Handmade jewelry with a classic and lasting look that is dainty and sexy. Follow us to keep up with Unique styles of rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets available in gold, silver, jeweled and minimal looks.
One of the things I always want to achieve with the jewels that I design is that you can wear them every day, and not have to wait for a special occasion to bring them out. I want you to feel amazing in them, and that includes whether you wear them on your Sunday stroll, on that special date night, or even to the gym or beach! And that’s why it really warms my heart when I see you out “in the field” doing exactly that!
Here are some of my favorite examples right now of KDJ babes who tagged us on Instagram and who are rocking their unique style to the beat of their KDJ jewels. I hope you’re inspired to try something new, to own your style, and to take as many shameless selfies as you like!
If you follow along with KDJ on Instagram you know that I was recently on a Summer Holiday in Europe with my husband (where we ate all the pasta... all the croissants... and just all the things!).
We traveled to Puglia, Rome, Amalfi Coast, Paris and London—it was so much fun but definitely a whirlwind. Que the vacay after our vacay, ha! Because there is just too much to try and fit into one post, I'll be breaking up the travel blog posts to cover each place.
So first up, I'll be taking you to Puglia!
Not sure where that is? Yea, I had no idea either when Jon first mentioned it to me. To fill you in: Puglia is the Southern region of Italy that forms the 'heel' of the boot (pictured below is the heel of the boot).
Puglia is known for being authentically Italian, not transformed yet to be as touristy and commercialized as other parts of Italy. And also for their whitewashed towns on top of hills, endless fields of olive trees, miles of beautiful rocky coastline and trulli -- historical cone-shaped huts made of stone (which we stayed in!).
We spent 3 nights in Puglia at a cozy Bed and Breakfast called Trullo Sant'Angelo tucked away in, of course, lots of olive trees. Trullo Sant'Angelo is more centrally located which allows you to be only 20-45 minutes away from a lot of other cute towns. So if you're looking to explore I highly recommend it.
Pictured below is a snapshot of our daily breakfasts, the sweetest pups that keep you company throughout your stay and the amazing trulli that we stayed in. FYI renting a car (or scooter if you're adventurous) is a must when staying in Puglia unless you will literally be staying at your BnB / hotel the entire time.
Our top 5 recommendations for Puglia based on what we enjoyed the most:
4. Visiting the town of Polignano a Mare, strolling through the town, hanging on the (quite rocky) beach and eating lunch at a packed local spot called Pescaria.
5. Taking a trip to Borgo Egnazia to dine at their Michelin star restaurant Due Camini. This experience was truly phenomenal. Not only is Borgo Egnazia grand and beautiful like a castle, but the food and service was five star. The dining experience was like nothing we've ever experienced. Even though it was simply a table for two for Jon and I, we had an entire huge round table to ourselves (see pics below) that was decorated with something you'd see in a still life painting. Our dinner was a set 7-course menu but ended up being about 12 courses with all the additional complimentary side dishes that they bring out. And it was all beautifully theatrical. Everything is thoughtfully planned out. For instance, when I opted to have tea for my drink of choice, they walked over a little trolly of botanicals that were held in glass fixtures and explained what each one was. They then had me select which ones I'd like for my tea and then proceeded to make me fresh tea by mashing and boiling the elements in front of me. It was so amazing!
A few tips if you're planning on going here for dinner:
- Book your reservation about 4-6 weeks in advance.
- Come hungry! Try and fast throughout the day to prepare for your feast.
- Arrive early and enjoy a stroll around the property, which is simply stunning.
In summary, Puglia is most definitely one of the most overlooked regions of Italy that is unspoiled and absolutely worth exploring. It's full of history you can touch and taste and, honestly, it looks like nothing short of an enchanted land! As this sleeping beauty starts to wake up I highly recommend going if you can and voluntarily cast yourself under its spell.
Enjoy the pictures below that were captured during our trip!
Family portrait with the pups of Trullo Sant'angelo before we left for a day of exploring
Pictured below, our cave dinner at Osteria Del Tempo Perso in Ostuni
My husband, Jon, looking so handsome on the porch of a home in Ostuni
We loved our little taxi ride around the town of Ostuni -- our driver was really fun and he told us all about the history of the town
Al Solito Posto is the perfect lunch spot to have a fresh pizza and salad
Selfie with the Puka Shell Necklace before our road trip to Polignano a Mare (about 45 minutes South of our B&B)
The view from the furthest point of the town facing the rocky beach, stunning
(fun fact: Red Bull hosts a cliff diving competition in Polignano a Mare every year, we missed it by just a few days which in retrospect was best because Jon really wanted to do it, ha!)
Stopped at Pescaria, a local spot in Polignano a Mare that we had lunch at that was soooooo delish
Below are pics of the interior + exterior of Borgo Egnazia and our a few from inside their restaurant Due Camini
Read on get to know Phoebe and hear her wise words on business, social media and so much more.
1. Hi Phoebe! Can you tell our readers a general summary of who you are and what you do? (including your endeavors outside of Girl Gang Craft)
Hey Katie! I'm Phoebe, the founder of Girl Gang Craft. I am an artist and I also teach yoga. I spend most of my days working out of my home office running Girl Gang Craft. Girl Gang Craft is a community powered by womxn for womxn. We host craft fairs, empower brands, and have an in-house feminist clothing line. You've maybe seen our little uterus enamel pin around. It has a diamond on it and it's cute and pink and it's a reminder that we all come from the same place. We here at GGC believe that anyone with a uterus should be able to do whatever they want with it, without the government getting involved! Please + thank you. Our uterus line collects 10% for Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights orgs like Yellow Fund. We've donated over $1700 to date.
2. Why did you start Girl Gang Craft and what’s the message that you want to get out there with the work you do in GGC?
Girl Gang Craft started by accident at our friend's cafe in Oakland. There weren't enough places for artists to show that are inclusive and fun, so we got our friends together and hosted a market, but it felt more like a party. Many of the craft fairs in the Bay Area are expensive to be a part of and are often exclusive and hard to get accepted into. I wanted to create a space for womxn, trans + non-binary artists to sell their wares and collab with each other. Our shows started at 15 vendors and now we've grown to 130 artists under one roof!
Girl Gang Craft supports new and upcoming artists. We offer affordable vending spaces plus scholarships to those that need it. GGC strives to blur the lines between the craft and the art world, and aims to highlight womxn, trans, and non-binary creatives doing extraordinary things. We host markets that are clearly more exciting than your average craft fairs. Not only do we have artists selling jewelry, ceramics, and fine art, but we host healers and interactive experiences. We've had reiki practitioners, tarot readers, and even Aura photos. Beyond the craft fair space, we support small businesses in education and branding. GGC hosts branding workshops, helps with logo + web design and has online resources to elevate your business.
Essentially GGC wants to help small businesses and creatives be the best they can be. Plus we'll be fighting the patriarchy while doing it.
3. When you consult with small businesses (or big businesses) are there pain points that come up again and again that businesses seem to struggle with? If so, can you tell us about one or two and what you advise the solutions to be?
This is a tough one! I think over and over again I hear that people feel like they have to be perfect. Perfect Instagram feeds, perfect photos. This is SUFFOCATING and comes from fear and often prohibits artists from posting at all. Yes, cohesive feeds are great. Yes, having a brand identity is a good idea, but we here at GGC believe that perfection is boring and TRUTH is much more fascinating. Take people behind the scenes of your craft, tell your story, go ahead and post that selfie or a picture of your cat. Your authenticity, your story, that's why people want to follow you, support you and buy from you.
Yes there are presets and planning apps and all these things that can make your life easier. (and yes we talk about them in our #Basic Branding Course avail online soon or in person in Oakland in the Fall) But ultimately you have to LOVE what you post, ultimately you have to be the cheerleader for your own business. If you don't believe in what you do 100% then who will?
I am also a virgo so my other tip would be to plan things (instagram, schedule, etc) at the beginning of the week. It absolutely saves time and stress, I promise. We love the Planoly app. :)
4. What’s your advice for a business owner that feels like they have all these great ideas but they don’t know where to start or they feel suffocated by the competition?
My advice, start simple. Create an instagram, get a logo and a website made. Find a craft fair to show at if that's your thing. Offer to buy someone breakfast to get some advice. Be patient with yourself. We at GGC believe competition is not really a thing. We believe in abundance and that there is room for us all to prosper.
There is tons of business advice on our blog, come to our conference, stay tuned for our online courses, and maybe we'll even have a podcast next year. GGC is here to help! You can also work one-on-one with me if you're not sure where to start.
5. You recently decided to do a Girl Gang Craft Small Biz Summit which I’m honored to be a panelist at - woohoo! What inspired you to do this and what can people expect to learn at this summit?
COME! You won't regret it! Are you an artist or creative? Do you own a small business? Do you want to? Are you a nutritionist or a yoga teacher? Are you a blogger? Do you take photos? THIS EVENT IS FOR YOU!
We've loved throwing our craft fairs and will continue to do so, but GGC especially wants to pivot in the direction of creating community and educating small businesses. Our craft fairs are super fun, but our vendors get stuck behind their booths and don't have too much time to build community and create connections with each other. We have amazing speakers on August 17. Our conference speakers will discuss partnerships, creativity, money, social media, taxes, boundaries, getting started and so much more. We will have break-out workshops and panels, a mini market and a happy hour. This event will be a place to really soak in other artists' advice while truly connecting and building networks. PLUS if you get a VIP ticket Lisandra Vazquez of Auraology will be taking super fly headshots.
6. Anything else you’d like to add or tell us about?
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, Katie! We're super excited about the upcoming year's events. Come see us at our Oakland Craft Fair June 22 at Scottish Rite in Oakland (flyer below!). We will also be having another Oakland show December 14, so if you want to apply to be a vendor make sure you sign up for our newsletter to know when apps open. We are expanding into another California city for the Fall. It's a secret for now, but we can't wait to tell you more. :)
I recently was asked, "What is something surprising about you that most people wouldn't know?" Oooooooh! Great question!
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE finding out fun and quirky little details about other people—whether friends, family, or people I admire. You know, those little tidbits of gold that make you go “Ooooohhhhhh” Wow!”? And since I consider you all family here at KDJ, I thought I should answer that question myself, but take things up a notch and share with you ten things you probably didn’t know about me.
Full disclosure time! Here goes!
#1 KDJ Started in a Closet Under the Stairs, Harry Potter Style
KDJ began as a creative outlet. I was working a fun but intense day job that was sometimes all-consuming and I wanted to get back to my creative roots. So, I started a handful of personal projects to feed my inner artist and let my creativity out.
I was painting, making greeting cards, and jewelry! Since I had roommates and space was limited, I cleaned out the utility closet beneath our stairs, painted the walls, built a desk inside the closet and set up shop. I quite literally worked in a closet! When I tell people this, they often say, “Wow! You’re the modern day female version of Harry Potter!”.
I love this response because anyone who knows me well knows I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies numerous times!
#2 I Worked As a Celebrity Stylist for 4 Years
I made the big move to Los Angeles in 2007 to see what the west coast could offer my young artist self and began working a number of jobs—including working as an assistant to a celebrity stylist for about 4 years.
It was a very eye-opening and rewarding job and although I loved (and still love) fashion and expressing yourself through style, I knew that being a celebrity stylist wasn’t for me in the long haul. When I realized this, I started to do personal creative projects with no pressure of making it into something other than to satisfy my own creativity. That was really essential in this period of self-discovery because I didn’t have any pressure to have to do anything.
I had a full-time job that paid all my bills, I was comfortable and liked who I worked with and this allowed me to follow my own curiosities on the creative side. It really allowed some time to discover what truly enhanced and fulfilled me as a person. During this much-needed self-discovery time, jewelry became my main interest and also, naturally started to take off. It was all very exciting!
After a few years of juggling both jobs, I decided to put my effort wholeheartedly into KDJ and in 2015 I took the plunge, quit my day job, and went full force into Katie Dean Jewelry. I’m proud to say it was the right choice!
#3 We’re a Small but Mighty Team of 10
From the outside looking in, KDJ looks like a huge company and while that's a great feeling, the truth is we're a small but mighty team. Lots of work is on the shoulders of a handful of people. I’m very proud of this!
Having a small business is a handful for anyone but throw on top manufacturing and doing all production within the USA and it’s a whole other beast in itself! Outsourcing to a country outside of the States would be far cheaper, but it’s always been important to me to continue giving back to people here in my community of America!
My grandfather truly inspired this mindset in me—he worked for General Motors for over 40 years and was a part of the automobile boom in Michigan. It’s pretty special and I take pride in knowing I’m doing my part to provide work and jobs to people here in the USA!
#4 Each Piece is Handmade (Still!)
Although as KDJ has expanded I’ve had to pass on some of the production work to my team of hand-selected helpers, one thing I never wanted to lose was the uniqueness and quality that comes from having each piece made lovingly by expert hands. When something is carefully handmade I think it shows and I love that it means no two pieces are exactly the same—you get to own a one-off piece to treasure.
#5 We’ve Been Around for 7 Years Now
It’s been a lot of hard work, persistence, and hustle but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s hard to believe my Harry Potter moment was seven years ago! Since starting KDJ the passion is as alive as ever—I still love creating every new piece that comes into the line. We’re now launching a new piece nearly every other month too!
#6 Our Production is done In L.A.—But I Live in Oakland
I started KDJ in Silver Lake—a super trendy and artsy filled borough of Los Angeles. It was such an amazing area to be in! I still love it dearly but when I met my husband, who works in the tech field and whose work was based in Northern California, I knew that ultimately one of us would have to move if we didn’t want to split our time.
Both of us agreed that it made sense for Northern California to be our home base so gradually over a two year period I moved and most of the company up to Oakland! All of the production aspects continue to be done in LA (waxes, molds, castings) but I now design from Oakland, make the samples of each piece and oversee the order fulfillment. Oakland is growing wildly and with it, there are so many opportunities that I’m excited to explore here!
#7 I Have a Major Weakness for Sweet Treats!
Ever since I was a little girl I have loved three foods: chicken nuggets, cereal, and sweets! Let’s be real, my Mom is a Doctor and has raised my brother and me with a very healthy lifestyle and attitude so greens are a huge part of my diet but ...a girl still loves what she loves.
Right now my top three sweet treats that I indulge in are:
Maxims chocolates. I blame my husband for introducing me to these on our first trip to Paris!
#8 I Sold My First Piece of Jewelry Literally on the Spot
While working as a stylist, I started disassembling jewelry that I owned so I could create something new. When people started asking me “Where’d you get that…?”, I started selling the pieces I was wearing, quite literally on the spot! I started to realize that there was a demand for what I was creating. I could barely keep and wear a piece for more than a week before someone purchased it!
#9 My Inspiration Comes From...
...so many things—traveling, architecture, people, cities, shapes, and so much more. I’m inspired by how those things make me feel. I love looking at art from the past with a special eye on the shapes that are used and how I could incorporate it into a new piece. So much of what I create now is centered around the question, “Does this spark joy?” -- thanks to Marie Kondo!
#10 I’m a Total Cat Mom!
Hi, my name is Katie Dean and I am obsessed with my cat. There I said it! And honestly, more correctly, I’d say I’m an animal-obsessed person. Growing up we had rabbits, birds, snakes, fish, ...cats and many more amazing pets. The one very common pet I’ve never had is: a dog! Which both my husband and I want to have in our life someday. If you have any recs for an amazing dog that we should consider definitely leave a comment below!!
And there you have it! 10 things you didn’t know about me. :)
If you want to follow along with more of my everyday life, feel free to check out my personal Instagram, @katiedeantam, which I just started recently!
One thing we’re always striving to do is to make our customers (you!) happy and your experience with KDJ fun and enjoyable! And one of the things that I always love is reading your reviews! They seriously give me the best insight into what you really thought, what you love, and if there’s anything we can do better next time.
I read every.single.one because I want to know whether they were what you expected, what you’re wearing them with and where, and most importantly—how they’re making you feel.
Here are some recent reviews that I wanted to share because choosing can be super hard sometimes. And I find that reading a review from a fellow boss babe and knowing that someone else loved a piece of jewelry that you’ve been eyeing can be enough of a nudge to finally treat yourself and find your next necklace, rings, earrings, or bracelet soulmate!
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I treasured receiving them!
Perfect Everyday Wear ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"I love this necklace! I wear it almost every day and get compliments every time I do. It’s a beautiful piece that’s simple and charming.—Nicole M
Elegant, Versatile and Eye-Catching ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"I love the Guinevere Lariat! It is so beautiful and I've had compliments on it EVERY time I've worn it. It's so versatile, whether worn with a t-shirt, at the office or with a sophisticated dress, it is striking and eye-catching!"—Ann
Cute, Simple Earrings ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"I love these earrings because they go with everything! They are simple but add a cute flare."—Linsi
When you were a kid, did you scavenge for shells on the beach on family vacations? Me too!! And I remember it being all the rage to have shell necklaces! I created The Seashell Collection because I want you to feel the magic of those summer holidays—like you’re taking a bit of tropical paradise and that “relaxing beach feeling” with you whenever and in whichever season you wear them (and, yes, I would TOTALLY wear seashells in winter!).
The Seashell Collection includes three necklaces and three matching earrings—it’s an homage to not taking ourselves too seriously and to doing the things that bring you joy—just because! This collection is the refined, uber-feminine version of the fun shell necklaces you used to rock out in as a kid! And since all of the necklaces have a different dainty chain that goes along with it—each piece brings an effortless, magical shine.
The Sand Dollar Necklace & Earrings
The Sand Dollar has a special meaning for me—before my Grandma Julie passed away she gave me a solid gold sand dollar necklace that I layer up with my other KDJ jewels. It has the most beautiful chain and detailing and it’s turned into a bit of a lucky charm for me personally. I also feel it’s simply fun and whimsical (it has a special hammered top which makes it glisten) so I wanted to share it with you all!
As a kid, I remember wearing puka shell necklaces with shells going all across my neck and feeling like so cool and grown-up HA! I felt on top of the world! The puka shell designs are a little piece of childhood nostalgia with a twist of modern glam. They’re designed to be flirty & fun so you can rock out an effortless, magical shine that gets all the compliments.
Do you have a thing for stars? Yup—me too, especially ones that shine bright! it’s no secret I have a long standing love for anything star related and I’ll probably never stop designing star inspired pieces. Feminine and chic beyond measure, these will enchant everyone who lays eyes on them.
All of the necklaces come with extensions so you can wear them at 16, 18 and 20 inches—perfect for a layering party or to wear solo. Choose your own adventure—because that’s seriously been the inspiration for this collection: to have more fun in life, to be less serious and to create new jewels that bring me, and hopefully you, pure joy!
Dainty rings work on every finger—but I truly believe they’re next-level when worn piled high. Whether you like a bold, maximalists look or prefer a minimal stack of elegant rings, I love that you can dress them up with red carpet looks, wear them day-to-day to work, to a cafe with friends or on a date night—basically you can choose your own jewel adventure!
Elegant but impactful, here are my three favorite minimal sets from our brand new collection of Ring Stacks (psst save 10-15% when you buy them as a set!), designed to be worn solo or stacked and layered together with their minimal besties.
Have you ever bought something for yourself that made you feel good inside and out, only to be plagued by a guilty feeling that you shouldn't have indulged in the first place?
I've definitely been there! But let's get one thing straight, spoiling yourself with dainty jewels isn’t selfish or over-indulgent—and just in case you find yourself defending those delicate treasures you just bought here are three reasons why I think you should give yourself full permission to enjoy every bit of them:
1. It's an investment in your career
Minimal, dainty jewels go from the office to a night out like Yin and Yang so really it's an investment in your career (and they literally go with everything!).
2. You worked hard for your money
All of our pieces are designed to bring out your inner girl boss—you work hard for your money so enjoy it every single day when you wear your new golden possessions.
3. You're supporting a local + handmade + female-founded brand
Can I get a hell yeah?! Plus, it's quality you can trust since we use more 18K gold in our plating process and exclusively use gold filled and vermeil chains for necklaces and earring posts.
The whole reason we create delicate jewels is to make you feel feminine and stylish and to remind you of all the beauty in your life. So when you next decide to treat yourself, give yourself full permission and soak up every moment of the joy it brings you.
For four years I made every piece at Katie Dean Jewelry by hand and it was SO rewarding! Just knowing that my hands touched every single jewel that went to my customers was so special.
As we’ve expanded it was only natural that I had to pass on some of my production work to others in order for Katie Dean Jewelry to continue growing. It was REALLY hard to let go but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about owning a business, it’s that you can’t do everything yourself. Not allowing others to help take the load off leads to burnout and overwork which is not good for anyone’s mental and physical health.
I continue to sketch and design each new piece and assemble the first samples myself which brings me immense joy! After finishing the detailing work on each new design to my satisfaction I then pass it along to my hand-selected helpers who assemble the pieces based on my sample. Every piece is still handmade in Los Angeles with love and care. It’s truly magical to see the visions in my mind come to life!
Here’s the step-by-step process of what happens and how each piece lovingly comes to life:
Step 1: Sketching the piece.
I’m constantly sketching new ideas, which is so much fun! I let my imagination run wild. When it’s time to officially start the process of a new collection, I go through all my sketches and star which ones I’m going to make. During round two of sketching, I try to be as exact and precise as possible. I mark the measurements and detail notes so that when we go to the next step the changes required are minimal.
Step 2: Creating a computer generated image of my sketch.
This is a modern technology step and it’s really helpful. When we create a computer-generated image it’s three dimensional so I can envision what it will look like in real life and again, I try to be as precise as possible. In these beginning steps, if I can nail down all the details, it makes the rest of the steps flow much more smoothly.
Step 3: Make a wax of the design.
Based on step 2 above we then use a 3D printer to make a wax of the piece. And it means exactly that (see picture below). We literally make a wax of the exact piece. How cool is that?!
Step 4: Cast a master + create a mold of the design. After making multiple castings, they are plated.
I love this step because it’s when the piece really comes to life! If any additional detailing is needed for the piece, that is all done at this step on the master before the molds are made. This step is also crucial for making sure everything is just right because if it’s not, you have to start back at step 2 to make the necessary changes which means more time and more money in the initial production of the collection.
Step 5: Assemble the piece.
Finally, it’s time to assemble the piece with the freshly made charms and hand set stones, pendants, etc with chain, clasps, etc and whoolah! We start to celebrate here! The piece is officially complete and we are off to snap glamour shots of the collection (get ready for your close-ups ladies!).
Step 6: After a final quality check, that’s it!
The dainty jewel is ready to find itself a new home and gets carefully placed in its pouch or box ready for its call up!
I hope you've enjoyed reading and seeing what our process is like!
Thank you for supporting a made in America small business.