Chantale Escobar, Designer, Eclectique Collection

My name is Chantale Escobar and I run my jewelry business, Eclectique Collection.

Thinking back to 2010, where I only made jewelry for fun, you know the way art always begins; I can’t help but think about how narrow my sight really was, even though I was becoming more and more alive with each piece I created. When I started to sell a lot of my pieces on Etsy, my father started to see where I could really go with all of it, definitely quicker than I did or even wanted to admit. He said, “Okay, now I understand that what you’re creating and selling is one-of-a-kind – but how can you teach this to ten people so they can produce more to keep up with the demand?” I was like, “Um, I don’t know, what do you mean?” Not only that, I use vintage and broken jewelry – how do I teach what’s in my head, and ‘recreate’ something that was once broken or vintage?”

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To be honest, he kind of scared me. My father was a really amazing businessman, so his wheels were turning faster than my fingers were willing to go, let alone my heart.  He told me, “You’ve got to do this, and this, and that.” I just kept saying, “Can’t I just have fun, make jewelry and art?” All of this made me run into a corner where I allowed excuses to keep a dream from being birthed for far too long. I quickly found how hard it was to try to mesh your artistic side that comes naturally to you, with a business side that is an art in itself, and one not every artist is willing to bow down to.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the world really loves the idea of everything handmade, but they still want a factory outcome. It’s been a struggle to keep up, I’m not going to lie. I wish I could make jewelry all day, but the reality is that the bills need to be paid and I only have two hands.

My goal has been to get up and spend some time with God before I do anything. Almost like winding down to wind up. I really try to hear from Him before I hear myself. Those days when I worship in the morning and I just give myself to God, there’s really nothing else like it. It’s just getting up that’s the hard part. Most creatives, like myself, are night owls and I’m finding that the more I put in that sacrifice to get up early and sit still, it’s so much better for my work. There’s nothing else like it because there are no distractions.

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Before I start creating, I more or less know where I’m going with what I’m going to make. You can say that I am mentally in my head all day long, because I’m that person that pays attention to every detail in your outfit, or if the clasp on your necklace is near the pendant. The truth is, I don’t really sketch anything out; only the technical stuff, like when I make the camera necklace and the name necklaces – you have to think 3D to make 3D.

I also have antique and vintage broaches like crazy. I’ll have a certain idea in my head of what I want or need to make, and then lay them out and play around, pre-designing as I go. Then I’ll say, “Okay this is what I want to create.” It just all comes together, like one perfect marriage, and within that perfecting takes a lot of patience.

The bib necklaces are the most time consuming and the most difficult because you want them to be bold without being overwhelming. I personally can wear something bold, just about every day of the week. But I quickly found that not everyone is that way. I realized that I had to learn how to design simple, and the more I did so, the more I wanted to learn the art of simple. A lot of people go with safe jewelry because they love trends, but it’s also why people usually look the same. I try to embrace simplicity with uniqueness as much as I can.

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I never really thought about the background of my parent’s cultures in having an influence on my designs because I am quite Americanized. But the more I think of it, I guess I would have to say that my Haitian culture has inspired my creativity more than a bit. Plain and simple, Haitian women are not simple. I have my [Haitian] aunt’s name, which you actually pronounce as Sha-thal. It’s French. Her dresses were couture and her jewelry was and still is just amazing. It was bold, funky, and chunky – just delicious all in one – and always real! [Laughs]. There’s also my love for art and color from my Colombian side. But to be honest, my cultures don’t really affect my designs that much, but I believe they do evoke the richness of both sides of my parents because that’s who I am.

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Right now, I can say that I really desire a business partner. I’m not just going to jump at anybody; they have to be as dedicated to building us up to higher and better levels. Their strengths have to be my weaknesses and vice versa. I just know that being the only one can be a lonely place because there’s only so much you can do at a time, and if you’re not 100% dedicated, it will show.  Whenever I do craft shows, networking events, pop-up shops, or fashion shows, it’s usually always me and him, [pointing to her son], but most of the time it’s just me. I have had really amazing support from friends and family throughout the years, but you know, it’s not always the same as a business partner.

I will say, and this is something people who want to start a business should know, it’s isolating building your own brand and the truth is that no one will put the same effort into it as you will. I encourage you to plant your seed in good soil, and to keep watering it with hard work. I promise you, when you believe in the dream inside of you, others will too. Matter of fact, they will remind you of it when things get hard. Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur, and that’s OK because then there would be bosses everywhere and no workers. But if you hear the call, pick up because you just might find your future self on the other line waiting for you.