For the first interview in our Meet the Maker series I had the pleasure of chatting with the incredibly talented Camille Carnevale. Camille is a maker I have admired for quite some time. When we started Upstate Crate Co. I knew that I wanted to interview the makers and artisans we featured and to tell their stories. Camille was the first person that came to mind. I bought one of her ever popular moon necklaces at Fort Orange General Store a few years back and it's been a staple in my wardrobe ever since. The moon necklace not only looks beautiful but it has a special meaning to me. As a child, my mother on a daily basis would tell me that she loved me to the moon and back. This necklace made me feel like I carried that childhood memory with me everyday.
When I told this to Camille she shared the story behind her inspiration for the Moon necklace. Whenever her mother was experiencing financial hardship and there was a full moon she would go outside, look up at the moon and she would then invoke the Moon Goddess to guide her towards prosperity. She encouraged Camille to do the same; "Ask the Moon Goddess" she would say. Due to the inspiration the Moon Goddess provided, it's no surprise that the Moon necklace is her best selling piece.
Camille launched her eponymous jewelry line in 2006 at the age of 18 in Upstate New York. Born to a family of entrepreneurs, she knew that running your own business took hard work and perseverance. During her senior year of high school Camille got into jewelry making classes and was especially taken with metalsmithing. Her mother encouraged her to pursue a career in jewelry making and so she created a line of Peace Pendants that were designed with the intention of bringing peace to the wearer. A portion of the proceeds of these pendants were then (and still are) donated to charity. Through a family friend this line of pendants was featured in Rachel Ray Every Day Magazine. Her business took off from that point. She went on to study Gemology in New York City and worked for fine jewelry retailers from Albany to Long Island learning the tricks of the trade. After 4 years of doing this she knew that working for others just wasn't her thing. Her drive to be an independent business owner stemmed from not only wanting freedom but also as a rebellion against the system. In a male dominated, often superficial industry, Camille was able to create a purpose-driven business that helped to connect women from all over with her beautiful designs. Her Crescent Moon Necklace was created not only as an homage to the story shared between Camille and her mother but also as a symbol of community among women dubbed "The Moon Sister Movement". Camille is one of those rare beautiful souls that believes we can all succeed. She does not see other women as competition. Instead she works to bring women together through collaborations and community involvement. She believes that a product based business must be based on the idea that "when you sell a product, you're selling a feeling".
We are beyond excited to be featuring Camille's necklaces as an add-on to our Valentine's Collection in both our "To the Moon and Back" Box and our "Thus with a Kiss" Box. Stay tuned in the next few months for a collaborative interview with Camille where we discuss in depth what it takes to be a jewelry maker in today's artisan jewelry landscape.
Author: Faye Jones, Networking Director and Blogger for Upstate Crate Co.