We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Schmidt and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks have always been something that I stay away from I loved playing it safe and I was definitely a person who loved to stay under the radar. After starting Hidden Gems all of that changed and I’ve never been happier about taking a risk in my life. When I first started making jewelry I never planned on selling it. I was embarrassed and I didn’t want people to judge what I was making and I was afraid that no one would like it and it wasn’t going to go anywhere. My roommates at the time were constantly encouraging me to put myself out there and start an Instagram for my jewelry and just see what happens. I finally agreed but I said “as long as I can keep it anonymous”. Looking back on that statement i laugh because if that’s how I would have kept it I don’t think I would have had nearly the amount of success I do know. I have made so many friends along the way and I’m continuing to meet so many amazing people through my jewelry. I now live by the little phrase “no risk, no magic” and just that has helped me grow in my confidence and career so much over the past 11 months. It’s crazy to me how one decision/risk can completely change your life.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make handmade jewelry. All my material is non tarnish and is made out of sterling silver, gold, and gold filled. I am a self taught silver smith and I am constantly learning new techniques and ways to improve my craft. I am a size inclusive brand which means I can make any size that you are and at markets and stores I carry sizes 3-13. I got to where I am today but a lot of encouragement and support and a ton of passion and hard work. I am still not where I want to be in my career but just getting to where I am now hasn’t been easy but it’s been the best time of my life. I love the phrase “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, and that’s how I feel. I’ve learned a lot along the way about myself and about jewelry and gemstones. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is it’s okay to give yourself a little break every once in a while. As a creator and designer it can be hard to rest because you are always thinking of new ideas and ways to improve and it can start to consume your life, which isn’t always a bad thing just make sure you have boundaries. One think I want the world to know about my brand is that it’s so different than buying from a big company. When you order from me I’m so excited it feels like my first order everytime I get the notification I think that’s what is really special about hidden gems and other small businesses like mine, that we actually care about you and are excited that you chose us. Before starting Hidden Gems I was really struggling at college. I was in counseling struggling with a lot of different mental health issues and my counselor told me to find an outlet and so I did and that doesn’t mean everything is better all the time, but it has helped in ways I couldn’t have even imagined. it has given me confidence and a purpose to help other people feel confident through pretty jewelry.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friend was visiting me I would take them to culinary dropout for food because I think that place is so fun and I love the atmosphere there. For drinks I would say we would go to Dutch bros. we would have to do an escape room at escapology and rent scooters on mill ave in Tempe.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many people that I am grateful for that have encouraged and kept me passionate about my journey. A few of those people include my roommates who helped me gain the confidence to start selling my jewelry Rileigh Maples, Victoria Gahm, Jaycie Forrester. The others are my parents they keep me motivated and constantly encourage me in my jewelry dreams no matter how crazy they get their names are Jack & Annette Schmidt. Another person who has stayed up late nights with me packing orders and constantly there to encourage me and help me anyway he can is Dylan Orawiec.

Website: https://www.hiddengemsjewelry.shop/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_hidden.gems__/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.