Meet the Designer: Jen Boschma
We recently released a jewelry line in collaboration with BOSCHMA. Today we're introducing you to the designer of the gorgeous dainty Dressember necklace and earrings, Jen Boschma.
Jen, you design gorgeous jewelry pieces! What drove you to the jewelry industry?
Oh my gosh, thank you so much! I first started jewelry because I needed a creative outlet that I could control. I was acting at the time and felt like so much of my career was out of my control and in someone else’s hands. I took one class and was hooked. So much has happened since I started jewelry - I co-founded an inspirational jewelry company called Tribe of Dreamers with Annie Walker that helped raise money for non-profits, and now I’m pursuing my own conflict-free, custom wedding ring line which felt like a pipe dream on day one. I still feel so lucky that this is my ‘job’ - it honestly feels like a gift that I get to be a little part of the most beautiful moment of peoples lives.
I think through all of it, I stuck with jewelry because I love what it represents - love. I’ve always felt that jewelry carries a certain power and intimacy. It’s the one material object that we wear in every situation - shower, boardroom, dinner table - in all of life’s ups and downs. I want to make pieces that remind you of who you are, that you are infinitely loved just as you are no matter what has happened that day, and point you back to the beautiful promises in your life when it gets hard.
The name BOSCHMA is lovely. Where does it come from?
Thank you! It’s dutch, so it hails from Holland, and it also happens to be my last name :) I settled on the name because my grandpa Boschma represents the same ideals that I want my jewelry to represent. He lived in Holland during WW2 and his family helped provide safe refuge and hiding from those fleeing from persecution. I’m so proud that they stood up for those without a voice, for what was right. I hope to do the same for those who have been hurt by the jewelry industry, and take a stand to make ethical pieces that are conflict free, honor all in the process, and help heal the wounds mining has created.
What is your biggest design inspiration/influence?
The clients I get to work with. I love hearing their story - why he loves her, how they fell in love, what their dreams are. My favorite thing to do is pull in creative elements to capture their story in the ring. It makes everything so much more meaningful and beautiful. One client was getting engaged at a picnic so we incorporated a basket weave on the bottom of the ring; another is a poet so we inscribed the same font that he used to write love letters to her throughout the years. The tiny details just get me.
Why did you decide to partner with Dressember this year?
I’ve been a fan of Dressember for so long and in my book, there’s nothing better than doing what you love to end what you hate. When I chatted with Blythe it was an instant YES! I’m so inspired by all the women who have come together - there’s such a beautiful sense of sisterhood with Dressember and I’m honestly so honored to get to be a little part of the magic. I'm so inspired.
Something unique that we noticed about you is that you live on a sailboat! Can you tell us a bit about what life is like on a sailboat?
I do! Well, I bought the sailboat without knowing how to sail or really anything about them to be honest, so it’s been a huge learning experience :) There are moments when it’s magical and feels like a movie - eating dinner while the moon is reflecting off the water, washing dishes and seeing a sting rey swim by, paddleboarding to breakfast in the morning. And then there are moments less glamorous - hitting your head on the roof above your bed, patching leaks when it rains because all of your clothes are wet, locating that one missing flip-flop for the shared marina shower. For me, living on a boat has been a reminder to appreciate the small things - like a sink that can fit more than one plate at a time AND the glowy lights over the water :)
You seem quite adventurous. What is the craziest thing you have done in a dress?
Oh boy! I went to Mozambique last summer with a group of entrepreneurs called Project Raiz to help create jobs for rural artisans. On one of the last days, a couple of us decided to swim with whale sharks. So, yours truly, in a black cotton dress, and a small yellow inflatable boat headed into the middle of the Indian Ocean where we stopped on top of a giant whale shark which was larger than all of us combined and we jumped into the water with him. I was so scared that I held my friend, Rachel Brown’s hand while swimming. Much to our surprise, the boat drove away to follow the shark - why tho? - leaving us in open water. It felt like the beginning of a bad movie. One of my biggest fears is sharks AND open water, ironic given my current living situation, and I can now say I conquered both while wearing a dress :)
Tell us about a woman you admire!
There are so many women I admire for so many reasons! One at the top of my list, after my mom, of course, is Nada Jones. I got to know her as a friend on the above trip to Africa (she helped create it with another inspirational powerhouse, Caroline McGraw) and they both are as good as they come. You learn a lot about someone while sitting in the back of a bus for two weeks, and the way Nada juggles raising her children, loving her husband, supporting her clients AND starting a platform for female entrepreneurs called LIBERTY is so inspiring. When most women would say their plate is full, she dreams bigger. She’s relentless in giving women the tools to take the next steps in growing their business and unlocking their dreams. Personally, she was the first person to challenge me to think of myself as a businesswoman and take myself and my craft seriously.
On your website, you mention that you want to “bring love and truth to the diamond industry”. Can you tell us a bit about how you are doing that?
We’re changing everything that is shady about the wedding industry and bringing the focus back to what it’s always been about - love. Everything we create is made ethically in Los Angeles, and we use real diamonds that are cultivated above ground in California by The Diamond Foundry. All of our prices are honest and fair and the focus is capturing the essence of the bride, not upselling or getting the largest stone. Lastly, the very first act of every one of our engaged couples helps do good in the world as a portion of proceeds helps build a jewelry artisan center in Mozambique.
Looking back at your career, what would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to the young girl just starting out?
First, "Don't date him." And then, “You will accomplish less than you think you can in one year, but far more than you think you can in 5.” The beginning of my journey was one of multiple jobs, stale tortillas, and dollar store grapes, sleeping next to a drill press and shuffling jewelry from one side of the kitchen table to the next so I could eat breakfast. There were so many sacrifices and times when I wanted to quit, and I feel like just now, nearly 5 years later, I am starting to accomplish the dreams that I’ve always had. It’ll be hard, it will take all of you, but it will be beautiful and worth it.
What is something you’re especially excited about these days?
I’m so excited for this partnership and to hopefully see a stranger wearing the little hanger in a coffee shop! If you’re in LA and I come up to you, don’t be scared :) And I’m so excited to see the artisan center come together in Mozambique. Ideally, this will be the first of many beautiful spaces that BOSCHMA engagements will help support.
What is your favorite quote?
"Say yes and figure it out later."
From boats, to business partners to jewelry, it’s my golden rule :)
Oh my goodness! Tell me I am not the only who wants to be best friends with Jen!? I would say that swimming with whale sharks in a dress might just be the craziest thing we have heard, proving again that #youcandoanythinginadress. Thank you, Jen, for sharing your story with us, for your amazing wisdom and heart, and for creating the Dressember jewelry line of our dreams.
If you're interested in viewing more of Jen's gorgeous jewelry, check out her website below, and be sure to browse the Dressember shop to purchase the Dressember jewelry collection!