Claire Sommers Buck Jewelry

October 30, 2012 3 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Gjosephunf was recently acquainted with a Jacksonville newcomer Claire Sommers Buck. She recently moved to Jacksonville from her native state of Texas. Claire operates Claire Sommers Buck jewelry in Jacksonville, FL. Claire Sommers Buck is sustainable, eco-friendly, and gathers inspiration from indigenous tribes around the globe.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck
 Claire of Claire Sommers Buck Jewelry is an inspirational 20 something that decided early on to focus her attention on creating timeless, “organically inspired” jewelry. She launched her business fresh out of college and has seen incredible success. Her persistence, patience, and especially, her attention to the heart of her collections are making space for her locally and nationally (despite the crowded market). By combining her creativity with her business acumen Claire has been able to craft her own career developing a jewelry company.

Jewelry designing began in her youth. She credits her parents for demonstrating how to develop a craft and a business. Both of her parents are ceramic artists and have owned a studio and gallery in Gruene, TX for 27 years.

[They are the] perfect example of how you can succeed in making your craft a profession and have always encouraged me to follow my creative instinct.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

      While in University, Claire majored in International Studies and traveled to South America after graduation:

My travels to South America have influenced many aspects of my life. It is an incredibly beautiful continent full of amazing colors, textures and smells. It's actually really hard not to daydream about it all the time. And yes, my travels there have definitely influenced the design and initial creation of Claire Sommers Buck jewelry. I had the experience of traveling with a Peruvian Jewelry artist throughout the Sacred Valley in Southern Peru. His technique and passion for his craft encouraged me to dedicate what I have to creating jewelry and learning as much as I can within the craft.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

      After Claire’s travels to South America, she decided to return to her home state of Texas. Under her mother’s sage advice, Claire took out a small loan and rented a studio in Austin. Claire was able to network with the local art and design community within the hip and trendy districts of the city:

Yea, there have been bumps in the road, like all artists and self-starters can admit to, but overall the growth of my business has been a very natural progression. I would consider my first successful achievement to be when I was invited to sell my work in a gorgeous boutique in Austin a couple years ago.

I had been participating in an art market once a month in SOCO and really looked up to this young woman also selling her jewelry there. She was a BIG inspiration to me, so I chatted with her a lot and secretly took notes on how she was displaying things and how she interacted with customers.

When she took her leap to open up her own boutique, Mana Culture in South Austin, she invited me to sell my work there. I remember feeling so honored and excited. I still sell my work there and it has done very well. It was a great stepping-stone for me and taught me a lot about managing and keeping up with work on consignment.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck Arrows Ring

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck Crystal Necklace

The company has four distinctive lines: Classic, Arrows, Guadalupe, and Shaba:

[My]Classic Collection is the earliest collection and the most simple and sweet of all four so far. This collection draws on my love for the natural world around me including seedpods, leaves and organic textures, and colors.

The inspiration for my Guadalupe Collection stemmed from the beautiful river that runs through my hometown in central Texas. This collection is especially "of the earth" with the hammered copper seedpods, and organic lines of each piece.

The Shaba Collection was inspired by folk jewelry from Africa. The bold tribal lines, the rich antiqued brass and the bright accent colors convey a sense of enchantment - relics from a faraway land.

And lastly, my newest collection Arrows, was born out of my intense love for the Southwest. I incorporate antiqued silver with turquoise, crystals and native Southwest designs.  Each piece is simple, yet powerful and mood-lifting at the same time.“

When asked how she creates new lines:

I don't necessarily work in seasons when I am creating a new line. I do divide my collections into seasons, but they don't necessarily have more of a fall feel or a summer feel to them. I tend to create a collection purely from what inspires me at the time. It might begin with a particular type of reading I am interested in or just sitting down at my bench to play around with metal. Most new designs are born this way. I'll try something different that totally works in my head, but then it flops and ends up taking on a new form and inspires me in a completely new direction. I love working this way.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

     While I interviewed Claire, I mistakened one of her symbols for a feather on her main website Eventually I learned the feather turned out to be a leaf

I love the dual symbolism. It's funny too because I have a tattoo of that symbol on my wrist and after I first got it, the artist showed it to some people in the room and one woman said, "What a beautiful feather!" So, I guess you can interpret it either way. I think that's why I love it so much. The significance behind the leaf stems from my love for the natural world. The majority of my designs are organic in shape, texture and color, so when choosing my logo, the leaf/feather fit perfectly.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

        With the recent rise of sustainable practices within the fashion/retail industry. Consumers are becoming more aware, of who creates product, where it comes from, and ultimately who benefits. I asked Claire what her thoughts are on sustainable businesses:

I definitely think more sustainable clothing and accessories is the next boom within the fashion/retail industry. In fact, I think we are already seeing that boom in full swing. I highly respect companies whose mission is to create sustainable and fair trade goods. We live in a world suffocated by products that are cheap to produce and cheap to buy, but those are the same products that have short life spans and ultimately end up filling our landfills.

As a sustainable business, you are not only leaving less of an impact on the planet, but you are also creating a story behind your product. I think people are really looking for that these days. They want to know where this thing they are buying comes from, who made it, and what is it made out of. I respect this type of responsibility as a consumer. I do think sustainable businesses have higher quality products and generally this goes hand in hand with fair trade practices.

The fashion industry is laden with sweatshops with unfair wages and unsafe working conditions. I think consumers are beginning to realize that there is more to an outfit than just the way it looks. As the world becomes a smaller place, we are more educated on these inequalities and have begun to make smarter consumer choices. There is a long way yet to come, but I am very happy to see these types of companies becoming successful.

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

Lastly, I asked Claire What are your words of wisdom for Jacksonville’s creative and entrepreneurial community?

Dedicate yourself to your work, make sure you are always positively impacting people and don't ever stop imagining and creating. It's these ideas, inspirations and motivation that will help Jacksonville grow to be a better place to call home.

Overall, the vision of Claire Sommers Buck is to create jewelry that inspires others and makes a positive impact on the people who wear it. Claire wants to give back to the community that she lives in, and as her business continues to grow reach more clientele. “This includes being a positive and encouraging voice for all artisans out there trying to make a living with their craft.”