Maker Profile: Sylvia Tennant of Zaleska Jewelry
Meet the Maker is an ongoing series that showcases up-and-coming designers, artists and creatives. Meet Sylvia Tennant, the creative, carefree designer behind Zaleska Jewlery.
Who are you and what do you design?
My name is Sylvia Tennant and I design Zaleska Jewelry.
Tell us a bit about how you got you to where you are today.
The brand started as a creative partnership between my best friend, Danielle Noel, and myself. We met in art school at the University of Victoria and designed jewelry together under the pseudonym Zaleska. When we first started, we supported every bead store and crystal shop in Victoria and Vancouver. I brought the brand over to the mainland in 2014 and we owe a good deal of our growth to the pop-up events I started booking at UBC and SFU. Zaleska Jewelry has occupied a regular booth at the Eastside Flea in Vancouver for the past few years and I’ve been welcomed into a beautiful community of makers whom I adore. It’s always a pleasure driving up the Sea to Sky for Refresh Market, and I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and taking part once again this coming November. Throughout our journey we’ve met wonderful people, traveled the world to source beautiful stones, and learned a million things about business (still learning)! Most importantly, all of this has grown from the beautiful friendship we share. Danielle is currently working on her newest project, The Starchild Tarot.
If you could choose one word to describe your collection what would it be.
Routine is a bit different for me because I don’t have a regular 9-5 job. On any given day, I could be running to the post office, answering emails, sourcing new materials, heading straight to the design table in my home studio, getting on a plane, writing an accessories or travel column for Niche Magazine, or teaching anything from kindergarten to Grade 12 (I’m also an on-call teacher in the Vancouver School District). Anticipating variety has become routine for me.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration is derived from my curiosities, mostly. It could be a fleeing moment, a fabric, a photograph or a particular gemstone. I always want to wear beautiful, unique pieces that make me feel good, so I try and design those. I’m very inspired by the metaphysical quality of crystals, which is a huge narrative within our brand.
Tell us about maintaining a balance. Do you?
This is the goal! I’ve just hired my mother as my assistant. Best. Decision. Ever. As an artist, a sounding board is extremely important. Danielle and I are so fortunate to be able to send each other visuals of what we’re up to and give each other unbiased advice. I’m also very grateful for my partner Rod, who accepts me for who I am (a human tornado).
Is there a designer or brand with whom you’d love to collaborate?
I’m always been a fan of the positive energy and bohemian spirit that defines Spell & the Gypsy Collective. Their brand inspires me often and I’m slowly collecting their beautiful pieces.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to launch their own business?
Enjoy the process. I used to be so concerned with little details and although they are important, there should always be room to breathe. I often remind myself that this is a journey and I’m in control of how I want to feel as I experience it. Stresses tend to melt away when the big picture is in mind.
What’s next for you?
My goal for the next year is to streamline the business side of things and partner with more retail stores. I’m currently doing this interview from Marrakech, Morocco where I’ve come to explore and find special pieces for the brand.