I met Angela through her first store in Northern Liberties. We started selling stationery there and I loved popping in to drop off product and talk shop about all things design and business—two topics we can both go on for hours about! Now she has grown her business to an incredibly inspiring store in Rittenhouse Square of Philadelphia and has expanded her fine jewelry offerings. Read below to find out about her shop, design inspiration, personal style, and more. - Amy Voloshin
Angela wears the Luna Weekend Dress in Soft Black
How did you get started in metalsmithing and jewelry-making? When did you decide to start your own line?
I've been making jewelry professionally for about 10-12 years but really started when I was a little girl if you count the lanyard, hemp, and beaded bracelets that I sold on the school bus. Once I got into college, I wanted extra income but really wasn't good at working in restaurants, so I started making wire wraps with big crystals. My friends all loved them and commissioned me for custom pieces.
I then dropped out of my psychology degree and started taking classes at a craft college where I learned traditional metalsmithing, glassblowing, and printmaking. I loved all three of those mediums but jewelry-making always was my favorite.
When I was 23, I moved to Baltimore and started college back up at M.I.C.A (Maryland Institute College of Art) where I took more jewelry classes. The teachers there were really great and during my first casting class, I launched an Etsy site and started selling my pieces online, at craft shows and music festivals.
Your designs are beautiful! Where do you pull inspiration for your creations?
Thank you! For me, it's all about the crystals! I have been collecting them since I was a child and have always been fascinated with the structure in how they grow. My first collection was taking all the unique crystal shapes and casting them into solid metal so people could view them as sculptural objects. As I have gotten further into my career, making fine jewelry has become important to me. When I am designing for collections I really just design for myself, and when I am making custom bridal jewelry it's all about collaborating with the customer so that we make the perfect piece come to life!
How would you define your style?
I either do a menswear look that is chic with a bit of punk or I'm in Athleisure. I'm big on comfort so anything that is super soft, flowy and cozy. Oh and I love love love vintage everything!
Angela wears the Kamala Cross Front Dress in Prairie Floral
You also run a store here in Philadelphia—can you tell us a little about that? Do you carry other jewelers? How do you decide what brands to work with?
My storefront Ritual Shoppe moved to Rittenhouse in December 2018, so we are in our first year being part of Center City. It was a big, scary, and fabulous move and I couldn't be happier! Ritual Shoppe is a brick and mortar store and online brand that focuses on quality handmade designs from artists all over the country mixed with a high vibe lifestyle gift shop. We try to have something for everyone and love the community it has created over the years.
The space is beautiful and I love all the custom details—did you design it yourself? What was that process like?
It was such a big collaboration of people that helped to pull it together. We signed the lease in Sept of 2018 and had the store open by December. I will never forget how challenging it was at times to get through the build-out process and reach the opening day, but thanks to so many great people and my team we were able to pull it off.
Laura from Shop Journal and Machelle from Idol Light helped with the concept, colors, and layout. Carson Sio, Jimmy Althouse, Patty Crash, and Zach Taylor built the display and pieces of custom furniture. I found most of the interior accents at placed like Betsu Studio and Jinxed. I'm always changing things up and on the hunt for unique jewelry displays. Pink and gold of course!
What’s a typical day like for you?
I love my quiet mornings and am big into morning routines. I try not to look at my phone or computer for the first hour and that really does wonders for my ability to move through the day with grace. On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday I focus on my jewelry line with my assistant and production manager, Lauren Keating. We usually go to jewelers row on each of those days and we are a really good team together and have a lot of fun. Since starting to work with her, I have seen so much improvement in my workflow and just overall stress levels.
On Tuesday, I have manager meetings with our marketing coordinator, Chloe Keene, and shop manager, Brittany Kaplan. They are both incredible woman and have helped me solidify my vision for Ritual Shoppe in the last few months. Monday and Fridays are also merchandising and inventory days and you can find Holly Simple (creator of Holly Simple Tarot Deck) in the shop talking about crystals and putting out the vibes! Saturdays are dedicated to just doing retail and talking to as many people that come in the door, and Sunday I have off! This is my first time ever having a weekend day off and it is so wonderful.
What are your local favorite spots for healthy eating?
Top Rittenhouse favorites by the shop are P.S & CO, Tria Taproom, Stock, and sweetgreen. Sometimes I meal prep and bring my lunch to work and those days I feel extra adult-like!
What are the most rewarding and most challenging things about your field?
The most rewarding thing is that you are always growing and learning more. There's no cap on my income or limiting structures to what I do. I can literally do anything I want and each project or experience is teaching me what works or what doesn't work.
The most challenging thing in my field is definitely the amount of organization it takes to run a jewelry business. There's an insane amount of pieces and details and much room for error, so you really have to be on top of everything. I have learned so much since starting to make custom engagement rings and I am forever grateful to the other makers I am friends with and all my resources on jewelers row.
Any tips for someone interested in/just getting into jewelry making?
I am definitely someone that encourages people to just go for things. If it's been on your mind for a while now and you feel a pull towards something creative, you really just have to jump in and be ok with not being good at things at first. Jewelry-making is a skill that can be learned like anything else and I really suggest taking at least an intro to jewelry class to get started. Forge & Finish jewelry collective offers one at their studio and it's very affordable. Then for continuing education, I loved Kate Wolfs wax carving class in Portland, Maine. She is an epic teacher and has an amazing week-long class where I learned a lot of my original wax carving techniques.
You can visit Angela's store, Ritual Shoppe, in person at 2003 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, or shop online at ritualshoppe.com. Follow along with her jewelry-making on her Instagram, @angelamonacojewelry.