This November is a patriotic month: President Obama got four more years, our America Issue just hit stands, and we've got some awesome #NYLONshop designers that come with a proud "Made in the U.S.A." stamp. Take Vinca USA for one best-selling example: Their teensy tiny trinkets come straight outta Austin, Texas!
Designer Amanda Dimova started the company after she got bored of her college job and decided to reignite her childhood love of crafts and jewelry making. Read on to learn how sloth earrings are born and why not everything's bigger in Texas.
Then head over to the #NYLONshop and get free shipping on all order with the code: 'USA!'
How did Vinca come into fruition?
I got started in 2006. I was in college studying business and working as lab proctor, which means I sat in the lab at University of Texas and waited for people to have computer problems. But I always really liked making things. My parents owned a shoe factory, so since I was a kid I'd always made jewelry and little handbags or dolls' clothes out of whatever scraps I could find. As I got older, I wanted to see if I had what it took to start a real business. So I started Vinca making things out of scraps of leather, but I got a laser cutter around 2009 and that's when things really took off with our acrylic pieces.
The whole "everything is bigger in Texas" thing doesn't really apply to all your quirky little pieces, does it?
I'm always aiming to conserve materials, so I prefer making lots of tiny little things! We had cats and gerbils and mice as a kid and I liked going to the zoo, so I started making lots of tiny animal inspired jewelry. I don't like to abstract things too much-- I like to make things that actually look like something, you know?
Totally. What's the latest animal to join your accessory stable? How does the process go from inception to finished product?
Right now I'm working on sloth earrings. The process starts with an idea, which can come from anywhere, then I make a sketch of the idea, and then render it on the computer. From one idea, I'll go crazy and make it in a million different colors, and it goes on from there. So from that one sloth, I'll get a ton a different products like rings, necklaces, earrings, and so on.
How many people work at Vinca now?
There are five of us at Vinca now, so we all brainstorm. Or sometimes we'll post questions our Facebook page and see what weird animals our customers want us to make. I'll also look through the encyclopedia and pick the strangest thing I can find or make something from one of my kids' drawings.
Your quotation mark earrings have been a big hit in the #NYLONshop. Who came up with those?
We were all just talking and someone kept making air quotes so we thought, Let's make quotation earrings!
They're my fave. Do your parents still have that shoe factory?
They do! It's called Bear Feet children's shoes. I really wasn't interested in the business when I was younger, but a few years ago I started to get more involved and we started making women's boots from their factory in all kind of fun materials like metallic pink
and leopard booties.
Our America Issue just hit stands. Do you make everything here in the US?
From the earrings to the shoes, it's so important to us to make everything from scratch and have total control over the process, so we make everything ourselves right here in Texas!
What else do you like to do in Texas?
I grew up in a really small town in Texas, which wasn't too exciting, but now I live in Austin and I love it here. The weather is pretty great, which is perfect since I just can't operate in cold climates! In my free time the kids and I take our two rabbits out on walks to the park.
Wait-- you can take a bunny for a walk!?
Yes! We have harnesses for them. It's great.
What's been your most popular item and which do you wear the most yourself?
Our Fox earrings
always get compliments when I wear them out. We have over 900 items now and I take everything we make for a test drive and I'll wear it until I make something new. I recently made some new dolphin earrings, so I'm wearing those right now!
Which Vinca piece does every NLYON girl need right now?
I think it's the "Diamond" earrings
. Every girl needs a pair of diamond earrings, but these are actually affordable and funny. They're a great conversation starter and a perfect gift. If only so that you can say, "I got you diamond earrings!" They were one of the first things I ever designed on the computer.
Love 'em. Thank you!