Meet Chelsie, the designer and creator of our new holiday jewelry collection. Always a ray of sunshine in our jewelry department, Chelsie sat down with us and shared her incredible story of perseverance, updated us on her life since she started at ABLE and what inspired her (first!) collection.
Tell us a little bit about your story and how did you start working at ABLE?
I’ve been an alcoholic and an addict since I was 13 years old. I was actually in jail when I had an interview with the Women’s Life Recovery Program in Nashville to begin taking steps towards recovery. That program saved my life.
I began the program on a Monday in October 2015 and the Thursday of that week, I found out that I was pregnant. I wasn’t detoxed yet, but had to quit cold turkey. It was a huge wake up call for me that I needed to make a change. I already had 2 children previously that were taken away from me, and I didn’t want to lose this one.
One year later, in October 2016, I met ABLE (known then as FASHIONABLE). I had graduated my recovery program and had my 4 month old son. I was attending a chapel at the Nashville Rescue Mission, and ABLE was there, teaching women how to put together jewelry for the evening. Two of the employees noticed that I was helping all of the other girls finish their jewelry before I started my own, and came up to talk to me. They asked if I would be interested in a job making jewelry for their company. I’m a single parent. I’m the mom and the dad and was pretty down in the dumps, until they found me and noticed me. I was encouraged by that.
Tell us more about your role:
I started making jewelry full-time at ABLE the end of October 2016. I started by simply brushing Magnolia Earrings. That's all I did for the first couple months. I then moved into making all the simple necklaces, the wire wrapping, and the stamping. My baby was only a few months old when I started working at ABLE and I remember I used to bring him to work with me, lay him to sleep next to me, and make necklaces. I'd even feed him while I worked and multitask all day. Since then, I have moved up and have become the lead solder in the jewelry department. I'm able to make all different types of jewelry and this is what led me to be able to find inspiration for my collection. It’s fun, I love it. I just think it’s awesome that there’s a greater purpose behind what we’re doing. There are other women I’m working with who have been through similar things. It’s not like going to work everyday - it’s a family that will give you advice and love you through it all.
Tell us what inspired you to design The Chelsie Collection?
It all started with some scrap metal laying around one day. I wanted to make something for myself that I could wear everyday but looked different than anything else we had. I started playing around with a hammering method - which is basically just using a chasing hammer and create little indentures all over the surface. That's how we create the texture on all the pieces in the Chelsie Collection. One day, about a month and a half ago, I decided to show it to Jordan and she loved it. Then Barrett noticed it later and it just kind of took off from there. He said it reminded him of the eclipse, which had just happened! I was so excited. It started with the necklace and then I just kind of continued from there. Fast forward to October and I find out it is going to be featured as the Holiday 2017 collection. It's amazing! We are already started production on all the pieces because we have orders. I can't wait to teach the other girls how to create them and keep it going from there.
When you’re not hard at work, what do you like to do in your free time?
Honestly - I love to bring work home with me. Even if I'm not physically making jewelry, I'm thinking about new designs and looking for inspiration. Other than that, I really love to play with my son and spend time at home with him. He's 16 months now and is all over the place. He loves to run around the house, squealing and waddling. I love to scare him and make him laugh! I also love talking with the other girls in the program and encouraging them, especially the new girls that have just started coming. When you first come in to work here, you’re so vulnerable. But I love talking to them. I love telling them my story and encouraging them. I just like to remind them that if I can do it, then they can too.
We believe that every one of us understands what it means to overcome, and we are all ABLE to find purpose in the work we do. What is something YOU are ABLE to do because of your work?
I am ABLE to fully function without the use of substances in my life. It showed me how to be happy and to actually be who I am. I didn’t know who I was before. But I got sober and found good people. I can now support my family and live a productive life.
When I found out the greater purpose behind ABLE, I realized how awesome it is to be a part of something so much bigger than me. This is the longest job I've ever had and I'm so thankful to be surrounded by people who are supportive. My job here is helping me dream bigger for my future.