“Simple everyday pretty” is the tagline for Amy Stewart‘s jewelry company, Junghwa. Established in 2010, Junghwa tells a dream-to-reality story of entrepreneurship. Stewart went to college in Oregon for sales and marketing before attending school to study medicine. She graduated and took on a full-time job as a certified medical assistant and orthopedic technician. After the birth of her first child in 2010, she left her position as a CMA to follow her creative calling and pursue Junghwa as a full-time career.
It has been four years since Stewart started the business. She has received a lot of positive recognition in that time, including features in Lucky and Cosmopolitan Bride magazines. Stewart’s dainty designs — though not as outspoken as costume jewelry or statement pieces — are appealing. She has a gift for making sophisticated and classic jewelry that can be worn for countless occasions by people of all ages.
See below for an interview with the leading lady of the company and my favorites currently available in the shop…
What is one of the most sentimental (to you) pieces in your shop? Can you tell us about the inspiration or story behind its creation?
The most sentimental pieces to me from my shop are the personalized ones. For the samples pieces, I always use my husband and my son’s initials. I wear several of them everyday and I still look at them and smile.
What is one of the most popular pieces in your shop and why do you think so many love it?
The most popular pieces in my shop are the Petite Initial Tags Necklaces. I think that people love it for the same reason that I do. I think the style of it is just perfect for wearing every day. They love the design and the fact that it is just the right size.
You seem to be interested in many forms of creativity -sketching, painting, sewing- why did you choose jewelry making?
I have always wanted to work in fashion and really anything that involves design. I even love graphic design, photography, and interior design. I chose jewelry because I wanted to wear dainty, understated, high-quality pieces at a reasonable price and I just wasn’t finding that. So, I started making my own. And with my love for all things design, it was a perfect fit.
Your entrepreneurial story is inspiring. Having your first child seemed to be what encouraged you to take the leap and do Junghwa full time, what is something you would tell someone considering pursuing their creative dream?
Have a plan. Set a goal and when you reach that goal, set another. And then another. Know what your priorities are and follow them. My family comes first so I keep them in mind whenever I do anything. I think about how I want to represent myself and my family and try my best to do right by them. I would also say that the best advice I could give is to be original. Anyone can come in and copy someone else’s work and make a few dollars, but that path has no longevity. You have to do what you love and what drives you, if you want to be around long term.
What has creating and operating Junghwa taught you about who Amy Stewart is?
That I am a workaholic and extremely dedicated. I was never like that before I started my business. I felt no passion for anything I was doing. Creating Junghwa made me, and makes me, feel so fulfilled and happy that I am grateful every day to be able to do what I do.
Can you describe to us your studio space and a few of your work-time essentials?
My studio space is very organized. Functional, yet lovely. I don’t do “mood boards” like a lot of people do, but I have a bulletin board with my favorite photos of my family and small trinkets. I have been completely obsessed with the color scheme black/white/gold. And everything in my space and home reflect that. I always have a movie or TV show playing in the background. I definitely work much better that way. My top work-time essentials: a lot of pens, post-it notes, and my phone. I am lost without those things.
What has been the most exciting opportunity that Junghwa has led you to?
How do I choose? I never take any of what I do for granted and that’s the truth. I really get excited about all the opportunities I experience. I would say though that the most recent one would be being able to shoot my 2014 collection in Palm Desert with the most amazing photographer. It was a dream.
Do you think Junghwa will become more than a jewelry line in the future?
Yes, most definitely. I have never thought that Junghwa would only be jewelry. I have big plans for the future.
What other items would you consider adding? Well that will have to be a surprise.;)
Tiny Twinkle Necklace – Gold | $24 | BUY IT
Smokey Black Glass Pendant Necklace – Miabell | $28 | BUY IT
Modern Friendship Rope Bracelet | $19 | BUY IT
14k Gold Filled XO Disc Necklace | $38 | BUY IT
Which of my favorites do you like the most? Let me know in the comments and browse the Junghwa online shop here.