We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Autry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Trust the timing of your life” – Anonymous I don’t know who said it or where I first heard it, but this quote has been one that I find myself repeating over and over again throughout the years. It has given me a good perspective in all things personal and business helping me to find patience in times of struggle and courage in times of change. I’ve come to believe that what we want in life is about timing and trusting in that gives me peace. The timetable may not be what I want or would choose but that is where the trust comes in. I put the intention of what I want to happen out in the form of a prayer, and then let go of the result. I know that when the timing is right, it will happen if it is meant to be. Tuning in is an important piece to this outlook. Change can happen slowly or it can happen overnight but either way I must be prepared for the shift. This happens only by continually working on my goals, practicing my craft and listening to my gut. I do believe as a woman, mother, and business owner – I can have it all… just not all at the same time. I can savor each part my life if I trust that there is time for it all. Staying present, not wishing away one part to take part in another. I could not have had the time or the patience to have started my metalsmithing journey back when my kids were little, but now with their budding independence it was the perfect time for me to learn new techniques, hone my skills and start a creative business that would allow me to focus less on them and more on my newfound venture. Sometimes trusting the timing of your life means that even if it’s scary, when an opportunity presents itself, you have to act quickly and jump right in. It is really easy to stay where we are comfortable. But growth does not happen when we stay in our comfort zones. When we are in alignment with our gifts and purpose it seems that opportunities start to present themselves easily. There have many times in the last 3 years that I have found myself saying yes to things that I had no idea how I was going to do it. But because I believed in myself. I seemed to have figured it out. There were failures along the way, but the idea is to keep on going until it works. I quickly learned that these are the projects that turn out to be the most successful ones in the end. Looking back on my life I also realize how timing came into play and worked in my favor with situations I thought I wanted so badly but for some reason or another, it didn’t work out. As disappointed as I was at that moment, down the road I realized how grateful I am that what I had thought was the right decision for me would have taken me down the absolute wrong path. Don’t get discouraged by obstacles. Do yourself a favor and believe in your heart that you must TRUST THE TIMING OF YOUR LIFE.
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 “Touch of Wonder Designs” back in September 2017 on a quiet Saturday afternoon by creating an Etsy shop with the intention that if I had (1) order a month I would be happy. I had been practicing hand-stamping on aluminum metal discs throughout the summer and made some bracelets and necklaces for friends. I always had this dream of having a home-based creative business since my kids were small but the timing was never right…Until it was. I started to feel this internal nudge in my gut to start it. So, I did! It took a very long week of coming up with a business name, tag-line, products to list, photos of my work, descriptions, pricing, packaging etc… to fill my shop with items to sell. but it came together with the help of my husband and lots of coffee. I went LIVE and within 10 minutes of promoting my shop on my personal Facebook page I got my first order for a mixed metal hand stamped mother’s bracelet. By the end of the week I had 5 more and since then I have received continuous orders and have grown to selling on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram and my own website www.touchofwonderdesigns.com with over 90 items listed for sale. Most items are custom made-to-order pieces that I work one-on-one with my clients to create meaningful pieces that will last for years to come. The hardest and easiest part of my business is bringing a customer’s vision to life. They may have seen something on someone or in a picture that captured their eye and they would like to recreate it. It is my job to pull out their vision by asking a lot of questions to get it right. No matter how pretty I think it is, I am always a little bit nervous at the unveiling, which is hard yet is a part of the process that I love as well. The most challenging thing I have encountered so far in having a small business is learning my worth. Pricing out my work for one of a kind pieces is by far my Achilles heel. I am getting better at it but it takes time to build the confidence to say “my work is valued at $____”. I see pieces similar to mine that are priced so much higher and think “YES! good for you” because I know the time and love that went into the piece. I need to have that same outlook on my own goods. Being a one-woman show has its challenges too. But really, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I absolutely love having my studio in my home, under the same roof with my family. It’s having the flexibility to work in the mornings or late into the nights. The world is changing at lightning pace and with so much sadness and unrest since the Pandemic of 2020 hit, it is hard to find motivation in even the smallest things. But then I go into my little studio, my refuge and without thinking my hands start to work, my heart opens up and I find beauty in creating meaningful pieces for loved ones as well as for people I have never met. I am so grateful that I trusted the timing of my life, jumped in and created this business because it has become my personal freedom.
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?
We moved to Arizona from Southern California in August of 2006 and I have come to love the serene desert with all its vast beauty. To me it is calming and peaceful and it has become my HOME. There is always something to do, somewhere to go and when friends or family come to visit, we have a list of places we love to take them. Since we live in the most northern part of Phoenix our first stops are usually to the rustic and quaint town of Cave Creek where it is filled with shops, boutiques, restaurants, bars and coffee shops all with an authentic southwestern flair. Our favorite stops are The Grotto Café for coffee on their beautiful patio surrounded with desert landscape. We love El Encanto for a great Mexican meal or Tonto Grill & Bar located on the Rancho Manana Golf Course. A fun and exciting treat for guests is the evenings that bring out the cowboys and bull riding. Sit ring side at the Buffalo Chip Saloon for some good ol’ fashion fun “yee haw!” A day at Lake Pleasant is one of our favorite things to do. Rent a boat, paddleboards or kayaks at the harbor and make a day lounging on the pristine water surrounded by amazing desert views. There are (2) restaurants located on the lake for dining if we decide not to pack a cooler. We love to visit downtown Phoenix, catch a ball game and eat at any one of the amazing restaurants. From small bistros like Pizza Bianco to many of the elegant upscale dining Eateries. A favorite for large parties is “The Duce”. An old warehouse turned inside/outside casual dining experience. With large picnic tables, bars, a dance floor, games, boxing ring and stage – it is a bunch of fun for the whole family. If weather permits, there are hundreds of hiking trails to explore all over the Phoenix Metro area. But our favorite, yet most challenging with breathtaking views is Camelback Mountain. We will also take our friends to the popular tourist attractions like Topgolf, OdySea Aquariam, the various museums, casinos and the historic Downtown Scottsdale. A very fun yet relaxing adventure is to spend a few hours tubing down the Salt River. A natural running river where we rent inner tubes and then are bussed up to the top location which allows for 4 hours of relaxing tubing downstream. The untouched desert landscape is serene and peaceful. We will witness wildlife all around us including wild horses that come down to the waters edge. At the end of a busy week I love to book a day at my favorite day spa at the JW Marriott Camelback. One spa service allows access to the world-renowned spa with it’s various pools, jacuzzi’s, quite room, fitness center, steam rooms, whirlpools etc…
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?
To my husband, Paul Autry ~ the #1 reason that I followed my calling into the world of handmade jewelry design. A wise businessman himself who I turn to for daily consultation for his ideas on sales & marketing. He is the love of my life, my partner in parenting and my biggest fan who encourages, supports and celebrates my talents. To the best and most important teachers of my lifetime: My kids ~ Josh, Jordan and Ethan and to the staff at Harold Studio in Phoenix, Az for teaching me the fundamentals of metalsmithing that allowed me build on my craft.