Nothing like the month of February love to meet a crazy talented local jewelry designer! We met Stephanie of Sparkl + DOT through the Drekker Craft Market and immediately fell in love, like the rest of the attendees, with her whimsical, beautiful jewelry and design. Learn more about the maker and her background—including being an attorney by day—below!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Stephanie Arniel; I am the owner and maker behind Sparkl + DOT. I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I moved to North Dakota to attend law school in 2017, and I have lived in North Dakota since. I moved to the Fargo area in August of 2022 from Bismarck, ND. By day I am an attorney in town, and by night I am creating handmade accessories in my home studio for Sparkl + DOT. I received my Bachelor of Science in Textile Sciences, so I have always been interested in all things related to fashion and creativity. I love spending time outdoors with my fiancé and our chocolate lab, Boone. I am excited to get married in August of 2023 and settle into our new home in Fargo. I am excited to get to know all the talented makers in the FM area and continue to grow my business here.
Describe what type of products you make under Sparkl + DOT.
Sparkl + DOT creates handcrafted accessories, specifically earrings, hair barrettes, necklaces and bracelets made with polymer clay and polymer clay components. All our products are carefully sourced and made with quality hypoallergenic materials.
Tell us how you got started with a handmade business?
I have always been creative since a young age. My mother and I do craft projects together and try to recreate items we saw in the store or at a craft market. Being creative was a therapeutic outlet for me. I would always turn to create when I needed to think about something, de-stress or relax. I began making jewelry at a young age using all kinds of mediums, such as thread, metals, beads and clay. I would make unique items and give them to family members and friends as gifts. In 2016, I decided to begin my own small business, Sparkl + DOT. I was making beaded bracelets, necklaces and earrings using semi-precious stones. I incorporated chains, stamped metal components and tassels into many of my products to make them unique and colorful. Before moving to North Dakota, I attended numerous vendor shows and markets back home. Since then, my business has evolved to online sales and wholesale. I always like challenging myself to try new mediums and techniques. In 2020, during the pandemic, I began working with polymer clay, a medium I had incorporated into my products in the past, but I started making the entire product out of polymer clay. Now my business has grown substantially, and I sold over 650 pairs of earrings in 2022.
Where do you get your inspiration for what you create?
I often get my inspiration from the world around me. I will choose color palettes based on patterns on fabrics and clothes and take inspiration from current fashion and color trends. Additionally, I often get inspired by new components I source to make a design fit nicely within a unique charm or a new cutter shape.
What is your personal favorite item you’ve crafted so far?
It is difficult to narrow it down to one since I create what I love! But if I had to choose, I would choose one of the most recent pairs; I made a colorful botanical drop earring with a light coral pink and soft green. I incorporated a floral transfer paper and topped it with a dangling pink gem. My favorite product launch was in the Summer of 2021. I incorporated real dried flowers into the clay components and sealed them with an epoxy resin.
What is something people might find surprising about working with polymer clay for jewelry?
Polymer clay is exceptionally durable. If adequately conditioned and baked, each piece will come out of the oven extremely malleable. Additionally, when made of polymer clay, the finished product is generally lighter than a quarter, making it easier to make large statement earrings without worrying about the weight.
What is one craft you haven’t dabbled in yet that you want to try someday?
I would love to learn how to do macrame and even attempt to incorporate macrame pieces with my clay pieces. For example, I would love to make a clay earring with macrame tassels woven and knitted in the piece.
What advice would you have given yourself 5 years ago?
I would tell myself not to worry about what other people are doing and that every person and, in turn, their business has its own pace. I would stay true to my brand and not stray just because something is a hot trend.