Kelli Miller, a Canadian jewelry designer and owner of Sugar Blossom Jewelry, is a true #GirlBoss. In just one year, she has turned her enthusiasm for fashion, jewelry, and color into a business, and it's easy to see why her wares are becoming both widely known and well loved. With an eye for detail and a clear passion for mixed media, Miller has created beautifully unique bracelets and necklaces, each with unexpected, delightful embellishments. Not to mention, she has a killer Instagram account that is styled so insanely well that it expertly sucks you into a lovely jewelry dream world and makes you want all the things. Truly, I dare you to come away without double tapping your next 10 jewelry purchases.
After falling head over heels for her fresh, stackable bracelets and perfectly simple necklaces, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to chat with Miller via email about the journey of starting and owning her own business, where she garners her inspiration, and what advice she would give anyone with that entrepreneurial itch. It came as no surpirse that she was just as lovely as her jewelry, a designer honestly excited by the idea of carving out a path that allows her to share her passion with others. And while her interest in jewelry design started at a young age, Miller, like many creative souls, has been a bit of a fashion nomad, walking a winding and diverse fashion path to get to where she is today.
When I asked the former stylist what inspired her to start Sugar Blossom Jewelry, she began by recounting moments of learning how make something old new again with her mother, a skill that turned into a hobby she would continue to enjoy through an early modeling career and design school.
"I can remember being around nine years old and getting my mom to show me how to take apart old necklaces — I had to create something new and fabulous with them! Then, at 13, I entered the world of fashion and began modeling and by 15 I was traveling overseas to model for my summer holidays. After high school, I was accepted to Ryerson University in Toronto to study Fashion and Marketing and all through school I continued to design jewelry as a hobby — I would have people stop me on the street to ask where I bought my jewelry and I even had one woman ask if she could buy the bracelet off my wrist!"
Post-college, Miller's jewelry designing passions would remain a side hobby as she took a job as a stylist and fashion consultant. However, not long after, her life took a bit of a fairytale twist when she fell in love with a hockey player whose geographic location posed a challenge.
As it so often does, necessity became the mother of invention when the Canadian native decided to move to the U.S. to be with her now husband as he pursued his sport. In need of a job, her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and the rest is sweet, sugared history.
"After living long distance for a few years I decided to move away with him, but I didn't want to move without a job. So, I turned my little hobby into a business and began Sugar Blossom. Now, we have finally settled in one city, which has given me a chance to truly focus on my jewelry business. I have been running the business full-time for one year and it has been such an exciting year!"
The self proclaimed "creator, conspirator, plotter, designer, schemer, and dreamer of Sugar Blossom" has clearly been able to take influence from her various experiences to successfully turn this business into something special.
However, she has also quickly learned that owning your own business isn't all lunch dates with friends, flexible schedules, and coffee shop email answering, as she had once envisioned. In fact, it has turned out to be the exact opposite, which is definitely OK by her. Miller tells me that this is by far the most difficult job she has ever had, which is actually what she loves about it.
"I have never worked harder or more in my life than I do right now! Weekday lunch dates? Not a chance. Casual afternoon breaks? Never. And what is free time? I am always working in some way or another, but when it's your own business, it doesn't feel like work all the time. It can be tiring — hard work and long hours — but the reward of succeeding is undeniably the best feeling ever!"
At this stage in the game, it would certainly seem Miller's hard work is paying off, as she has garnered quite a devoted following over the last year, myself included. With prices between $29 and $60, her designs are affordable and most importantly, adorably unique — a difficult task in an ever saturated jewelry market.
A quick browse through Sugar Blossom Jewelry's Instagram shows the versatility and character of the assortment — both bracelets and necklaces that can be personalized, mixed and matched, or bought in dream worthy color stories — no filter needed. Also, all of these pretty little things make great gifts for all occasions, even though I seem to prescribe to the "one for you, one for me theory" when it comes to Miller's designs.
What truly pulls you in however, besides the bright yet sophisticated palette and whimsical nature, is that somehow you are always left wanting to add just one more to your collection, which is actually possible, since something new is always being crafted.
While it is quite obvious that I am convinced of Sugar Blossom Jewelry's brilliance, I have also witnessed other's reactions to Miller's collections firsthand. When I spoke to her about chatting with Bustle, she didn't hesitate to ask if I would like to borrow a few samples to touch, feel, and photograph.
Knowing that I was soon headed to Nashville for a bachelorette party with a group of my favorite girls, I accepted her offer. A short few weeks later, Miller had a whole new fan base that couldn't help but love every piece they tried on, too.
Of course, my girls, the ever supportive group that they are, didn't hesitate for a moment when asked to try out a few new pieces of jewelry for a little photo shoot after our brunch.
As we laid out all the options, excited discussion of what everyone loved ensued, and the hardest part was simply deciding who got to wear what. And after all was said and done, not a single one of them wanted to take their pieces off — it was a jewelry love connection.
Our group is really more like a sisterhood in every sense of the word — we have a special bond, but we could not be more different and we certainly all have a unique style. I quickly discovered that one of the bonuses of Miller's collection is that there really is something for almost everyone.
As the trying on and gushing over the details carried on, the girls easily picked pieces that perfectly fit their personalities, even styling the Sugar Blossom Jewelry in with their very own baubles.
I couldn't love them anyone more, but my girls are a tough crowd — in life, love, and in shopping! So, it is a true testament that, by the time we were done, my models were ready to buy the jewelry right out of my suitcase and take it home with them. Sweet success.
Sugar Blossom Jewelry is obviously the brain child of a woman inspired with the confidence to back it up and make it happen. Where does that continuous inspiration come from, you wonder? Well, fresh off a trip to Morocco, Miller's muse is often travel, while the source of her faith is home grown. "I have a wonderful family and husband that have always encouraged and supported me," says Miller. "I also have such a great group of friends that are always willing to lend me a hand when I need it." Ah, well, don't all successful ladies have friends willing to lend a helping hand (or wrist or neck!) once in a while?
And as for advice for others looking to go out and get their #GirlBoss on? Well, Miller confirms that the age old adage of working hard and never giving up is true.
"I think you need to be organized, have a plan of action and a realistic list of goals, and be willing to put in a ton of time. Not everything will go your way, but don't quit — that's the easy way out. It's the people that stick with what they believe in that succeed. Bottom line though — if you work really hard and are nice to people, good things will happen!"
I would say good things are definitely happening for Miller. I encourage you to go check out Sugar Blossom Jewelry — the treasures and trinkets you will find are a perfect match for all those warm weather outfits that have recently been taken out of hibernation. Plus, in the spirit of #GirlBoss love, your newly stacked, pretty little arm party supports yet another brave lady entrepreneur, which always makes the world a little sweeter.