On a Sunday afternoon, about a dozen women filled Bellefonte Arts in Wilmington for Jewelry with a Twist. “I’ve been in her class before, the earrings I’m wearing I made in a Metal with a Twist class,” said Kim Graham.
Metalsmith and jewelry designer Kamysha Martin created the hands-on class to show fans of her Lolah Soul jewelry line what goes into making her one of a kind items. “I met her at a function in Philadelphia, and I fell in love with her pieces because they’re original and organic,” said Ahwe Abdul Salaam who stopped by to get a bracelet reshaped and eye another she’s looking to buy.
Thinking outside the box has helped bring more exposure to Martin’s Lolah Soul brand. “So how I sell my jewelry has changed a little bit. When I first started, I was like I’m only going to do this. I’m not going to do that, and I’m not going to do that. I find myself doing all the things I said I wasn’t going to do because those are the things that work.”
Before anyone can start melting or molding the metal, Martin goes over the rules–safety first. She then guides the students through choosing the correct amount of metal as she and her assistant walk around to inspect how each of the participants is doing. “It’s not as easy as you think. There’s a lot of things you have to get used to in terms of working with hot metal and the fire and the soldering and all of those things. But it’s fun,” said attendee Monica Washington.
Martin started making jewelry for herself after she learned a “one of a kind” necklace she bought from a vendor was a reproduction.
“I took a weekend class just to learn the basics of how to make jewelry.”
It wasn’t long after that she was getting stopped on the street and asked if she was willing to sell what she was wearing.
From there, Lolah Soul was born, and in December 2014 Martin quit her corporate job and switched into full-time entrepreneur mood. She says she decided to make it a real business because that was how she was going to pay her bills.
For Martin, that meant venturing into the unknown. “I was scared. But what do they say? Leap afraid, so that’s what I did.”
Martin says Lolah Soul represents the fearless part of her personality and she hopes her customers embody that boldness when they wear her pieces.
In addition to Metal with a Twist classes, Martin also sells her jewelry at boutiques, some festivals and online. Social media has also gotten her some new customers. She gets requests from Instagram followers who’ll inbox her about the price. The process is simple. She invoices them, they pay it, and she sends it. “It’s a wonderful thing,” Martin adds.