Love is Everything
I’m never one for making new year's resolutions. I gave up on the idea a long time ago. Resolutions seem like a good idea at the time but when February rolls around the resolution turn into something to get down on myself about. It just seemed like a source of disappointment and negativity for me, so I quit doing it.
My friend Monica Stephenson (a.k.a. @anzagems @idazzle) takes a different approach. Each year she sets an intention for herself and picks a word that becomes a mantra of sorts. In 2018 she chose the word IMPACT, and I can tell you with certainty that by the end of the year she had made a HUGE impact in our jewelry community. So when Monica set her intention/mantra for 2019 – REACH – I decided to try it too. Funny enough the moment I decided to give it a try my mantra popped into my head as quickly as a light bulb pops above a cartoon character’s head. LOVE
Love is a broad and multi-faceted concept. I knew it was going to be my mantra for the year, but how would it manifest itself? Self love? Nurturing relationships with family & friends? Loving what we do? Helping couples in love get engaged & married? That part wasn’t as clear.
Once I sent my intention out into the universe (and made it Instagram official), it didn’t take long for the word LOVE to start popping up all around me. It started with some retail therapy. I was walking through Nordstrom Rack and stumbled on a jacket by Zadig & Voltaire. I didn’t need another black jacket and frankly don’t know why I even pulled it out to look. As I was putting the hanger back on the rack the back of the jacket hit me like a sledge hammer. LOVE It was a sign. I had to get this jacket!
A couple months and several more love sightings later, Steve & I were fully embracing the idea of incorporating love messaging at SQJ. We were in the thick of designing our new store (which is a whole other story & thankfully didn’t happen) and wanted to have something on the wall that let us put up daily affirmations. While visiting a couple of our design partners Todd Reed and Margery Hirschey in Boulder, Steve & I were walking around and brainstorming about what that could look like and what we would write. Across from our hotel was an art gallery with quotes written all around the exterior. As we walked closer to read what they said we realized that many were related to art and love. There were so many beautiful quotes:
“Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing” – Marc Chagall
“All you have to do is fall in love” – Freddie Mercury
We had just come from seeing the remarkable jewelry of Todd Reed and Margery Hirschey both of whom are artists working in a medium of metal and stones. Then we see these powerful quotes about love from incredibly artistic people. How could we not be inspired? From this was born our store mantra “Jewelry is Art and Love is Everything.” It really sums up who we are and what we are all about, right? The decision was made. Rather than having a changing daily affirmation we would have our mantra permanently displayed for all to see!
Later that summer we were invited to participate in the Chicago Pride Parade. Can you guess the theme of our float? You got it! LOVE
The year (2019) was filled with so many big changes for us. We purposefully consolidated to be able to offer a better shopping experience and focus on showcasing our collections of beautiful jewelry (a.k.a. art). It was a really transformational year – filled with love! When 2020 rolled around my friend Monica chose a new word/mantra/intention and I decided to stick with LOVE. It was working for me. In hind-sight it ended up being a good choice. The year 2020 was a really tough year for all of us. And frankly I think LOVE is what got us through it.
We shared some love in lockdown...
And received a lot of love after our store was hit by looters…
And finally this past fall we doubled down on our LOVE mantra/intention/affirmation with the addition of a mural on the side of the store.
It’s now February of 2021 and I still have not chosen a new word. LOVE is so powerful. It’s big too. It’s at the core of who we are and what we do. Even if I do end up choosing a new intention this year LOVE will still be at the top of the list, guiding the way.