t always come to fruition. But that’s part of the process 😉 

I think my customers really enjoy the pieces that are OOAK and more artistic. The pieces that have the nature aspect to them, by that I mean leaves, also get a good response. Colorful beaded pieces go over well too. 

All the jewelry I submit to costume designers for consideration, via The Artisan Group, are more mainstream and have the ability to be recreated. 

I believe what sets me apart from other companies/businesses is my passion for animal welfare. I donate 10% of all proceeds to the League for Animal Welfare, a local “no-kill” animal shelter. Except for the pieces from my “From the Heart” collection, that 10% goes to nami.org (National Alliance on Mental Health). Both are amazing organizations. 

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
My family wasn’t well off by any means. My mom saved and saved all year so that we could go to the beach for a week. Those were my best memories. I can’t even describe how hard it was waiting for that week to arrive. The week prior my mom would buy my sister and me a teen magazine (I’m probably dating myself here) and make us wait until we left to read it. We didn’t have all the tech gadgets that we have today so reading and playing car games were all we had to pass the time. 

Anyway, we always rented the third floor of a Victorian-style home one block from the beach. We would spend every day at the beach and every night on the boardwalk. We would people watch, go window shopping, and of course, get ice cream. Every day after our showers we would take naps while my mom made dinner. There wasn’t any air conditioning so we would open all the windows to let the ocean breeze flow through. We would fall asleep listening to people walking by talking and laughing. We could hear the surf and smell the glorious salt air. It was truly the best moments of my childhood. 

One year, our parents asked, “next year would you rather go to Disney World or come back here to the beach?” Without hesitation, we both answered, “the beach.” That’s how special it was. 

Every year for the last 10 years my husband and I, along with our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren vacation at the beach. It’s truly my happy place. 

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