We had the good fortune of connecting with Xutšu & Heather and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Xutšu & Heather, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Energy flows where the attention goes as they say. There is nothing more true with our experience in building “SwaxStone” a rock-shop and more. Not unlike learning a second language, why not move to Mexico if one wants to learn Spanish? Well, our lapidary business grew and evolved the more time and energy we put into it… we went to the rocks.
As we worked to try and put it together, we realized pretty early on that we had to make what we wanted the priority, part of who we are. We had to start taking ourselves and our own ideas seriously. As we immersed ourselves more and more into the lapidary world natural progression took over and the ideas flowed; from flint-knapping to stone knives, cutting cabochons, jewelry making, silver-smithing, bead-work, leather-work and more. Welcomed connections were made and the possibilities abound.
With great success there is so often some risk taken. There comes that time to “Cut the cord!” with the basic job, with your boss & that good ol’ dependable salary. Get a little uncomfortable and start depending on yourself. We literally mined our own business! But that starts with a leap of faith in ones own ideas, the ability to acknowledge ones own projected limitations and keep grinding through regardless of the immediate return. Reinvesting time and resources is a must and with patience, always pays off. It really has been the hardest obstacle, finding the balance between time, money, where to put it and when. Because we loved doing it all and were eager to learn all the tricks of the trade, focusing in on one idea was absolutely necessary in building a baseline income. We had to put that energy in one direction. After dabbling in all things rocks, we decided to narrow in on stone-cutting, setting a high standard in creating beautiful polished cabochons, stones we would set in our own handmade jewelry. It’s those subtle nuances, the quality and the care we put into it we hoped would shine through to our customers, not to mention the natural beauty of Mother Nature!
Consistency. Consistency is by far what has enabled us to reach the goals that we have and continue to set for ourselves.
The rock business has been so giving to us. The ability to see an opportunity and have the will to jump on it is a muscle we have beefed up and intend to keep strong. In retrospect how we have made it thus far is a beautiful journey, a lifestyle with twists turns and great adventures. We are by no means some massive business moving 100’s of thousands of carats nor do we have lots of employees… but, consistency = growth and we welcome it. We are simply and happily working artists that answer to no one, we wake up when we want, work when we want, and enjoy life. We are so thankful to our amazing customers that feel more like a circle of friends and have so much gratitude for our family, friends and invitations around the country and the world. We travel all over to meet people and talk rocks, search for rocks and share the knowledge. Who we are and where we are in this adventure is the reward.
To us, this is success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
we live and play rurally. we go to ghost towns, old abandoned mines and we love traveling real fast on dirt roads. we like to travel to places where you may not see another person for weeks. we try and stay out of the cities, there is not much use for us there, we love history and for us small historic towns are where it’s at! the southwest is so amazing. when our friends visit we will usually visit museums shoot bows on our property and or visit a national monument or go try and find a new kind of rock that will take a polish! there is limitless things to do and see in the southwest!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s a long list of folks and life changing events that helped shape us into what we are today. The rock business is so giving and has been so supportive we could go on for ever. So we will try and keep it brief. Shout out to Ralph Lawless, Dog Valley Dick, Larry Carnes Pottery, Ojai Raptor Center, Kyle Jewkes Jewelry, Emory Coons Lapidary, David and Lizzy Otteson. Big shout out to the late Dean Otteson. And to all of our other family and friends living and late that let us crash on couches, set up pop up shows and temporary outside shops, so that we could cut and chip stones for last minute events like a couple of broke gypsies.
Instagram: @swaxstone , @heathermarshallarts