It’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago today I was sitting in my friend’s kitchen for April’s monthly craft group and learning the basics of cutting leather and assembling earrings.  I remember thinking to myself, “Gee, this is really fun, and pretty simple.  I really enjoy this!”

I had no previous jewelry making experience, except perhaps for making “friendship bracelets” as a kid out of embossing floss in the car on one of our family’s monthly car trips to Milwaukee, WI.

I loved choosing the color combinations and the methodical weaving of the bracelets, but more so, I loved thinking about the person who the completed bracelet was going to and how it would make him/her feel when receiving it and wearing it. 

I never really thought of myself as a “crafty person”, but my invitation to join craft group made me think otherwise.

My part-time position as an event planner constantly challenged me creatively by setting up elaborate, themed food buffets, designing invitations and nametags and assembling floral decorations, so I knew that “crafty person” was in there and she was just waiting for a new challenge.

As the weeks went on after craft group, and I continued to stay up later and later at night making more styles of leather earrings, and I realized that my new little hobby could perhaps become the business that I knew I always wanted, but didn’t know what I was going to sell!

Happy 1st Birthday Coro!

I wore a pair of my white leather knot earrings (which is STILL one of my favorite “go to” pairs and if you own a pair, you know why!  They go with everything!) to my daughter’s dance class one Friday and a fellow dance mom not only told me she “loooooooooved my earrings”, but asked me if she could BUY a pair!  What!?  That comment and question definitely changed things for me. My first 3 customers were my dance mom friends!

My new business needed a name and a “why” and the name is a contribution from a friend of mine who grew up in Brazil as a missionary kid and speaks fluent Portuguese.  Coro, or correctly spelled “couro” is the Portuguese word for “leather.”  I loved the word from the moment she said it!  It was short, to the point and easy to spell!

As for the “why”, we desire to feel beautiful, confident and respected and that is how I feel when I wear my jewelry.  It brings me joy to not only make my jewelry, but to see you feeling beautiful, confident and respected while wearing it! 

My business had a name, but now it needed leather!  At first, I was buying bags of “scrap leather” from craft stores, which was convenient, but most of the leather was “not very exciting ”, the same color (there must be lots of brown cows out there!), and it was expensive for a tiny little bag.

A lady at a craft store suggested the most brilliant idea.  Ask local upholstery shops for their leather scraps!  I was so excited with her suggestion that I called 5 upholstery stores the moment I got back into my car.

Using scraps from upholstery shops has done many things for me.  First, I get to give new life to AMAZING leather pieces that would normally be thrown away (that fancy word “upcycling” right?).  Second, I get to invest in new and continued relationships with those in the shop who have great stories to tell.  (Yes, one of the guys in the shop has a pitbull named “Bones”).  Third, I am challenged creatively to use the colors and patterns of the leather I receive and I love it (I have leather that still has HAIR on it and it’s one of my best sellers!).

I’m pretty proud of where Coro has been and what “she” has become in just one year.  She is in two retail stores, Moxie in Breckenridge, CO and Paris Market Vintage in the Shops at Briargate in Colorado Springs, CO.  She has over 20 styles of leather earrings, 5+ styles of necklaces (which I might add not only have a leather element, but an authentic antique or vintage element as well such as metal findings and beads) and lots of “great concept ideas” for bracelets.  She was at her first vendor event in June (the 4 gals of “A Quaint Market” will always be my favorites!), has a second event coming up this weekend (Red Rock Church, July 15 from 10am-2pm), and has over 7 more events through the rest of the year.  She is sustaining herself and has given me enough to do to resign from my part-time event planner job (yes, also giving me more time at home as a wife and mom which is an added bonus!).

So, Happy Birthday Coro!  Let’s march on to year number two (and see if I can’t figure out how to contain my leather to just ONE room of the house!).

 

Marti Krause