How She Got There: Marcia Maizel-Clarke, Founder and Owner of Dogeared Jewels & Gifts

Name: Marcia Maizel-Clarke

Job Title and Description: Founder and owner of Dogeared Jewels & Gifts College/Major: UC Santa Barbara/ Law and Society

 
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day? 
Marcia Maizel- Clarke: I founded Dogeared Jewels & Gifts, and I run it along with my husband Merlin.  When you run a company, you have a hand in every aspect of the business, so there is no such thing as a typical day.  Some days, I’m directing design or approving photography. Other days might be focused on analyzing sales or interacting with our non-profit partners.  Often, all of the above happens in a single day.  While all of this is going on, I also have to be mindful that every single piece of the puzzle is true to the overall vision and spirit of Dogeared.  It’s hard work and the hours are long, so I’m lucky that I absolutely love what I do. 
 
What is the best part of your job?
MMC: Connecting with customers is what keeps me inspired.  When someone tells me about how Dogeared jewelry has helped them mark a milestone or celebrate a special occasion – or that a favorite piece is worn every day because it has special meaning – it reminds me that we’re about way more than jewelry.
 
What inspired you to create your own jewelry line?
MMC: It was the realization that jewelry is such a unique and personal medium.  A creation can become a part of a woman’s daily ritual.  It can become a mantra, reminder or talisman, and it gives her a burst of confidence and inspiration.  It’s as much about WHY you’re wearing a certain piece of jewelry, not just what you’re wearing.  
 
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
MMC: I learned the inevitable lesson that most artists-turned-business-owners are faced with sooner or later:  how to strike a balance between creativity and fulfilling the more practical needs of running a business.  It can be a huge disappointment when your creative vision doesn’t always pan out precisely as you’d hoped, but you live and learn to take it in stride.
 
Could you walk us through the design process? How long does it take to create a new collection?
MMC: There’s really no typical design process.   We sketch out ideas and experiment with colors, materials and textures.  Certain collections might come together in a week. Others might slowly fall into place over the course of a year.  We’re all about going with the flow and seeing where the process takes us organically.  As an artist, you have to recognize when you’re forcing the issue.  You have to be able to admit something isn’t working and move on. At Dogeared, we’re pretty good at being honest with ourselves and are willing to nix what isn’t working.  Of course, sometimes the design process results in something even cooler and more amazing than we originally imagined.  It works both ways!
 
Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
MMC: That’s easy – my husband Merlin.  He’s a true visionary about issues of environmental responsibility and giving back to the community, as well as to the world at large.  His complete dedication to this mission led to Dogeared becoming a certified B Corp., and that governs every area of our business.  It augmented our brand and has become a point of differentiation that we can be proud of.  He’s taught me that you can be true to your principles and still enjoy success.    
 
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
MMC: Karma is one of our most beloved collections, and the message behind it is, “What goes around, comes around.”  That message is near and dear to my heart because it’s so true in every area of life.  Act with authenticity, integrity, love and positivity, and that’s what will come back to you.  Simple as that. 
 
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
MMC: I’m a firm believer that every mistake can shape you into a smarter, savvier and wiser person if you’re open to the lesson in it.  I guess that’s the overall lesson for me – that mistakes are part of the process and they’re part of growing, so you might as well get over your fear of them.  If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not risking very much – and that won’t take you very far.
 
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
MMC: We always want to find the most creative people with the most positive and passionate spirits.  Good energy can’t be quantified on a resume, but it’s so crucial to building a great team.  The Dogeared culture hinges on people who believe in this team and this brand.  We work hard here, but we also have fun!
 
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
MMC: I actually DO give a lot of advice to 20-somethings! My advice is always the same: put your hopes into action.  Move forward and do it.  Don’t let fear stop you – just follow your heart.  The path won’t always lead you to precisely where you imagined you’d be, but it will always lead you to where you really belong.
 
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