Looking at the collection of handcrafted jewelry at Holland & Birch, you would never guess that it all started with a frying pan. Setting out to make a necklace with her daughter’s initials on it, founder Suzanne Jones picked up hand-stamping supplies on a whim at a local craft store. However, instead of buying a metal block to practice stamping, she started with a frying pan on her dining room table to see if hand-stamped jewelry was something she could actually create. Spoiler alert: She certainly could! Hand-stamped jewelry quickly became Suzanne’s specialty.
Once word got out about Suzanne’s talent, it didn’t take long for people in the Homewood community to approach Suzanne about creating customized bracelets and necklaces. “Girls on the Run, [my daughter’s] Daisy Troop, and other people just started asking, ‘Oh, can you stamp the Daisy Troop number? ‘Can you stamp a word for Girls on the Run?’. It started in my community — people wanting little necklaces here and there that were customized.”Today, Holland & Birch offers handcrafted necklaces, earrings, cuffs, and bracelets — but there’s so much more to the brand than that. They also offer custom pieces that benefit Birmingham families in need, local nonprofit organizations, and ministries. “Our brand is really connected to stories,” says Suzanne. “[These are] meaningful pieces because when you wear them, they mean something more than just jewelry — they offer hope and reminders to pray for people or to think of people.”
Each fundraiser piece for Holland & Birch is customized to a specific story and helps organizations and people from all walks of life, including families who have lost a loved one, or have a loved one experiencing cancer. Specific examples of these fundraisers include a selection of jewelry for Momentum, a nonprofit dedicated to the personal and professional development of female leaders across Alabama, and a line of jewelry benefiting Hope for Autumn, another nonprofit helping families affected by childhood cancer.
A specific fundraiser that still stands out to Suzanne is one that came about organically. While spending the day on her boat, Suzanne was approached by a friend who knew of a local woman experiencing cancer. She asked Suzanne about creating a bracelet and fundraiser to help this woman and her family. With minimal marketing, Suzanne listed the bracelet on her website. The local community did the rest, rallying around the woman by ordering hundreds of these bracelets. “The number of orders that came in for that woman was unbelievable,” Suzanne explains. “I really just posted a link with a bracelet saying, ‘This is Molly’s bracelet.’ Typically, I try to give a background story and get it together before I do something like that … The number of people who wanted to support her without any fancy bells and whistles was shocking.”When it comes to finding inspiration for her pieces, Suzanne says she finds it everywhere — from her travels to art, other designers, and even home decor. She uses her best-selling T-shirt Necklace as an example of this process. “[That necklace] was designed by me just looking through a jewelry magazine and seeing a cool piece with lots of chains,” she says. “My creation ended up being made of suede and crystals, and it was totally different. I was inspired by this one picture, and I don’t even know how I ended up creating the T-shirt Necklace out of what I was seeing, but that was an a-ha! moment for me.”
Another one of Holland & Birch’s best-selling pieces is more recent. While it is not one of Suzanne’s creations, she purchased it while attending this year’s New York Fashion Week, where Holland & Birch’s jewelry line was worn on the runway. “[They were] these gold-filled bangles from the late 1800s and early 1900s,” says Suzanne. “I invested in three of them, and I brought them back and they sold immediately. [The woman I bought them from] is a curator of antique pieces that are amazing and beautiful.”
As far as the future of Holland & Birch, Suzanne says she just lives day-to-day, but she hopes to eventually open another storefront in Birmingham. Until then, she will continue to create meaningful jewelry that does more than just shimmer and shine.
This article is sponsored by Holland & Birch. All photography provided.