When asked how she creates new lines:

CSB: I don't necessarily work in seasons when I am creating a new line. I do divide my collections into seasons, but they don't necessarily have more of a fall feel or a summer feel to them. I tend to create a collection purely from what inspires me at the time. It might begin with a particular type of reading I am interested in or just sitting down at my bench to play around with metal. Most new designs are born this way. I'll try something different that totally works in my head, but then it flops and ends up taking on a new form and inspires me in a completely new direction. I love working this way. 

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

I mistook one of her symbols for a feather on her main website clairesommersbuck.com. Eventually I learned the feather turned out to be a leaf

CSB: I love the dual symbolism. It's funny too because I have a tattoo of that symbol on my wrist and after I first got it, the artist showed it to some people in the room and one woman said, "What a beautiful feather!" So, I guess you can interpret it either way. I think that's why I love it so much. The significance behind the leaf stems from my love for the natural world. The majority of my designs are organic in shape, texture and color, so when choosing my logo, the leaf/feather fit perfectly. 

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

With the recent rise of sustainable practices within the fashion/retail industry, consumers are becoming more aware of who creates products, where they come from, and ultimately, who benefits from the sales. I asked Claire what her thoughts are on sustainable businesses:

CSB: I definitely think more sustainable clothing and accessories is the next boom within the fashion/retail industry. In fact, I think we are already seeing that boom in full swing. I highly respect companies whose mission is to create sustainable and fair trade goods. We live in a world suffocated by products that are cheap to produce and cheap to buy, but those are the same products that have short life spans and ultimately end up filling our landfills.

As a sustainable business, you are not only leaving less of an impact on the planet, but you are also creating a story behind your product. I think people are really looking for that these days. They want to know where this thing they are buying comes from, who made it, and what is it made out of. I respect this type of responsibility as a consumer. I do think sustainable businesses have higher quality products and generally this goes hand in hand with fair trade practices.

The fashion industry is laden with sweatshops with unfair wages and unsafe working conditions. I think consumers are beginning to realize that there is more to an outfit than just the way it looks. As the world becomes a smaller place, we are more educated on these inequalities and have begun to make smarter consumer choices. There is a long way yet to come, but I am very happy to see these types of companies becoming successful. 

Photo Credit: Claire Sommers Buck

Lastly, I asked Claire What are your words of wisdom for Jacksonville’s creative and entrepreneurial community?

CSB: Dedicate yourself to your work, make sure you are always positively impacting people and don't ever stop imagining and creating. It's these ideas, inspirations and motivation that will help Jacksonville grow to be a better place to call home.

Overall, the vision of Claire Sommers Buck is to create jewelry that inspires others and makes a positive impact on the people who wear it. Claire wants to give back to the community that she lives in and as her business continues to grow, reach more clientele. “This includes being a positive and encouraging voice for all artisans out there trying to make a living with their craft.”

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