My name is Alana Little, and I make modern custom jewelry at my shop Make Pie Not War. I live in Fresno, California.
I was always driven to be an artistic entrepreneur. I love business and numbers, but I hated working 9-5 as a corporate accountant. I started making jewelry as a hobby, and I never thought my business would grow to where it is now. I am constantly learning new techniques, attending trade shows, and expanding myself as an artist and business owner.
My process involves taking raw materials (like sheet metal and wire) and firing up my torch. I hammer away and polish the finished product until it’s perfect! I stamp or personalize items to fit my customer, then off they go to get a chain, ear wire or packaging. I often work into the wee hours of the morning because I know someone is waiting for their package to arrive. I want my customer’s heart to sing when they open a package and see their jewelry. If I feel something is sub-par, I am the first to start over. I take my job very seriously, and I know that makes a difference to my customers.
Custom orders have helped my business blossom – everyone wants something that’s just uniquely theirs. When a customer contacts me with an idea, I think for a while and then draw up some sketches. Make Pie Not War has a ton of options for a wide customer base, so I’ve had to re-examine my production flow so that I could make custom work feasible on a larger scale. My goal is to make pieces that mean a whole bunch to someone.
I sing Etsy’s praises all the time because it gave me my start as an independent artist. Putting your art out into the world is terrifying, but Etsy is such a huge part of me spreading my wings. Most importantly, it has let me stay at home with my baby Lucy, which means that I’m able to have the best of all worlds: mother, artist, and entrepreneur (all while in my pajamas)!
All photographs by Make Pie Not War.