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

Hi Kim, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Always Keep Going! I refuse to give up, to the point it makes me crazy!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My “real job” is a flight attendant with a major US carrier, This will be my 28th year! I am one of those people who needs variety and cannot function in the day in day out, same routine, hum drum stuff, so this really is the perfect fit for me. Being a flight attendant has challenged every level of my patience when it comes to customer service, it has blessed me with a flexible schedule so I could be home for my kids when they were little and has been the perfect “escape” when Mom just needs a 30 hour layover in Hawaii. As much as I dream about devoting more time to my jewelry business I still see my real job as an outlet to recharge. Thankfully, I think I have found the hectic but tolerable balance between flying and making jewelry. Making more pieces is not my goal but making pieces that have had the time and energy to evolve to their full potential is. Less is more and I believe that it shows.

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?
I am a outdoor girl and prefer spots off the beaten path. I am most happy in smaller and more quaint little places even if it is in my own backyard. Arizona hosts the best sunsets anywhere and has a variety of rock formations, forests and picturesque deserts. If you happen to be one of my out of town friends it will most likely involve one of those outings and a bottle of wine of course. But if by chance, you happen to be here in January or February you most likely get to see a rock and gem show!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Cheri Montgomery with the Gilbert Art Walk has hands down been the biggest influence in encouraging me to “Just take that next step”. I had already been silver smithing and making jewelry for over 20 years. At the time, I was selling my pieces at a handful of small shows, small businesses and home boutiques. My dream of turning jewelry into an official business was something more or less out of my realm and unattainable for someone like me. Not talented enough, not smart enough, not enough time, when the kids are grown etc. The great unknown of a business was intimidating. Cheri spent hours on the phone with me answering my questions about operating a “real business”, always positive and encouraging my abilities “You can do this” she would say. “just take that next step” I am not going to lie and say I was not scared to jump but I did. My first season was amazing despite the fact that I still did not have a cell phone and could not take credit cards! My business has not only grown every year but it has flourished. I come home from my shows filled with gratitude from friends, customers and the community in general. But my biggest thanks will always be to Cheri. I would not be where I am had it not been for her.

Website: kimsgemz.etsy.com
Instagram: @kimsgemz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kimsgemz/