Jill Goulait of Grey Goose Gifts — simple, modern jewelry.
Jill Goulait didn't start out as a jewelry designer. Growing up in Denver, Colorado, she came to Cincinnati to go to mortuary school and was a funeral director for 10 years. But jewelry has always been one of her passions, so she started crafting simple items — necklaces, earrings, bracelets — in her free time. She was so excited about making jewelry, she made too much and decided to set up an etsy shop. Jill went fulltime with her craft in 2015.
Have you always had an interest in jewelry? Do you have a specific memory — maybe from childhood — where you had a bit of an "aha" moment, like where you thought, "Wow, I really love doing this?"
I have always loved jewelry; it has been constant throughout my life. I tried to pierce my own ears on more than one occasion.
Do you remember the first piece of jewelry you made?
I took a basic wire-wrapping class so it would have been a beaded piece of jewelry — simple, I am sure, because I am very drawn to simple pieces, whether it be metal or stones or both.
When did you start selling your product? What did it feel like to sell your first piece?
Soon after I started making jewelry I began selling to friends and family. Selling it always validates my feelings that I am making jewelry that other women like and want to wear. So the first sale was exciting and every sale since then is exciting. It never gets old for me!
What's the best customer reaction you've had? Or the most impactful situation involving your work you've been a part of?
It's very hard to narrow it down but I have been a part of weddings, a part of remembrance jewelry for a loved one, and for births and mothers. All of those are special and meaningful.
Is this a full-time gig for you? How have your family members reacted to you pursing your career as an artist?
In October 2015, I shifted from part-time to full-time jewelry making. The timing has been good. Family and friends have reacted positively — me and jewelry are a natural fit so I don’t think it has come as a surprise to anyone that knows me. My daughter loves that I make jewelry. She's 4 years old and when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she always says she wants to make jewelry with her mommy.
What inspires you or where do you find inspiration? What drives you to make?
My customers drive me to make. Their excitement always makes me excited to keep creating. I love seeing my jewelry on people — I feel like that's when it comes to life. I get inspiration from so many things; sometimes just playing with shapes. Beauty in nature always inspires, perhaps a pattern on clothing or cracks on the sidewalk.
Do you have any advice for struggling makers out there?
My advice is to keep making. If you feel inspired: make. If you feel bored or uninspired: make. Learn, gain feedback and forge ahead.
What's your dream for Grey Goose Gifts? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to be a business with staying power. I want to reach a larger audience and I want to keep making jewelry that women love.
Do you wear your own jewelry?
Oh, yes. I am my customer. I wear my jewelry daily. I make what I like and go from there.
What phrase or motto do you live your life by?
Go big or go home.
Explore the collection here. And follow Jill on Instagram @greygoosegifts.