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Home > good peeps > Lightning Round with Melonie from Higashi Design

Lightning Round with Melonie from Higashi Design

September 16th, 2009

Melonie and I will be at the Capital Clothing Show THIS WEEKEND at the Carleton University Fieldhouse.
We are sharing Booth #303. Drop by, say hello and enter our joint giveaway!
Friday the 18th from 5 – 9 / Saturday the 19th from 10 – 5 / Sunday the 20th from 10 – 4


The backstory
In general, I don’t wear jewelry. But last year, while vending
at a holiday show across the aisle from a certain Melonie Higashi, I couldn’t peel my eyes off a necklace she’d designed and that can be worn in over a dozen different ways (see Question #14). By the end of the weekend, I bought the necklace; for a girl who doesn’t do bling (never even had my ears pierced), this was a big deal. Since then, Melonie and I have become buddies — in fact, we are vending in a shared spot this weekend at the Capital Clothing Show. And so, isn’t it fitting that I introduce you now to my sweet and talented booth-mate?

1. You’ve done a lot of different things… can you list a sampling of what you’ve studied and/or done as jobs?
Hmmm… I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia Uni. I also have a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Carleton Uni with a minor in business. I have worked retail, worked on flight simulators for major airlines, supported movie special effects software, worked as a marketing services rep, modelled and did commercials, taught piano, was a concert and wedding piano player, did web design, data entry, some construction work, worked at a publishing company, and was a trampoline coach… oh, and I must not forget my gig as a door-to-door sales person.

2. How did you land on jewelry-making as a full-time gig?
It found me. I bought a piece of jewelry at Heathrow airport and I received many compliments. It was an intricate piece and I wanted to figure out how to make it. So I went to a bead store found a few supplies and reproduced it. I gave those first pieces away as gifts. Then I started experimenting and exploring with different materials until the hobby grew into the business. After having previously worked in large companies, I decided to veer away from the corporate life and learn how to run my own business. It is definitely not an easy life but it is fulfilling.

3. Ideal lazy Sunday?
Sleeping in, cooking up a nice brunch, then going for a long run on the beach and watching the sunset.

4. Your Dad was a national Karate grand champion in the 60’s… how (if at all) did this influence or affect you?
In high school, I was known as the girl who had a ninja father who crawled on the ceilings (not true) and had samurai swords (unfortunately true)… so basically my social life was affected.

5. Early riser or night owl?
A night owl. So much so, I sometimes end up running into the early risers.

6. You’re a fellow Ottawan… what’s your favourite thing about living here?
The great people I have met.

7. Who would you thank if you won an Oscar?
I would thank the Academy for having a sense of humour.

8. Can you explain how you might come up with a new idea for a jewelry piece?
Colour and texture usually drive my jewelry ideas.

9. What is your kryptonite?
Pizza from Naples, Italy.

10. Dream job and dream location?
Travel photographer exploring the world.

11. You like to trampoline; why?
I love the sensation and I have been bouncing since I was young; plus, it is a great way to get exercise without feeling like you are exercising.

12. Got any party tricks?
It is quite possible but none of which I am aware.

13. How do you motivate yourself when you aren’t in the mood to work on jewelry?
Looming bills are a great motivator. Another good motivator is learning new techniques, which opens up new design possibilities.

14. What’s your best selling item?
The multifunctional leaf necklace is my best selling item.  It is sterling silver and can be worn in as many as 16 different ways including a bracelet.  The leaves are real leaves which have been dipped in sterling silver. It’s a great piece for travelling because it has so many different looks and is so versatile. [pictured below: two necklace options, and bracelet variation]

15. What was the first concert you ever went to?
Depeche Mode

16. What are you most proud of right now?
I designed a flash card system for blind and sighted children so that they could play and learn together. It was for an international design competition and somehow I managed to win.

17. If you had the time, what’s something you’d work at improving or learning?
Time management

18. Wallflower or first-to-the-dance-floor?
It depends entirely on the music.

19. What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from being your own boss?
You can’t do everything on your own.

20. Finish this sentence: “I am…”

You can understand why I find Mel so fascinating; the fact that she makes jewelry I want to wear is just icing on the cake.

Ottawa-folk, if you want to come to the show, feel free to download this voucher to get $2 off admission (good for the whole weekend); just print out the JPG once it’s downloaded and present it at the door.

Keep your eyes peeled for Mel’s new-fangled sign:

That’s right — we actually both got organized enough to get vinyl signs done up, complete with grommets. Just one of many reasons I’m so stoked for a terrific weekend.

Hope to see you there!

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