Dreamer Spotlight: Tribe of Dreamers
(Annie is in the black dress, and Jen's in the white)
Today, we're spotlighting these two dreamers who've recently created Tribe of Dreamers. These two met in a very unique way, and are
the way jewelry is created and the meaning behind it. They've left the security and comfortability of their former jobs to pursue their passion, and dream. Guess what, just this past week, they fulfilled their first international order!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Background on previous jobs, how those have helped with Tribe of Dreamers?
Annie: I was a pastry chef! I went to culinary school in Chicago, worked as a pastry chef in New York and opened a wedding cake business in Atlanta. Working in kitchens taught me discipline and excellence.
Jen: What haven’t I done? My biggest change happened when I decided to leave my job as a fundraiser at a cancer institute to pursue acting and explore the world. Turns out I’m not a great actress but along the way I took a jewelry class and was instantly hooked. Working in non-profit taught me the value of using what you have to try to make a difference in the world; acting taught me how to take risks and stand strong in your decisions regardless of what others might think.
How did you come up with this idea?
J & A: We both made jewelry, and both loved the idea that jewelry is something that you wear everyday, in every situation, that carries a certain symbolic power. We wanted to do something bigger with jewelry, and when we met, it was truly a perfect storm of all of our similar ideas coming together. We both wanted to use what we love to end what we hate. After traveling separately, and both of us seeing how much freedom we have here in the States, one of the biggest things that we wanted to encourage people to do is use their freedom, and to take a risk to follow their dreams and make a difference in the world. There are so many people in the world that would give anything for the opportunities that we have, and we want to be one voice in the sea of many that encourages people to live an extraordinary life. We believe the world would be a more beautiful place if people did what they love. We hope our jewelry can serve as a daily reminder that when it gets tough, and you feel discouraged or that no one believes in you, that we do.
Walk us through the process, once you had the idea what happened?
J: So we both had versions of the idea in us, separately, before we even met. I was on a blind date, actually, at a Mexican restaurant down the street
from my house in Silverlake.
A: I had just moved into the neighborhood and was grabbing a drink with a friend, at a Mexican restaurant, down the street from my house.
J: My date went to the bathroom, and I was nervous, so I started talking to a nice girl in the bar with a cute necklace.
A: I was trying to find a seat at a table, so I started talking to this girl, and quickly realized that we both made jewelry, and within about 2 minutes exchanged numbers to grab coffee.
J: We met at Intelligencia, and instantly hit it off. We both have traveled the world, wanted our jewelry to mean something, had dreams of making a huge impact on the world, and both didn’t want to do it alone.
A: It was like I was talking to another version of myself.
A: At the end of our little coffee date, we asked each other if we wanted to partner together.
J: We were both so nervous. I felt like we were asking each other to commit our lives to one another after one meeting – which seemed crazy, but kinda right.
A: We gave it a couple days to think about it, but I think both of us knew.
J: Then we started meeting, and our ideas kept building on themselves, and just worked. It felt like something bigger was at play, that we were chosen to do this.
A: I’ve had this crazy vision; I thought I was alone in it for so long. We both did. So to meet someone with the same deep-rooted vision is such a gift.
J: Totally. And then we started meeting the right people at the same time.
A: I was at a clothing exchange with a bunch of girlfriends and met someone who works for Tyler Knott at the same time we were
J: I was at the farmers market and met someone who introduced us to an amazing artist to partner with. Again, it just feels right, like this is what we’re meant to do.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader?
J and A: Each other.
J: It is so much more fun and easier to work with a partner. I honestly couldn’t do this without Annie.
A: When one is down, the other is up and visa versa. Just knowing you have someone else there to support you and know you’re not alone is really incredible. Also, my family. I honestly think I won the family lottery.
Explain the process of starting Tribe of Dreamers, who you grabbed to be on your team, etc?
J and A: We grabbed our awesome, inspiring friends. We wanted this to be a collaborative movement from the beginning and include people who stand for what we believe and what we want the brand to represent.
What has been the best advice someone has given you along the way?
J: Say yes. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, how to do it, where it will lead, say yes. My best stories, opportunities and life experiences have come because I took a risk and said yes.
A: I remember going through a hard time a few years ago and my sister said to me You know Annie, "stuff" happens. It’s what you do with it that counts”. I think of that in so many scenarios. That’s when your heart and character come through. In tough times and in moments of rejoicing and celebrating.
What was the moment (if you've had one) where you realized, wow we've really built something here?
A: For me, it was when we found ourselves surrounded with people who support and believe in our vision.
J: We are still in the early stages of building but its so exciting to see how everything is unfolding. I think we’re onto something good because I’m so bought into our idea that I didn’t care if we make a dollar on it. I just want a company that encourages people not to settle and that helps people believe that together we can change the world with our dreams, to exist. It’s my heartbeat, I think both of our heartbeats, so for me that’s the best feeling in the world.
Favorite part about your job?
J and A: Working together. Drinking coffee in the cabin, dreaming, watching it all come together.
Quotes that keep you going?
A: My dad always gave us this quote growing up and it has stuck with me through the years:
“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.” Horace Greeley
J: Be love. We have the choice to bring love into the world, to create heaven here on earth if you will, and I want to be someone who hopefully does that.
What did you give up to pursue this dream, to put your dream to life?
A: Oh man, I left my business and moved across the country. I left my friends and everything that was comfortable.
J: I left my steady paycheck, security and stability.
If you could redo something along the way, what would it be?
A and J: Neither of us would redo anything.
A: What makes us have similar heartbeats is that we both believe life happens for a reason. No regrets, I wouldn’t change anything.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 21 year old self what would it be?
J: Oh lovie, don’t date him. Second, I would say, your life is not going to be what you expected but it will be so much more beautiful.
A: To trust. Trust my gut, trust this crazy path that I’m on. It’s not going to turn out how you thought it would.... It’s better. I’m sure I’ll be looking back 10 years from now and say the same thing to my 30 year old self.
One thing you wish people knew about Tribe of Dreamers, or wish they knew more about would be...
A: The other side! You look at the side of “this is such a risk”, and “oh you have to drop everything”, but there’s another side. Its not so scary, it’s actually freeing.
J: Agreed. Life has a new beauty.