Emily of Emerald City
I started Emily Makes Art – the umbrella brand for my original art, stationery, jewelry and crafts – in Austin back in 2009.
I have a deep passion for painting and drawing but feel just as drawn to jewelry making and other crafts. Originally from the Northeast, I’ve called Austin home since 2001. My art and poetry has been featured in Glim Magazine, Della Donna, Breadcrumb Scabs, Semantikon, and Empowerment4Women. My paintings and drawings have been displayed at Barnes & Noble stores in West Lake and Sunset Valley as well as the Channel Austin Main Gallery. I love animal rescue work, tuna melts, and Freddie Mercury.
My husband and business partner, Moise, moved to Austin in 2006 after being a successful Cajun musician in Louisiana. He’s played the Montreal Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Festival des Acadienne. Moise graduated from Loyola University with an MBA in 2005. He’s a self-proclaimed horror movie and sci-fi geek; his movie knowledge is unparalleled and he welcomes any challenge to the contrary. He loves Batman, pizza, and dancing. You can find his pop culture blog here.
Not long after marrying in 2012, we began to develop business ideas that would encompass our love of all things creative. Hence Emerald City – Custom Jewelry by Emily & Moise was born. You can visit the Emerald City page to learn more about our innovative personalized jewelry service.
How did you end up in Austin? What’s your favorite part about living in this city?
I moved to Austin in 2001 for a job. I had never been to the city before. I decided to stay because I love how accessible Austin is. There is so much you can see and do without much planning. It’s a welcoming city. Austin is a community that is always supporting new and interesting things. I also love hot weather and sunshine so this is the perfect climate for me.
Why the name ‘Emerald City’?
My husband came up with the name. He liked that it contained part of my first name in “Emerald.” We both have an obsession with the movie The Wizard of Oz. Green has always been one of my favorite colors and I think Emeralds in particular hold a certain magical connotation.
Emerald City Jewelry is run by both you and your husband. What’s it like working with your spouse? Do you guys have your own areas that you focus on within the business, or do you both have a hand in everything?
I’m very lucky in that I work extremely well with my husband. We’re usually on the same page about everything. I make all the jewelry and come up with all the designs. Therefore I also pick out all the jewelry supplies because I have the designs in my head. I’m “the artist” of the pair. Moise helps with marketing and planning our next step for the business. He has an MBA and is very experienced in the world of sales. We’re both very customer service driven and we both like coming up with special promotions and specials for our customers. Note from Amanda: speaking of special promotions, check the bottom of the page for the Emerald City April deal!
You mention on your blog that you’ve started several small businesses in the past – can you tell us about your experiences with those?
For years I tried to sell my paintings but I realized that people don’t really buy original art. I’m an artist and I don’t buy that much original art. It’s a shame really, as a society we’re just not used to buying original pieces. Even independent artists are moving towards selling prints of their work – or turning their work into marketable items like stationery. Although I still sell my art in various forms, that business is on the backburner. I got into selling vintage items for awhile – I have an obsession with vintage and antique collecting. However the competition is pretty fierce and I ended up keeping more items than I sold. There were also several incarnations of my jewelry business before I settled on Emerald City Custom Jewelry which I believe is a very strong and dynamic business – I had to go through some flops before finding a really solid concept.
What first got you interested in your creative pursuits (painting, drawing, stationary, jewelry making)?
Like most artists, I started creating art at a very young age. I wasn’t athletic as a child, nor was I very strong academically. Art was the one thing I did well and was recognized for. I attended art summer camps and when I was in high school, attempted to start the first of many art-related businesses (hand painting t-shirts and making brooches out of photos.) Historically my focus has been on painting, drawing, and mixed media. About 2 years ago I realized I had a passion for design and creating wearable and useable versions of art. I started pursuing jewelry making seriously at that time.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I focus on color, composition, and design. Keith Haring was my biggest artistic influence growing up. All my visual art work is abstract. Even the portraits I do are highly abstracted. I’m not into photorealism, I don’t do still life or realistic portraits. I think this translates into my jewelry making. I tend to become intensely focused on the design and color combinations of the pieces I’m creating. How do the colors communicate with each other? Is the piece balanced, proportioned? It is a unique, colorful, bold piece I would wear?
Tell me your favorite book, movie and song at the moment:
I don’t read books that often, but I love Juxtapoz magazine. I just saw Oz The Great and Powerful and loved it. The current song I’m obsessed with is Runaways by The Killers.
Your go-to comfort food:
A cool chick, right? 🙂 And if you are interested in Emily’s jewelry, she’d got a deal for you! For the month of April, buy any two pieces of Emerald City Custom Jewelry (either a custom piece or an already made piece) and you will receive a free initial charm necklace (either a gold or silver round charm, any letter you choose) on either a black cord, a silver chain, or a gold chain. This charm necklace will be mailed along with the two pieces you have purchased.
So what are you waiting for? Go visit her, and snag some custom jewelry!