We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Jonnie Estes a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Jonnie, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Are you happy as a creative professional? Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to work for someone else?
This is such a good question! I would say overall I am very fortunate to have a relatively happy disposition which certainly colors my outlook on anything I do. I have my days of doom, and I don’t think they would go away regardless of my career path. I think questioning what you’re doing with the finite time you’re given is always a good thing to check in on. I would say I check in on myself at least twice a year if not more (yay unexpected small business struggles/lulls!)
The most recent or most magnified time I pondered a more regular job was in the middle of 2020. I had an insanely busy 2019 that burnt me to a crisp and of course that was followed-up by a very unexpected pandemic that overnight froze life for the world. Sometimes I struggle if what I create is necessary or meaningful, and 2020 was full of disarray, mind chaos, and sheer shock. Having a huge dip in sales definitely did not help that struggle when you still need to figure out how to support yourself/family, so I found thinking about a regular full-time job was almost soothing and a way to hone in a back up plan. I considered going back to school for a credential to become a teacher, learning a CRM program, and looking into web development. I think as a creative person I am drawn to regular jobs that still require an element of creativity. I think the biggest hurdle for me if, I ever were to transition to something more regular, is if the job required set hours. As a creative/my own boss one of the greatest perks is being able to have flexibility in my schedule.
Jonnie, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
My name is Jonnie and I am the maker + owner behind jewelry brand Grey Theory Mill. I started my business in college back in 2010 and over the years it has evolved from hand-sewn journals, pillowcases, t-shirts, art prints to a fun, snarky, and timeless jewelry line.
Grey Theory Mill’s claim to (smol) fame would definitely be its tiny stamped statement earrings. Stamped with sweet–mama bear, dog mom, plant lady; sassy–CAN’T EVEN, not today, F THIS; and everything in-between. Grey Theory Mill aims to curate cohesive jewelry collections that merge simple, edgy, hypoallergenic, & timeless design with high quality + ethically sourced materials at accessible price points.
FUN FACT: Every pair of Grey Theory Mill earrings are made with Surgical Grade A Titanium earring posts/hooks. Titanium is 100% nickel-free and truly hypoallergenic
Jonnie hammers out every piece of stamped jewelry and assembles her work in her studio in San Diego.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
I think being creative is the reward itself. Seeing things a little bit differently, finding inspiration in the unexpected, and in my case being lucky enough to figure out how to use my artistic side to carve out a life for myself that is fulfilling and mostly fun.
What do you think is the goal or mission that drives your creative journey?
I love to create and for a couple years was pursuing an art degree. Although I appreciate and enjoy fine art, I never could see myself creating it. I did for classes, but what really inspired me was art that was more attainable, functional, wearable, and usable.
- Website: www.greytheorymill.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/greytheorymill
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreyTheoryMill/
- Other: tik tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@greytheorymill
Please credit Let’s Frolic Together for about me photo