When I made my business plan for Ready to Stare all the way back in 2011, I made three 3-6 month goals: set up an online shop, sell my goods in a local boutique and do a craft show. The opportunity to accomplish that third goal came when I met Jaki Capozzoli. We happened to both work in the editorial department at Groupon and when we found each other, we connected immediately. I was extremely green. Ready to Stare was a newborn at that point but Jaki had two years of experience running a jewelry business under her belt and a lifetime of leathercrafting in her blood.

Jaki and I ended up driving from Chicago to Indianapolis together in June of 2012 to be vendors at the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange. I was so new that I didn't even have a sign for our tent but I'll never forget that Jaki made a sign for both of us the night before the show in our hotel room and I loved it so much, I used it for the next year. We participated in Pitchfork together later that summer and this past year, she coached me through my first experience at POOL Tradeshow as part of Magic Market Week. I've learned so much from her over the years. Jaki was the first fellow jewelry designer I ever connected with and truly realized then how important it is to build relationships with people who you can bounce ideas of off who know what you're going through.

Jaki's brand, JAKIMAC, began when she started recycling leather scraps from her family's shoe repair shop and making them into jewelry. I have always admired the craftmanship of her work. And it's been amazing to watch her brand grow in the nearly three years I've know her! In addition to jewelry, she now makes body harnesses, suspenders, belts, and even a leather crown!

It's easy to see by looking at JAKIMAC that Jaki has artistic vision. But what I have always admired about Jaki is her work ethic, dedication and resilience. She takes change in stride and is comfortable taking risks. I am truly honored to call Jaki my friend and my colleague.


Custom Five Chain Drape Harness by JAKIMAC

Vintage Green Envelope Clutch by Ready to Stare

Layered Chain Necklace by Ready to Stare

Leather skirt by Simply Be


 This post was originally published on December 8, 2014.