Jewelry maker Kenda Kistenmacher discusses her very first designs and the necklace she never takes off.
It's not hard to spot a piece of Kenda Kist jewelry. Look for simple shapes: circles, triangles, tear drops and bars. Then find the twist-the bend in the rod, the hammered texture, a curl at the end of a hoop. Her aesthetic? "Simplicity with just a slight bit of edge," says designer Kenda Kistenmacher, 38. Based in North Carolina, Kistenmacher has crafted her line of necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings and anklets since 2002, and sells them locally at Thread's Grandview and Dublin locations. We chatted with her about her industry start, her love of layering and the necklace she never takes off.
On her first designs:
When I was a freshman in high school, I started working at a little bead store in my hometown. I started making my own unique creations for homecoming, and then my friends started asking me for pieces, and I started creating jewelry for customers as well. I was always trying to create something unique that I could wear that no one else had.
From day one, I've loved layering. And my jewelry is very lightweight. It's all natural metals: It's sterling silver, it's 14-karat gold filled. I feel that in the world of statement jewelry, I offer something unique that women feel very comfortable wearing and very feminine in without feeling overwhelmed by what they have on. With layering, you can still get that great look, you can still make a statement, and you don't feel like you're wearing anything that's heavy or intrusive.
On where she looks for inspiration:
I try not to follow trends, but I do try to be on trend. I find inspiration in Gwen Stefani. She's one of my major inspirations. I think her style is very clean, aesthetically pleasing. She doesn't wear a lot of gaudy pieces. Geometry has always interested in me, and I have a little boho side, so I love stars and moons.
On her go-to necklace:
My favorite piece is probably the bullet necklace. I'm adding a bullet ring, a bullet earring. I currently wear all those pieces. The bullet necklace is always on my neck. It layers with every single piece I have.
On why there's no ideal "Kenda Kist" gal:
I still get excited when I see someone coming up to me, and they have layered Kenda Kist jewelry on. They all wear it differently. That's what I strive for-for every woman to be able to wear this jewelry.