Makers 1-on-1 is our original interview series featuring today's makers and DIYers. We're sitting down with new makers every week to learn more about their projects, how they acquire information, their purchase processes, and their passions.
This week, we’re interviewing Jennifer Hasbach, a jewelry designer who specializes in snap charm jewelry. Jennifer’s interchangeable bracelet and necklace designs — sold through her Etsy store, The Snap Exchange — are created with customization and personality in mind. In order to create snap jewelry, Jennifer uses leather, metal snaps, paper cutouts, epoxy resin, and a blowtorch. If your brand sells to jewelry makers or resin crafters, this 1-on-1 interview with Jennifer will give you important insights into connecting with makers like her.
What's your name and what do you do?
I’m Jennifer Hasbach. I make interchangeable snap jewelry and other types of jewelry that fit my style.
How and when did you get started making jewelry?
The idea for the snaps came about seven years ago. Right after my boys were born, I went to Germany. They have a brand there called Noosa that makes snap bracelets. I got a long wrap one, and they hand-make theirs, but the people there carve and don’t do resin. But I thought it would be so fun to make my own snaps and put my own things in them.
My sister makes jewelry, and when I first started researching, I found the tools, and I said to her, “Here’s something you can do.” And she said, “No, Jenn, this is what YOU can do.” So that’s how I started. It developed since then with research and trying to figure out how resin works and how tools work.
What are your favorite sources to use for research?
I did a lot of Pinterest, blogs, and YouTube, and I would Google and see what comes up. I click on it, and if it doesn’t apply, I go back and keep looking for something that does. My husband gets irritated sometimes that I’m always on my phone, but I’m seriously researching. There’s so much to learn and there’s always updates. Like with my resin, there’s one I stick to, but I do like to try others to see if they’re better. And then there might be issues with that resin – it might have bubbles or not stick or something – so there are a lot of things to test.
What materials and tools do you need to make snaps and bracelets?
I use a soft leather for my leather bracelets, and I cut it with a rotary cutter on the rotary mat. Of course I use the snap components to make the actual snaps, as well as my snap press. I also make bracelets out of fold over elastic. I also use resin, printed objects for the designs on special paper, and things like scissors and a blowtorch to remove bubbles from the resin from time to time.
What's the process for making a bracelet from start to finish?
For the leather ones, I get a pack of leather from Michael's because it’s soft, so I like that particular leather. I’ve ordered some others, and I haven’t liked them as well. When I get that leather, it’s like 1.5", so I cut it down to 3/4". I lay it out nice, then rotary cut it to 3/4", and then I measure to the different sizes I make. That’s something I do that the mass-manufactured versions don’t. So I measure the different parts of where the holes would go, then I use my snap press to press the components into place.
What standards do you look for in products you try?
With the leather, I look for it to be soft and something I’d want to wear. If a product can’t handle me, then I don’t see it handling someone else. I’m busy, and it needs to be comfortable but also strong because they got pulled on. Wear and tear is really important.
What social media platforms do you use?
I feel like I’m not very good at it. I use Instagram and Facebook. I have my Etsy site and Etsy website. Usually I post on Instagram and transfer it to Facebook from there. I kind of follow whoever is inspirational or I like what they do. I use Pinterest too, and I use that to check if I’m doing things right based on what I see other people doing. That’s still for a lot of research and figuring things out. When I went to college for advertising and marketing, they didn’t have much of anything about social media, so I’m still learning.
How do you manage the time it takes to make jewelry with your busy schedule?
I do it intermittently. I had all my stuff upstairs on the kitchen counter for a while. I eventually talked my husband into letting me use this downstairs space, and I have another table in the back room. I’ll do the messing around stuff back there like soldering and all that. I can take my stuff and lock it up so nobody else can touch it and my boys can play down here.
What's the most challenging part of making jewelry?
Sometimes it is finding the time. Summer wasn’t busy at all, and now that fall’s hit, it got busy again. Shows that I did happened to be my sister’s shows too. I take my stuff and hers and we do it together. I would do the shows anyway, and I am signed up for some before the end of the year, it’s just that I hadn’t thought about it because of the craziness. And if I plan to do a show and my husband goes out of town, I have to find someone to watch the kids.
How do you find support in the maker community?
I do talk to people at shows I attend, but I talk to my sister mostly about what’s going on. I try not to step on her toes and do what she does. Then I just use the Pinterest community to research for the most part. I spend a lot on materials because I’m still trying to figure it out myself.
What's your main motivation for continuing to make jewelry?
I like the creative part of making things. Sometimes over the summer when it wasn’t busy, I would think maybe I should stop, but then that made me so sad. Once my boys get older, I’ll still have student loans I’ll pay until I’m 100, but I wonder if somehow, this will take me there, or if I’ll have to go back to doing something else. It’s hard to know.
How do you deal with challenges that come up in your process?
With resin, even with the one I use the most, it really depends on temperature. So sometimes I have to take things to another room, or leave them in the bathroom with the heater on, or change the humidity in the room. Every day is something new until I figure it out. I actually use liquid syringes that I get from the pharmacy, and I suck up the resin and put it on the bezel that way to lessen my bubbles. The pharmacy guy is so happy to give them to me. Nobody told me to use syringes, but it was a thought that I was willing to try. Every day is some kind of trial until it works.
What's your favorite part about making jewelry?
Coming up with new designs. I also like to make special ones that mean something to people. One woman who also makes jewelry, we started talking on Instagram, and she got a leather bracelet with four snaps, and each snap had a different state, and they stood for all the places that her heart has lived. I thought that was so sweet. I even got another sale from the bracelet that she liked so much.
What's coming up next for you?
Just the new line of a different style I’m working on. I also have a wholesale order to do currently, so I’m working on that. I’ll start putting out the new stuff maybe next year. I’ve been playing with some new mediums other than resin, like clay, but there hasn’t been time to do much with it yet. So we’ll see what’s next.