Otra Vez’s Jewelry & Accessory Designer ~ Jessica Salazar Talks About Beauty & Giving Everyone & Everything a Second Chance.
Jessica Salazar photographed by Easton Richmond
Otra Vez owner and lead designer, Jessica Salazar, is a Washington native who was born and raised on a small farm in Skagit Valley with her three brothers and amazing parents. Otra Vez is located in Seattle, Washington and they will ship anywhere in the world!
Otra Vez encompasses much of what Jessica is passionate about giving back to local and global communities, conscious and sustainable living, and beautiful creations. She feels so blessed to be able to express herself creatively as an artist, and to make a difference, and a living–all at the same time.
All of the products featured at Otra Vez contain salvaged, recycled, or vintage materials, and are made using socially conscious and sustainable practices. Ten percent of their net proceeds directly support Women for Women International.
Where did your business name, Otra Vez, come from?
I wanted a name that reflected the passion and purpose of my company, “giving everyone and everything a second chance”. Otra Vez is Spanish for “again, or another time.” Since I work with recycled/salvaged/vintage material, it was a great match.
How did you get your start? Did you have fears starting your own business? What advice do you have for people who want start a new business?
I got my start by making jewelry for myself, because I LOVE earrings, and got tired of having the same jewelry that others were wearing. People started commenting on my jewelry and asking me where I got them, so I started making it to sell. I would sell the earrings right out of my ear, or offer to make a similar pair. I built up quite a collection; all made from salvaged/recycled material and began knocking on doors. Literally. I researched different boutiques and found some places that I thought my jewelry would be a good match for, and approached them one by one. I think it may have been initially scary, that fear of rejection was something in the back of my mind. But, I focused on the fact that for every no, there would be a yes, and it was all about finding the right customer/retailer match. Self-doubt still sneaks in to my mind, not so much about my product or designs, but about my ability to keep up with the industry, demand, and business relationships.
I also have a line of greeting cards, www.facebook.com/birdcards and www.lilbirdcards.com, that is growing rapidly and really competes for my time and energy. I depend on my faith in God and belief in His promises and plans for my life to keep me strong, focused, and moving forward. My advice is to believe in yourself and your vision/product and never give up. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and lift you up!
What gives you the most pleasure in your career as a jewelry designer?
There is something so gratifying about seeing other women wear and enjoy my jewelry creations! I love the hands on process and combining different textures and colors to create unique pieces.
Anna photographed by Jessica Salazar
Ten percent of your proceeds are donated to Women for Women International. Why did you choose that organization?
WFW is a powerful organization helping women survivors of war go from victim, to survivor, to active citizen. Through financial aid, job training, rights awareness, and leadership education, these women are given the tools and resources to move from crisis to self-sufficiency, in turn promoting viable civil societies. As the saying goes, “Educate a woman, educate a nation”. I want other women to have the amazing opportunities I have been blessed with.
What keeps you inspired and motivated?
Calling my own shots, setting my own schedule, and continually expressing myself creatively. I also love helping other women from around the world live the same dream for themselves and their families.
Laura photographed by Joseph Schell
Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or body image issues? If so, how did you reach a point of accepting and loving your body as it is?
Yes, of course I have! My key to acceptance was learning to celebrate who I am by understanding that God created me with unique gifts and talents to share with others. It’s not about what size I wear that determines my value.
What advice would you give to young women who are struggling with self-esteem, confidence, or body image?
Beauty is fleeting. You will be truly beautiful to everyone around you when you learn that real beauty is exuded from the heart. When your looks give away, what will be left to shine?
What do you love about yourself? Why?
I have a generous heart. My language of love is giving to others.
Megan photographed by Easton Richmond
How do you define beauty?
What is your beauty must have?
Lip gloss, for sure. I hardly ever wear much else.
What are you working on now? Do you have any new projects?
I’m always trying new jewelry design techniques. Recently, I’ve played around with applying verdigris patina to vintage brass pieces, and integrating porcupine quills into my jewelry. At the moment, I am also super busy with another facet of Otra Vez, a line of recycled greeting cards called A Little Bird Told Me… www.lilbirdcards.com.
Ranny Photographed by Katrina Dartnell
Who would be your dream person to see wearing your Otra Vez?
India Arie or Sade.
What are you excited about right now?
The possibilities for the future of Otra Vez…They are endless. I couldn’t do it alone though! I have to give a shout out to my three amazing interns who make Otra Vez what it is. Julia Westphal, my fashion go-to; Mandesia Sibiya, a woman with great flair and style; and Easton Richmond, photographer extraordinaire. I’m so blessed to have them as part of my team.
Where can we shop for Otra Vez?
You can find Otra Vez products at over thirty-five stores and boutiques in Seattle and surrounding areas, plus stores in Alaska and Kansas. I have lots of customers who shop right off my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/jessica.schellsalazar or at our website at www.otravez-ecotique.com.
*Thank you, Jessica!
**Happy holidays, everyone!