Kemi Gadaleta | founder, Kemi Designs
Bombshell | noun : one that is stunning, amazing, or devastating.
Manhattan Bombshells is a spin-off to the original Brooklyn Bombshells blog series from the desk of Rue Saint Paul.
The Bombshells launched in 2018 as a blog series featuring women movers & shakers, influencers, and makers & doers in our neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The blogs are an inside look at the everyday woman in our own neighborhood, her passion projects, and her inspirations on life, fashion, and travel.
Read on about our feature Bombshell: Kemi Gadaleta, founder of Kemi Designs
Kemi Designs | @kemidesigns
What is your passion project? Why did you start it
My passion has ALWAYS been to create, it's just in my blood. I worked every job under the sun, sometimes multiple jobs at once, and finally started my jewelry line, Kemi Designs, a few years ago. I haven't turned back since. I was inspired by my travels and always knew I needed to work for myself; I'm the 3rd generation in my family to do so!
When I started my line it was just for fun. Beading, taking apart and putting back together pieces, and giving them to friends. It wasn’t until those friends suggested I sell them and I learned about Etsy, that I started to grow. From there it slowly built into my line. I started taking metal-smithing classes at the YMCA and fell in love with soldering. My line has never been about a job, making money, or getting out of the 9 to 5. It’s about making jewelry that I love, love to make and to wear, and finding that other people have the same taste. It’s about constantly creating, which is something I’ve always done even as a kid. It’s fun trying to find inspirations as it can truly come from anywhere; travel, culture, art. One time an idea for a piece came from a photo of a rug. It’s things like this that keep my business interesting and different every day. I do a lot of custom work as well, which is amazing because it constantly challenges me. It seems like everyone has their own ideas for a piece and I’m sort of their personal “factory” that gets it done. It’s fun going from a simple idea, to an email, to creating the piece and seeing the final product come to life.
The most challenging part is stability, or lack thereof. Sometimes, the lows are so low and you don't know how you'll survive and how to make a living out of what you love. However, if you love it and you stick with it, it all works out in the end. Then when it rains, it pours!
The most rewarding part is seeing someone wear my jewelry. I can't describe the feeling of making something you love from scratch and then to see someone else love it so much that they wear it everyday.
What brought you to Manhattan? How long have you lived here? What Manhattan neighborhood do you live in?
I'm original from Long Island, so Manhattan was an obvious move. Besides leaving for college in Delaware for 4 years and then living in Australia for a year after that, I have been in NYC for 10 years now! I live in the East Village, the best part of the city in my opinion ;)
Describe your style in 3 words.
Relaxed bohemian chic.... or so my friends say.
What is the one fashion accessory you cannot live without?
Earrings. When I was 10 year old, I wanted to get my ears pierced so bad. I wasn't allowed to get them done until I was 13, so I memorized a book of poems about earrings and quoted it every damn day to my mom. She never caved and I still had to wait until I was 13. Respect.
We love to travel and hope you do too. Where was your last trip and where is your next one?
My last trip was to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (one of the most beautiful places in the country) for one of my best friend's wedding. Next up is Australia in December for Christmas with my fiancé's family!
If you didn’t live in Manhattan, where would you want to live?
Australia (my family is going to hate me for saying it). I have always loved San Diego too! Sometimes I feel like I belong on the west coast.
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