J.Yaffa began life in 2009 as my Etsy shop under the name singleBbeautiful. I opened in spring of 2009 and I was so inexperienced! As I look back on it I can't believe that I made it work! I had first taken a metal working class for my art minor in college, but hadn't really pursued making jewelry until several years later after I attended a 3 month intensive with a master goldsmith in San Francisco. When I first hung out my virtual shingle on Etsy, I had never run a business, I had never really even sold anything before. It was a super steep learning curve for the first couple of years. You should have seen how I agonized over every little thing, down to the word choice in my reply emails. All I was aiming for was supporting myself by my art, I wasn't really thinking of my future jewelry empire (haha, still under construction, obviously). But as my business evolved, I decided my business name needed to evolve as well. The J stands for Justine (that's me!), and Yaffa is my middle name. I still sell under the name singleB and singleBbeautiful on Etsy. If you are curious, you can browse my sold history to see the evolution of my design, and you can check out my reviews history there as well. I have had many wonderful customers who have left informative reviews there. I understand that buying jewelry on the internet can be intimidating, and that it helps to buy from an actual person (I exist!).
I love precious metals and stones. Not only because they are precious, but because they are beautiful and hard wearing. I try to make jewelry that will last as close to forever as a piece of well loved jewelry can. I want my pieces to be passed on to grandchildren. Perhaps to be taken apart and reset to suit the fashion of the times? But maybe not! I hope not. And that is what I am aiming for. Pieces that a future granddaughter will be as excited to wear as her nana was back in the day. And I want the construction of my work to last that long too, not just the designs.
I can't take myself too seriously though and I don't want to go on and on about my design process or influences. Ideas come into my mind, I attempt to make them in metal and then I make them again and again until they are perfect. I don't have enough time (or resources!) to make all of the things that I think of, but nothing is more satisfying than when I finish a new piece. Except, perhaps, when I make something new and people like it as much as I do. I avoid making things that I wouldn't wear myself, mostly because I despise having to work on something that doesn't appeal to me aesthetically. (Full disclosure. :-)
I value each piece individually and give it my full attention, and I try to not let routine take over. I love it when my customers let me know a little about themselves (of course, I also value those who just want to buy something and don't need a lot of backstory or hand holding!). And I REALLY love getting engagement or wedding photos after my work has been put into action. It is so special to get to witness people at such a happy stage in their lives, I love my job.