We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Laufer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I first started making jewelry I was in college and taking a 3D art class. Once I got into making pieces I wanted to wear, others started expressing liking it and wanting pieces for themselves. This happened often enough and I enjoyed making these early pieces, that I decided to expand my knowledge of jewelry making techniques. If I could successfully make profit while keeping the love of creating intact, creating a business seemed like the next level to accomplish. The love of making jewelry and seeing the enjoyment of my customers fuels my desire to keep my business going.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Initially when creating my work, it was a form of therapy and was just plain fun. Over time as I received positive feedback from my pieces, I came to slowly come into the development of a business. I love creating art, however the path to creating a business was not easy and still proves to give me challenges from time to time. The aspects of marketing in a social media world is one of the challenges I come up against. When I started my business I had just had our first child. I now have a 7yo and 2yo with a husband that leaves town for days at a time for work. Needless to say the work life balance is a challenge. Much of my inspiration for my work comes from shapes I see in nature and in architecture. I am also inspired by the tools I work with and coming up with ways I can use them to incorporate into the shapes that most compliment the body. One lesson I have learned and continue to grow on is to see my work for the value it is. I am my own worst critic and can let that get in the way of valuing my time and work. One of the pieces I am most proud of is my Topo Cuff. It is a topographic depiction of a river section of a customer’s choice in 3 layers of solid silver. I have since turned it into a line and have made earrings and bolo ties. I have also incorporated turquoise inlay into the river section. This idea was introduced by my husband and fabricated and perfected by me in my shop. My brand is greatly influenced by the images and experiences of the outdoors. We have a wealth of inspiration and I am grateful for living in Arizona where I can step outside my door and have inspiration in every direction.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend was visiting (and it wasn’t Covid 😉 )and I wanted to give them the experience of Flagstaff and the surrounding areas, I would take them to eat breakfast at Casa Duarte. Next we would drive up Snowbowl Road and hike the Katchina Trail with a packed lunch. We would come back to town and stop at Pay n’ Take for a tase of some of the best beer in town, not to mention the best company and prices. I would then take them to dinner at Diablo Burger. The next day we would pack up our boats and head to the Verde River for a day run. Upon returning we would come to town and have drinks an dinner at Sosoba and after dinner we would shop around downtowns local shops. First we would hit up Rainbow’s End, then Mountain Sports to get any additional outdoor clothing we might need for the rest of their stay. We would also stop at Winter Sun to get any body care creams (such as sunscreen and face creams) and check out the extensive variety of South West jewelry. The help you receive at Winter Sun is always very knowledgeable, kind and welcoming. The next day we would stay around town and go on a hike or mountain bike ride at Schultz Creek then have pizza at Fratelli’s. The next day we would go to Sedona and hike the Submarine trail and grab water at the spring on the way home. We would then go back downtown and visit Uptown to play pool and have some drinks enjoying the great sprints of their bartenders. There are so many other things to do in Flagstaff and great people. Flagstaff has always given me the feeling of being friendly and kind, no matter if I am a local or tourist.
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?
My husband Mark has been a wonderful support in my move toward creating a successful business. He was present in the transformation from art to an artistic entrepreneurship. His encouragement and push for me to expand my talent has been one of the elements of developing a business that has been challenging and essential. Of course the love and support of my parents and brother have always been there and continue to be an undying flow of encouragement. Since moving to the Flagstaff community, They invited me to sell at the Flagstaff Community Market in 2014. Without this integral step into the market, I would not be where I am today. Much of my success within the community of Flagstaff is due to their faith in me and allowing me to have a space to sell my work to the public. Miranda Sweet of Rainbow’s End was the first business owner to carry my jewelry. I have been working with her since around 2015. Another support and carrier of my work is Phyllis Hogan. She has been a lover and encourager of my work since 2017. Fellow smith Jay McCormic has been a peer that has watched me grow and develop as an artist. His encouragement to push forward and create unique things has helped my confidence within this competitive field.