Who The Hell is Sierra Winter?
It's been a little over 4 months since the launch of Sierra Winter Jewelry and an introduction is probably in order. This is the start of my blog here at the website where I hope to share more about the brand, lifestyle, and give you a look behind the scenes. Posts in the future will be more informative and educational about jewelry, but I want you to know just who the hell Sierra Winter is and how this all came to be.
(Note: I prefer to read my news and blogs in Buzzfeed article form...so that is what you are going to get. Also, I'm a horrible writer)
I was born Sierra April Winter, (hence the Sierra Winter business name) circa 1987 on a ranch outside of the beautiful town of Manhattan, Kansas.
Cute AF in that fur coat, right? And those bangs.
As a child, I had three main interests. Rock collecting, drawing, and cats. (Garth Brooks is a close fourth on this list) My parents said I would spend hours drawing at the coffee table and hunting the prairie for interesting rocks. I'm sure I was singing Garth Brooks songs while doing all of this.
It wasn't too far later in life that I got my horrible bowl cut. The years following this up until Junior High all revolved around soccer and other sports. (No pictures should be shared from these years trust me, I am saving your eyes.) Thanks in part to this terrible haircut, I convinced my mom to let me pierce my ears if I let it grow out. This is when I met jewelry.
Jewelry and I really started our relationship the summer going into my Senior year of high school. I took a trip to California to visit my sister and she taught me how to make a simple pair of wire wrapped beaded earrings on a fishhook ear wire. When I got home I started my first jewelry business. I made and sold, wait for it....GAME DAY EARRINGS FOR MANHATTAN HIGH FOOTBALL GAMES!
After graduating high school, I attended a small private college on a soccer scholarship. After my freshman year and a trip to Rome, I decided I needed to be at a bigger school with a Fine Arts program and I landed at the University of Kansas located in Lawrence, Kansas.
Fall 2006. After reading the DaVinci Code, of course I decided I was going to double major in Italian and Art History. Well, it turns out I suck at learning a new language and dropped Italian faster than it takes to down a shot of espresso.
During this time, I had been taking studio art classes and signed up for Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design. I was in love. From this point on I knew that jewelry was going to be a part of my life forever. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design with an emphasis in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design.
TIME TO PUT ON BIG GIRL PANTS AND GET A JOB
After graduating college, I moved to Kansas City. I was lucky enough to get a job at Silpada Designs on their jewelry design team. Silpada was the country's largest direct sales sterling silver jewelry company at the time and their headquarters were located in Kansas City. I'm still not sure how it all worked out but I was very blessed to get that job after college and the recession. #blessed.
In my position, I worked on trend forecasting, learned how to manufacture jewelry, traveled the world, and designed a ton of jewelry. It was the best experience I could have received post college.
I MARRIED THE LOVE OF MY LIFE
I had a crush on Jeff Otto starting in high school. Luckily enough, he became my husband. We got married on the ranch I grew up on in Manhattan, Kansas in October 2014. #ottosontheprairie
WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT WAS
In the summer of 2015 my husband and I took a long trip to Northern California. We did 10 days between Tahoe, Napa, and San Francisco. Somewhere in the beautiful scenery and wine I did a lot of reflecting on how I saw the rest of my life looking. I decided on that trip that I was going to quit my corporate job and start my own business to fulfill my dreams.
I left Silpada Designs in September 2015 to start my own business. It was terrifying. I spent a lot of that winter designing, developing product, finding suppliers to work with, and fighting off the 'what the hell have I done' mentality. It was a really long winter. I was stressed after spending so much time thinking about what I wanted to do, talking to others about how I was going to do it, and imagining what it would be like when it was finally done. I was relieved when I realized how supportive the Kansas City community of entrepreneurs is and that I was not alone. I started surrounding myself with other people that also wanted to build their own futures and follow their dreams.
MAY 20TH, 2016: I LAUNCHED SIERRA WINTER JEWELRY
Launch day was one of the happiest days of my life. My product was out there for the world to see and my business was alive. We held a private launch party at one of my favorite Kansas City restaurants, The Unbakery and Juicery. The website went live the next morning.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL... AND ALSO KINDA SCARY...
...The week before the Sierra Winter Jewelry launch party, my husband and I had our own little party. It consisted of BBQ and Non-Alcoholic beer..... We found out we were having a little girl later that year!
This tiny human inside of me has been a huge motivation for growing my business and solidifies any doubt I had that I wasn't doing the right thing. I am a firm believer in creating your own happiness. If you are not happy, change what you are doing.
I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity in life. I cant wait to see what is to come. Hopefully you will join me for the rest of this ride.
Peace & Love,