VoyageMIA highlights the best of Miami
Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracey Carswell. Tracey, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been making art as long as I can remember…my parents always encouraged my sister and I to create and express ourselves through art. I come from generations of artists and teachers- grandfather, mother, and my sister and I. I made my first piece of “real” silver jewelry as part of an Arts Magnet program while in my senior year of high school. After graduating, I studied for two years at the Maryland Institute College of Art; working with various metals, wood, and textiles, focusing on 3-D functional sculpture.
Throughout my life, I’ve worked in MANY industries… and the only consistency is that I’ve always served people in one way or another. At one point I had a job at a hardware store and at a hair salon at the same time! I’ve worked in a drugstore, an art store and a high-end furniture showroom, been a resident assistant at a college, done brand development with small businesses, sold marble tile and life insurance, created programming with LGBTQ+ youth, worked for a newspaper, made burritos, helped write a book on relationships, and been a server in an upscale restaurant.
“Twenty years after making that first piece of jewelry, I finally gave myself permission to start my own business and use my years of learning and growth to share with others.“
I sat down with Tracey Carswell, Founder and Board President of the WJA Miami Chapter to discuss the role of the Women’s Jewelry Association in helping women in the jewelry and watch industries with education and career advancement. We talked for hours, not just about the organization, but about the role of women in the industry and the future. We are excited to be partnering with WJA Miami on an upcoming event in July.
Karen: So let’s start from the very beginning, when was the WJA founded and why it was created?
Tracey: The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) was created in 1983 in a time when women were receiving unfair treatment within the jewelry industry and wished they had the mentorship and networking of other women. The whole intention of WJA was to support, educate and empower women in the jewelry and watch industry, so they would have a seat at the table and have their voices heard.
Karen: What kind of resources does WJA offer to its members?
Tracey: WJA offers a lot to its members. This year, the organization is once again offering a free year of membership for students taking courses in a jewelry-related program. Members can apply for grants and scholarships for business and education. WJA is very much about giving members access to resources in this industry, including their mentorship program.