Meet the Maker: Hiouchi Jewels
Our Meet the Maker series spotlights the amazing makers behind the brands that we carry. The interviews focus on self-care and wellness and what it means and looks like for each maker. We hope this series educates, informs and inspires you on self-care and how it can look and be different for everyone.
This month's Meet the Maker features designer Sarah Lewis from Hiouchi Jewels - a Handcrafted Bohemian Jewelry & Home Decor line. ‘Hiouchi’ is the name of the area where Sarah lived in the majestic Northern California Redwoods, and is inspired by her time there. Now based in Evergreen, Colorado, Sarah is inspired her new home in the mountains, and creates her collection with love.
Sarah designs Jewelry & Home Decor for women like herself ~ Nature Loving, Fashion Forward, Modern Bohemians ~ down-to-earth women, who also love to dress up and sparkle on the dance floor!
Sarah believes in the power and energies of the crystals and stones that she uses, which (along with her beautiful craftsmanship) is what drew me to her brand. All stones & crystals are ethically mined/sourced, while all metals are reclaimed/recycled. Hiouchi Jewels also plants a tree with every shipped order (I LOVE companies that give back!). Check out my interview with Sarah below!
Where are you from originally/where do you live?
Originally from update New York, I've lived all over the country (AZ, GA, PA, CA) and moved recently to Evergreen, Colorado.
Please provide some background info on your company, such as how you got started and what inspired you to start.
I've always been creative and have been making art and jewelry for as long as I can remember. I started with clay, macrame and blown glass beads when I was young, and began working with metals, crystals and stones in college in Arizona.
I received my BFA in Metals & Jewelry at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007, and then landed my dream job, designing for boho-chic brand Free People. In 2009, I launched my collection, and opened my 1st boutique / showroom in Philadelphia. I ran my business in Philly for 6 years, before moving to the Redwoods in California, and finally made my move to Colorado in 2018. I owned a boutique in Denver, called Midnight Rambler, but now have stepped away from brick & mortar retails, to focus on designing / making jewelry, and my wholesale business ~ selling to other shops.
Building my business has certainly been a journey, and now in my 11th year, I feel like I’ve really found my groove. Art school taught me technical jewelry making skills, my time working for Free People taught me about the fashion industry and how to be a designer, and 11 years trial & error, self-learning and sheer grit, taught me how to run a small business.
With many facets (pun intended) - designing, creating, marketing, wholesale, retail and e-commerce - over the years I’ve learned to find a balance in managing them all. And at its core, my business has always been about the jewelry - an art form that I truly love. I think of jewelry as small-scale wearable sculpture, and a blend of fine craft and fashion.
I’m so grateful for the support of all of my wonderful customers. It means the world to me, that so many women wear my jewelry! That my art can complete her outfit, help her give the perfect gift, or treat herself. That my pieces can be an expression of her inner beauty, or carry a deep, personal meaning. That she might wear a piece of my jewelry every day, and pass it down to her daughter. That I can share my wearable art with the world, and support myself with my small business ~ I have to pinch myself every day :)
What is your definition of self-care?
Self-care means being kind to yourself ~ taking time for the things that feed your soul.
What does your self-care routine look like? Feel free to share small practices you do regularly and/or a set routine (morning, evening).
Daily Yoga practice, making tea, cooking healthy food. I take a lot of baths, with sea salt & CBD. Hiking & spending time in nature is an important part of my Self-care. Making jewelry & crafting in general - I feel so blessed to have turned something that I consider self-care, into my job!
Keeping in touch with friends and family has become part of my self-care. I work from home, and live alone in the mountains, so since Covid began, it's easy to feel isolated, and it's important for me to stay connected with group texts, FaceTime, Zoom, etc.
I love reading novels at night. I’m not a kindle person, I love real paper books. It helps me escape into another world, and keeps me from mindlessly scrolling Instagram. For me, it feels good to avoid screen time right before bed.
Since it just got cold here in Colorado, making fires in the wood stove & fireplace in my cabin, has become part of my self care routine ~ I love the ritual of building fires to keep myself warm, it feels primal, natural and so satisfying!
What is your skincare routine?
Pretty basic ~ I’m slightly embarrassed to share this, but I use the affordable drug store brand Cetaphil, for my face soap & lotion. It might not be the most natural, but works well on my skin, and I've used it for years! I use coconut oil to moisturize the rest of my body. It's so dry here in Colorado, moisturizing is key!
I use my Crystal Gua Sha, to massage my face. I find that it decreases puffiness, and under-eye circles. I feel the self-loving energy of the rose quartz as well. I only sell products that I myself use & believe in, so I love selling these!
I use Ayurvedic products from my friends Paavani , and CBD products from my friends Spirit of the Herbs…
What are your favorite beauty, self-care and wellness products?
Face Masks and Aromatherapy Spritzers from Paavani Ayurveda & CBD Bath Bombs Hand Salve from Spirit of the Herbs. The Hand Salve is especially important for me, because my hands get pretty bead up from making jewelry, and it's so soothing and healing!
What is your favorite self-care/wellness/fitness activity for when you have…
5 minutes: Light some sage, palo Santo, or a candle, or Gua Sha Crystal Facial Massage.
30 minutes: Yoga ~ I love a good vinyasa flow!
60+ minutes: Going Hiking!
How do you center yourself when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed?
Pranayama (Breath work) and yoga. Also, I’m a crier, I don’t hold back tears, I feel its much better to let it out!
If it's an overwhelmed feeling from my work ~ not that it's ever stressful, but I sometimes feel scatter-brained, and don’t know what to work on first, or try to do too much at once ~ For this, I love to-do lists ~ to help me focus on one thing at at time, and feel accomplished as I cross things off.
Who do you look up to or feel inspired by in the wellness/self-care world?
My favorite style of yoga is Buti, so I really look up to the founder, Bizzie Gold. It's a mix of yoga, ecstatic / tribal dance, belly dance ~ it's great cardio, core work, and really helps me release stress & anxiety.
What do you think are some misconceptions about self-care?
I think it's not as much about the actual little rituals you do, such as taking a bath, or burning your sage, but more about intention and mentality ~ the desire to care for yourself, and making time for yourself.
What’s a mantra you live by?
Work hard, play harder. Also blur the lines of work & play.
What is your favorite/most life-changing:
Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Movie: Star Wars
Place: The Rainbow Mountains in Peru
How would you incorporate some of the other products we carry on Bliss’d alongside your own?
My Crystal Gua Sha could be used in the bath ~ along with your RELAX CBD-Infused Bath Salts. It can also be used before or after the Crystal Infused Rose Water Face Mist. Your candles look beautiful, and it's always nice to display crystals (from my crystal sets) alongside candles on your alter, mantel, self, or any special place in your home!
When do you feel your best/most bliss’d out?
Yoga, spending time in Nature, and dancing to live music.