Avery Callan designs success with a jewelry brand

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“If this is my dream career, even for now, why would I quit? I might go to college later or online, but right now I see where life is taking me”

ST. LOUIS- Avery Callan may have just graduated from high school this spring, but the 18-year-old already has several years of business experience under her belt.

Callan launched her jewelry brand – called Nova Vita – when she was just a sophomore in high school to help pay for a car. The brand is doing so well that Callan has decided to forgo college and will instead focus on Nova Vita for the time being.

“If this is my dream career – even just for now – why should I cut this off?” she says. “I could go to college later or online, but right now I see where life is taking me.”

Callan currently works from his home in the Holly Hills neighborhood and has seen an increase in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, she is streamlining her jewelry-making process and hopes that one day she can sell her work in a brick-and-mortar space.

Why did you launch your jewelry brand — Nova Vita? It was a slow buildup, but I started my sophomore year of high school selling vintage clothes first. I needed to buy a car. I started walking to a Goodwill store near my house to dress up and made a small photo studio in my bedroom. I repaired these clothes, photographed them and sold them online. It was great fun and worked for a while. I did a little pop-up event in Maplewood at a furniture store there and started looking to do more, but realized I had to be more careful about what I brought to the places. I thought jewelry would be easier to carry around and always wanted to try it. During my school holidays in December 2018, I started playing with clay and making things. It was quite well received and I slowly let go of my clothes.

How are your jewelry made? I usually stick to polymer clay. I will sometimes do add-ins – like chalk or rock to blend them in and give them some extra texture. You can also go the other way and make a pasty substance out of clay, which I haven’t done much. It’s quite a long process. I mix all my colors by hand because I hate using them out of the box because then they are not unique. You have to mix the colors, roll the clay and shape it, then cut it, fire it and put it all together. I try to do this in batches, so I cook several things at once.

Do you only make earrings? I mostly stick to earrings because that’s exactly what has worked for me so far. I made necklaces and keychains and little trinkets like that. I made coasters at one point. I’m experimenting more with interior design now because I’ve always loved interior design. I know jewelry won’t last forever, so sometimes I think maybe I should go in a different direction, like home decor. But it’s hard to create something so big while maintaining a very high quality.

Where do you find your inspiration? I draw inspiration intentionally and unintentionally – and mainly from nature. I love spending time outdoors and just watching the way the light hits things. The natural elements really inspire me. Architecture for sure too. Whether it’s local buildings or things I see online.

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