In an interview with The Daily Northwestern, jewelry designer Kourtney Kinchen discusses her non-profit jewelry brand Encircled Jewelry.
"I graduated in September. I didn’t have a job yet, but I knew I wanted to do something. And so I started looking at Pinterest and different types of jewelry making. I watched a few videos on YouTube and just decided that I was going to make a business out of it within a week. So I was rapidly trying to come up with a name. Encircled is kind of communal, like a hug. But I was also thinking encircled, like people who are incarcerated are encircled by walls and just this horrible experience," said Kinchen about where the name of her shop "Encircled Jewelry" originated.
When asked about where she got the idea for her business, Kinchen said, "I had been volunteering a lot at the Northwestern Prison Education Program, so I felt very directly connected. And obviously, because of the pandemic, no one’s connected to anything that really matters to them. And I’d always wanted to start a business. And I like jewelry and fashion. So I thought that Encircled Jewelry would be an easy way to combine different interests and passions."
"I do go on Pinterest sometimes and piece together different things that I like. My dad, for Christmas, bought me a little sketch pad," said Kinchen of her creative process. "I’m not a good drawer, but I can do little circles. I also go on Etsy and search for materials. Materials inspire me. I try to take the first week after a collection release to experiment with different colors I might have purchased or different parts that I might have used. But a lot of the time that idea that I was envisioning doesn’t actually happen. I change stuff last minute — it’s kind of a jumbled process."
When asked where the profits go, Kinchen said, "It’s changing every time. The first time, I donated to an organization that helps pregnant incarcerated mothers. The second time, I donated to Northwestern Prison Education Program. And then there was this really cool organization that I found from a woman who had previously been incarcerated. She was pioneering this jailhouse lawyer project that created a network between people who are currently on the outside and people who are on the inside. So just giving people the resources inside to have the ability to advocate for themselves was kind of her mission. This current one that I’m donating to — the Compassion Prison Project — is helping people deal with their childhood trauma."
Information originally sourced from Daily Northwestern.