We support many local artists at Hunni’s so we thought it was only fitting to start a new blog series that puts the spotlight on the many local artists and brands we carry!
Our first brand spotlight is on Moonshine Dreams BC, a jewelry line that started right out of East Vancouver. We chatted with founder & artist, Richard Thomson to get the scoop on how his jewelry line got its start and just how he makes each unique piece. To read the full piece, click on the jump below!
What caused you to start making jewelry?
I have loved making things my whole life but I never thought it would turn into jewelry. It started with a jewelry box that I made for a friend’s birthday. All of her friends liked it and it just took off from there.
Take us through a brief step-by-step outline of how you make the jewelry. Is there a creative process you go through?
For something like a set of earrings I start off with a 18 inch piece of wood. Alder is what is used most of the time but we’re starting to try new woods like walnut and purple heart. Then a design is chosen. I am really inspired by tattoo artist Sailor Jerry and his artwork. I am also influenced by nature and you can see that in a lot of my designs as well. Next, we run the engraver over the wood to put the pattern on. Engraving the wood leaves it with a smokey haze so that needs to be cleaned off and left to dry. After that, the earrings will be cured with a sealant or stained depending on the wood and look. The backings are then added, packaged up and sent to the customers. All the cuts are done at Burgham Custom Engravings Shop in Langley and I do all the rest at my shop in East Vancouver.
What’s the significance behind the name ‘Moonshine Dreams’?
The name has a lot of different meanings to it. The moon has such a big part in our world. It gives us light in the dark and it controls the tide (which is important when you are a pirate like me). It can also be bigger than that too. There’s a quote I like that goes “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” I know that might seem a bit big for someone just making wood jewelry but I like the message. Another way I look at it is when you’re on your 2nd or 3rd glass of moonshine and you’re talking with your best friends about the ideal life you want or the big dreams you have never told anyone.
Any advice you would give to upcoming entrepreneurs?
I did not go to school for business so I don’t feel like I have a lot of business advice to offer but one thing I have found that works is to put yourself out there. When I started out, I did not have the perfect product or know what I was doing but I went into stores to show them what I was making. I am very lucky to have made some great contacts from the beginning that have supported and believed in me. People will put things off and be their own biggest critic, but if you just make the first call or put your idea out there, it can all come together. If you wait it might never happen.
Do you have a favourite piece you’ve made so far?
To be honest my favourite piece of jewelry is one that sells the least: the alligator skulls. I love alligators and have done fan boat trips in the New Orleans’ swamp to see them. I could watch them for hours on discovery channel. I guess girls don’t like having gator skulls hanging from their ears as much I thought they would, but to each their own.
Moonshine Dreams BC jewelry starts at $13 and exclusive to Hunni’s Urban Boutique, Moonshine Dreams BC now makes tank tops too! Shop the tank as well as the above pieces in-store or on our online shop at shophunnis.com! Happy shopping and stay tuned for our next brand spotlight on another local artist!