We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Fox and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
What was I thinking and where was I in my life when I started my business.
Between the ages of 50 and 55 my life changed dramatically. I got divorced. I lost my
business in the computer industry. I filed both personal and corporate bankruptcy which I
spend 3 years working in a call center in sales to repay. My physical health temporarily
When life started to stabilize at 55, I realized that I was at the end of what I thought my life
had been and it was time to figure out what my life would be.
After I paid off the bankruptcy and got my health back, I felt stable. I then received a call
that my mother’s husband had died suddenly, and she was left alone. I took family medical
leave to deal with her needs. My mother’s health failed precipitously, and she was dead
within 3 months.
I was at a pivot point. The money that was left to my brother and I would allow me to live a
very careful limited life. After going through the turmoil of the prior years it looked
comforting to think of that.
Or, I could design a life that fulfilled some of the dreams that I had.
I asked myself the question, “What would I regret not having done on the day of my death?”
and I started planning from there.
I had always worked with my hands and the last few years had been making jewelry, first
stringing beads, then learning how to cast jewelry and finally some basic silver smithing. My
supply of metal mostly came from old ugly family jewelry. I had started to sell some of my
work and knew if I wanted to learn more, I needed to find a school.
I went up on the internet and found schools all over. I called a school in southern California
and questioned them. I did not know who they were, and I wanted to make sure that they
would teach me what I needed to know. They were expensive. The salesperson was very
convincing, and I told her I would check them out. I flew to San Diego and rented a car. I
drove to Carlsbad and looked up on the top of the hills over the flower fields at an
enormous series of buildings that looked like they stretched a mile. OMG GIA – Gemological
Institute of America was REAL.
I sold my house in Phoenix, gathered up my funds and arrived at GIA the beginning of 2004.
I spent a year and a half there taking design and gemology classes and graduated with
several diplomas. Being 20 to 30 years older than most of the students kept me focused as
there wasn’t much of a social life.
I then went to Revere Jewelry Academy to learn more about traditional jewelry
It has been 16 years since then and there have been many ups and downs. I have traveled
t0 many shows in the USA. Taught classes in jewelry making. Purchased another company
that enhanced my jewelry line. I specialize in clasps and findings but also make rings,
pendants, earrings, and beaded work.
I have had financial success and failure. I have won several international design awards. I
filed bankruptcy again, due to issues of being overcharged by my primary vendor. I moved
out in the country in Arizona and live in a double wide manufactured home, a much simpler
and more affordable life than I had before. I have gotten older and yet I still love the thought
process of design and the dialogue with my customers.
Nothing I learned in the past is wasted. My computer skills have allowed me to make
websites and design using Computer Aided Design. My English diploma allows me to write.
Newsletters and marketing materials. My years in sales allow me to sell my work.
This is what I am doing so that I have as few regrets as I can possibly have on the day I die.
There is no plan B.
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 as a silver smith but my hands started failing so I use a $9000 piece of Computer Aided Design software to create my designs. It gives me the freedom to take a sketch or photo and scan it into the computer where I can use it as a reference to create a piece of jewelry There are 3 photos in the selection that I am sending you that show this progression.
I have been using CAD as a tool for 16 years now. This set is called the doodle and it started with a drawing I did with a felt tip pen and it became rings and bracelets.
The files I create go to a man in Colorado who takes the info from the CAD files and makes waxes. They then go to one of two casting houses in Albuquerque where they are lost wax cast into finished jewelry or clasps and other components. My work is usually cast in solid silver or bronze.
I create pieces of jewelry to show my clients how to use the components that I create.
I also do custom design for other designers who want specific elements for their work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in the country in Arizona. I have many choices for guests, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. There is so much beauty to choose from.
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?
There are two glass artists that I think deserve shout out. Bronwen Heilman and Bandhu Dunham. Both are phenomenal artist who create beauty.