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Conversations with the Inspiring Kassi Grunder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kassi Grunder.

Kassi, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always had two big interests — creating things and helping people get to the next level in their lives. Both of these passions have led me in a lot of different and interesting directions.

In undergrad, I studied art and community development. I made miniature books about miniature things and I studied how communities formed. After school, though, I found myself working with a series of non-profit organizations doing social justice work. I also did a lot of traveling, which was a great education. Eventually, I came to San Diego to get a Master’s in Peace and Justice with an emphasis in conflict analysis and resolution at the University of San Diego. I saw myself doing dialogue facilitation work at a high level and helping people figure out how to work together better. And, I did that for a while after I graduated. I designed workshops and oversaw a large facilitation team that gave really impactful workshops to diverse groups of people. At some point though, office politics in my organization started getting really challenging. At first, I thought I could mend them, then thought well, I can wait this out. Eventually, though, it wasn’t getting better and I was tremendously depleted and the moment came where I quit my job (which had been my dream!) without a plan, and seriously needing some time to gather myself.

About two years prior, I had started making jewelry as a fun hobby. I always joke that I’ve been making things since I could move my hands. While I was working in that organization, I was occasionally selling things. I’d have a pop up every few months and would do well and it was a fun side hustle. When I quit my job, I knew I had a big show coming up back in my hometown in Alaska about a month later, so I knew I wasn’t going to start another job before I got back, so my biggest focus was on making pieces for that show. The show was a really great success. I made a very substantial amount of money. But, I was still planning on getting a regular job, too. A couple of weeks after I got back to San Diego, I had a networking lunch with an old acquaintance who was doing work related to what I wanted to be doing, and who I really wanted to collaborate with. In the meeting, I ended up telling him about how successful the show had been and he told me that he refused to work with me. He said that it was extremely clear to him that my jewelry hobby had become a business and that it REALLY was shouting out for my attention, and he didn’t want any part of distracting me from it. I’m so grateful to him for this.

This summer will be two years from that conversation and my business has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. I’ve hit some really big milestones recently that have felt like huge personal victories (making more money than I did in my previous job, selling as much through my website as I do in person, growing my audience on social media, etc.). The entire time I’ve been in this business, I’ve felt really free, and it’s been wonderful. But, I recently reached a new level of that where there are a lot less anxiety and a lot more gratitude and fun. I trust myself way more than I did at the beginning and I’m so so so grateful for that.

Has it been a smooth road?
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. There is a Joseph Campbell quote that I love. “If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”

This path has been both brutal and glorious. One of the gifts of this path is that it has centered me in my most authentic self. I am the most me I have ever been and I am true to that every day. This path has allowed me to go DEEP within myself.

It has been really challenging. I’ve always been someone who loves money. I remember when I was a kid, saving every bit of money that anyone ever gave me, and occasionally hand washing my bills to try and make them crispy. Not getting a regular check every two weeks meant that I had to trust the universe and trust myself and hone my hustle.

There have been a lot of things I’ve failed at and done really badly that made me question if I even had a business, or if I just had a really time-consuming hobby.

When I started this business, I remember a couple of people saying some really nasty things to me. One, in particular, said ‘well it’s probably just your friends and family buying it. What are you going to do when that dries up? You should really be applying for real jobs.”

One of the great things about having this business is that I have so much control over what I do and who I work with. I’ve put it out there in the universe that I want my work to be uplifting to everyone who it touches. I want my clients to be uplifted by it. I want everyone who sees my Instagram be uplifted by it. I want everyone I meet to be uplifted by it. I want all of my suppliers to be uplifted by it. Having this strong intention has actually helped me to discern when someone isn’t a match. If either of us leaves feeling bad from the interaction, then it’s time to move on! This work, at its core, is about creating more light in the world.

My advice to young women starting their journey:

– Listen deeply. Follow the path (your soul knows where to take you).
– Fail quickly and often. It’s an incredibly efficient way to learn new things and grow really fast. It also gets you some practice in how to fail so that it’s not so intimidating to make bold moves in which you may not immediately succeed.
– Be bold. Like, really really bold. People need the magic that YOU bring to the world. Find out how to give it to them.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Kassi Grunder Jewelry story. Tell us more about the business.
I make high vibration jewelry to align you with your highest purpose. It is handmade with an intention for courageous seekers, visionaries, and bringers of light.

I work with crystals and precious metals to make dainty minimalist pieces that compliment the beauty of the wearer.

The work I make is like a talisman for my clients. I want my clients to feel a deep connection, and to have the tools that they need to enact their purpose in life. It’s amazing how much jewelry can help with that and what a difference a special crystal can make in your life.

Currently, I’ve been working to launch a series of rings in 14k gold. The first one I’m launching is The Commitment Ring. The idea of this ring is that it is a reminder that you deserve your own reverence and that your commitment to yourself and your own path is golden. I’m so excited to offer this piece to the world and to offer my clients this tangible reminder that they are supremely worthy. For some reason, this ring has taken longer than I expected to come into being, and so right now, it’s the thing I’m most proud of. It feels like getting to a new level.

I think that the thing that sets me apart is how my pieces make people feel. In a testimonial, a client once said “I’m convinced that Kassi’s jewelry chooses you more than you choose it”, and I think that for a lot of people, that’s really true. It regularly happens that someone will put on a piece and everyone around will pause and get really quiet because it’s clear that that person plus the stones are greater than the sum of the parts. It’s so amazing when that magic happens. I make sure to choose stones really intuitively when I send things out through web orders as well and have been getting the same feedback. A lot of ‘I don’t know how you knew, but this stone was MEANT FOR MEEEEE’, which feels really great.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
Yes, yes, yes! I think women are absolutely limitless. One of the particular special things that we have as women is the ability to see bullshit and cut it in creative ways.

Pricing:

  • The Commitment Ring starts at $188
  • The Santosha earrings (best seller!) start at just $28
  • The Emerge earrings (featured in one of the pics) start at $48

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Nathaniel Stewart

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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