Ginny Rush of Liberatus Jewelry

23-year-old Ginny Rush started her own jewelry line, Liberatus Jewelry, after graduating from VCU in 2015. Read more about her and her advice on starting your own business.

 

Name: Ginny Rush

Year she graduated from VCU: May 2015

Major: Craft and Material Studies with a focus in metals. The program encompassed wood, ceramics, glass, fiber and metals. I got to do a little bit of everything, but metals was my love.  

Hometown: Mechanicsville, but I now live in the Fan.

Was metals something you were interested in beforehand?

I actually came to VCU wanting to be a sculpture major because I had heard about their sculpture program. I really liked the technical side of things and I thought sculpture was a little bit more conceptual, which is still great, but I wanted to learn practical techniques. So I took a lot of introductory classes and metal was my favorite. I had always enjoyed making jewelry when I was little, beading with plastic beads. So when I found out that metals requires the use of a torch and a saw, I thought 'let’s do that!'

What made you decide to start your own jewelry line?

I always liked making custom jewelry and had gotten requests from friends to make certain pieces. Then I discovered I could make the pieces that I wanted to make as my primary job. I’m not there yet, of course, but starting a business is the first step to having it be your full-time gig so I started in January of 2016.

Eyelet Bib Ellipse Necklace

What do you do on the side?

I’m the shop manager at the Shops at 5807; it’s a boutique where I’m able to sell my jewelry. Then I work at an art gallery on Broad Street like five blocks down which is actually a Christian missions organization and an art gallery in the same space.

What’s the inspiration behind your jewelry line?

I just love the process. A lot of the imagery was inspired by my faith: much of my visuals are interconnected circles to symbolize how we’re all connected and connected to God. One day I was making circles in Illustrator on my computer and overlapped them. Once I do the design on the computer, I print it out, glue it to the metal then hand-cut around all that I’ve printed as a means of transferring it.

Trinity Ellipse Necklace

What does Liberatus mean?

It’s Latin for liberty and freedom, so it once again ties into my faith, but also I want people to feel like themselves when they wear my jewelry and I want the pieces to be worn everyday.

What else do you enjoy doing in addition to designing jewelry?

The business stuff is so much more work than I thought it would be. I thought I’d just be in the studio designing pretty pieces but there’s taxes and coffees with people and talking to shops and networking. It was a lot more than I had expected but learning a lot has been fun.

Why did you choose VCU?

A big part of my decision was finances. It was local so I could still live at home, but the biggest draw was that VCU has the number one public art school. When I was in high school, I went to the National Portfolio Day Review that the art school does where students come from all over and they host multiple art schools and you take the day to go meet representatives from each school. You show them your work and they’ll tell you what you can improve upon. My favorite review was VCU and I thought that was a sign as it went well. Of course, they gave me stuff to work on but it just felt good being there and seeing more of Richmond.

Brass Double Ellipse Hoops

Have you always been interested in art?

Yes, I took every art class my high school had to offer, it’s always been my thing. My mom always jokes that I was destined for art school when she could leave me in a room as a baby with just crayons and I’d be fine for hours.

What did you enjoy most about VCU?

Probably the staff. These are world famous artists I get to have look at my work and shape the craft that I have fallen in love with.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I always want to say clean and modern. But when I use glass, it gets patina’d and I like how it looks so rustic after it’s been well-loved so I guess it would be boho, rustic and modern. My ideal customer is between college age students and 30-year-old professional. I just want everyone to feel pretty in my jewelry.

Silver Statement Ellipse Necklace​

Where can people see and buy your line?

So far just in store at the Shops at 5807 where I work. I’m looking at some places in Carytown to start talking to. But I have a website and Etsy, too. I really like doing shows so I can see the customer and how they look in my jewelry. If I had to pick a way to sell my stuff, it would be that.

What piece of advice would you give to striving entrepreneurs?

Have your ducks in a row before you launch. I was stuck playing catch-up at the beginning because I didn’t realize all that went into running a business. I couldn’t just be like “Here are my pretty things, buy them.” No, you need a business license, you need a federal tax ID, and I didn’t know about any of these things. So I would recommend you do some research, get someone to help you, get it figured out before launch.

What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to open a storefront?

Well, I was talking to my fiance the other day about it and he said he’d really love to run a storefront with my jewelry. The next two years’ plan would be to get married then get to a place where I could sell my jewelry and do shows. I’d also love an in-home studio because right now my studio is at Planet Zero, which I share with a friend I met in crafts at VCU.

Copper Bead Necklace

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Each week, I'll work four to five days at 5807, and the other two days are at Edit and those all end at 5-6 p.m. Evenings are either in the studio, catching up on business stuff or hanging out with my friends if I have time.

You can catch more of Ginny online at the thehivehomestore.com where she is the newly featured artist, or come see Liberatus in person at the Valentine Museum's Handcrafted Hearts event on Feb.12.

Ginny loves to help people who share her interest. If you're interested in lessons or meeting up with her to gain insight on how to create a business, her email is below. 

Contact her: [email protected]

Check out her website: liberatusjewelry.com

Etsy: etsy.com/shop/LiberatusJewelry

Instagram: @liberatusjewelry