Interview: Natalia Benson

In my quest to provide more and more inspiration for all of us, particularly in the form of interviews with highly capable women, I am pleased to present this interview with LA-based jewelry designer Natalia Benson. I met Natalia a couple years ago through mutual friends, and thanks to the power of social networking, we've been able to keep in touch and I've been able to watch her business continue to grow and transform.

Many thanks to Natalia for sharing this with us today.

Tell me a bit about yourself: how old are you, and how long have you been officially running "your own business?"

I am 27 years old. I began my jewelry creating venture at 20 & started to take it seriously as a business venture when I was about 23 because my parents cut me off after graduating school... it was sort of a forced/inevitable happening.

I know you live in LA; did you grow up there as well? How has living in LA shaped your experience as an artist and an entrepreneur?

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. I moved to San Diego when I was 18 to go to school & moved up to Los Angeles about 5 years ago. LA is a fascinating place; I always say it is a place of extreme contrast & you are challenged to really go inward to create where you stand within all of the polarity. I originally thought I was moving here to expand myself as a designer (which I was) but in truth, I came to LA to find & cultivate my spirituality & how that would inform my total life & my work moving forward.
Are you a self-taught artist/jeweler? Who inspires you and where/how do you seek to further your skills/craft?

Yes, I am completely self taught. I started out as a young lady brought up by very corporate/business minded parents & I had this mentality too, I never envisioned myself as a creative or an artist by any means. I started creating jewelry in my bedroom because I wanted to let my creative spirit out & I also didn’t want to be told what to do anymore in any capacity (Aries;) Truthfully I am inspired by anyone who unabashedly follows their soul & heart... I find inspiration everywhere - from Pamela Love (jewelry designer) to Katy Perry & Beyonce (which few people would think I like them, but I do!!) I honor the feminine spirit in all beings who just decide to flow with their soul because they can’t imagine doing anything else with their life.

What are some tricks and tips you can share with us about maximizing your potential as a creative business owner?

Work on it er’day (everyday) & be open to the ideas of people who love you or people who know more than you.... My Grandpa told me when I was younger that everything is achieved with Persistence. He was a true rags to riches story of a poor kid in Detroit, MI born to immigrants who died wealthy (in mind & spirit too) from working his ass off doing what he truly loved. My grandfather was a self-made millionaire. As a young man, he went into the Navy and learned the trade of being an electrician. He utilized that trade to build a very successful contracting business in Phoenix, Arizona where I grew up. 

Something really beautiful: I started my entrepreneurial endeavor when I was about 20 years old after my Grandpa had already been gone for about 4 years. I said one day out loud when I was driving, "Gramps, I really wish I could ask you questions on your experience as I am just beginning my own business venture..." A few days later my mom gave me a book called "Pathways to Power" by Edward L. Kramer; it was published in the 40s but it's basically the Modern Day version of The Secret, or think-positive new-age stuff that we are all familiar with... I guess my grandpa heard me! 
What is a favorite self-care ritual that you have?

Honestly, I love exercising & moving my body in every way. My workspace is really close to my gym & I get up every morning & get grounded in my body. Using Doterra oils & getting plenty of sleep are also incredibly important self care rituals I implement daily.

How does being a woman play into your role as a business owner? Can you discuss, if possible, the aspect of femininity as if exists in your creative/professional endeavors?

What an incredible question. It reminds me that I am not a machine; I have to honor my intuition, my need for rest, my need to honor my moon, my need to respect the cycles of things, of nature, of work, of success & seeming failure -- incorporating my femininity into my way of running a business may seem foreign to the current climate of how business is done at large but I have realized I can’t insult that part of myself because it is what lends itself to my health & the health of my business and maybe even sets a positive example for other women beginning businesses... If you study and how they treat their employees, this to me is an example of the feminine incorporated into the business model. People don’t want to be slave-driven for “success” anymore. 

I know you have your hands in all sorts of other creative projects, too. What are a couple non-business related creative outlets that you love to explore?

I love to DJ & to read tarot cards. DJing is healing for me & Tarot is healing for the people I interact with on that level. Both allow for deeper connection of who I am to the outside world, as working solely on running my jewelry line can leave me in solitude quite a lot. 

Learn more about Natalia and keep in touch with her at any of these magical portals below (Natalia posts Tarot readings on her YouTube channel, these may be interesting to many of you ladies):


Crystal Bullets

Throwback: Remember when I made these all the time? I just made another batch of them because I had some old supplies laying around, and they've already almost all sold before even hitting the shop. You all still love these things!

I must say they are supremely photogenic and I love photographing them.


Handsome Ghost


This song!

I am feeling neutral about the video but THIS SONG is killing me. New favorite.

I'm not sure how many of you have made the leap over to Spotify (ilu Pandora), but Spotify is kind of blowing my mind. It is crazy brilliant amazing and I have been discovering so much new music. Plus I finally paid for it which makes it a million times better and I can get offline listening for when I'm in the car, etc. Asher, too, will sit for hours diving deep into musical oceans out from which he comes equipped with new artists and songs that he discovered for himself, music that he wants to listen to. It's really cute. 

Anyway you should listen to the whole EP on Spotify, there are only 4 songs.

So. In. Love. 

I guess I've really been feeling the musical posts lately. Thank you music for saying so many things when I cannot. 


Tuning In: Monday's Selection

Thank you Suzanne for showing me this version of Jolene. It's so lovely. (This is originally written by Dolly Parton). 


Iconoclasp Bandeaus

I just got a shipment of these super cute summer bandeaus in the shop! They are handmade by indie designer Iconoclasp and I couldn't be happier to be stocking these in the store. They are so comfy and beyond cute. (Contact me if you aren't local and you want one).

Not to mention my models .... ???!!!!


How to Pack for a Festival: My 3 Guidelines

Here it is, as promised! The second installment of my vlog series. This one is shorter with a better background and a good dose of silly. Making moves, kids, making moves. I love you all! Happy Friday! I hope you are moving gracefully through this powerful full moon and that the weekend holds many promises of light and luxury for you and your families. 


Giveaway for Amy Waltz Designs

So excited to announce a collaboration with The House of Milk for a giveaway for Amy Waltz Designs! Amy Waltz Designs has a vast collection of really beautiful jewelry, and Suzanne and I will be running simultaneous giveaways; one winner will be chosen on each blog, and each winner will receive a $50 gift card to Amy Waltz Designs. 

The other day, Suzanne and I met up at local boutique Three Sixty Ecotique to model some of the jewelry and take photos for the giveaway. Three Sixty Ecotique is one of the cutest spots around and I'm so grateful that we were able to use their space. Thanks, ladies! Local photog Jason Mackey shot some beautiful photos of some of Amy's designs, and Suzanne and I modeled the best we could in the crazy heat. Wow has it been hot. 

Please head over to Suzanne's blog as well, and you can enter both giveaways. We are running the giveaway through Rafflecopter, so you can get extra entries for social sharing, etc. The giveaway closes on Thursday, June 26 at 6 pm, and winners will be announced on the Friday following that day.

(Update: I styled this shoot with clothing from my shop as well as some items from my personal collection. Email me with any inquiries!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


For Monday

This morning, Monday dawns hot and sweet. The temperature here has been very high for several days now; in Paradise, it usually maxes out around 100 (!) but down the hill in the valley it's even hotter, and made worse by the vast expanses of asphalt and concrete that take up so much space. Paradise seems to be more trees than roads, and for that I am grateful. Nevertheless, I am able to find the dreamy romanticism in feeling too hot: the languid movements that take over, the slow-thinking, the sweaty glasses of ice water, the hot wind on bare skin. Yesterday I read almost an entire novel, unmoving, in my bed beneath the fan. I was taken over yesterday with a near-psychedelic PMS experience, and the heat and the pain transported me to a pseudo-dreamspace that took up most of the day. Finally, at around 6 pm, I was able to rise up and feed the child -- he was remarkably good all day and I hope that he will be better outfitted for his future as a man because of his PMS education. Whew. 

This is the last week of the school year, and Friday marks the beginning of summer vacation, of days moving without restriction, of the deep hot interlude between years and the seasons of hard work. 

The shop is filling up with excellent summer pieces for those of you who maybe haven't browsed in a while. 

And similarly, the markets are filling up with wild loads of summer fruit, the kinds of which bring back fierce memories of childhood and instill an instant desire for consumption. each season is so fleeting, it must be enjoyed to its fullest while it is here. Again, as has happened so many thousands of time in my life, I am grateful for living in California. The abundance of fruit alone is worth its weight in gold.


Be More Productive

Okay kids! Here it is, my first-ever video blog. I have a long way to go with making these way cooler, but here is the first one, plain and simple. I'm excited to get it out there and refine my process and product as time goes on. However, in the spirit of productivity, I'm going to call this one a final product and put it out into the world. 

Please feel free to share in the comments any simple tips you have in being productive. I think it is of the utmost importance that all of us women, mothers, workers, self-starters, etc., be very clear with our intentions and strategy in being productive. Through this, we can create a life and livelihood we love -- and, more importantly -- teach our children to create the same thing for themselves as they grow into adulthood. 

Remember, if it doesn't truly serve you -- Just Say No!

p.s. please comment with feedback, too. what would you like to see in these videos? shorter? more makeup? better backdrop? etc. I'm open to hearing it all.