Phoenix & Indi Jewelry Rouses The Native American Indian Spirit In Huntington Beach
Southern California native Shari Paul brought more than just warm childhood memories home with her after long road trips to visit her grandparents in Phoenix. She also returned enchanted by Native American Indians and the American Southwest. Her handcrafted bohemian jewelry collection, Phoenix & Indi, perfectly showcases her fascination with both cultures, beautifully woven with rustic beads, feathers, and spikes to form inspired necklaces, rosaries, bracelets, and breastplates. A few pieces just joined our Main & PCH Marketplace, and a few others are featured in our Holiday Pop-Up Gift Shop at the Huntington Harbour Mall (two doors down from Trader Joe's).
We asked Shari a few questions about her craft to get "the story behind the storefront."
Main & PCH: Sum up your life story in three sentences.
Shari Paul: I was born and raised in Southern California. Followed my passions and became a marketing professional. Became a wife of a rockstar (HA!) and created the most amazing little human being.
Describe the "5 Ws" that led to you being a maker.
I have always had the desire to connect and create, that was something that has been within me since birth. As a child, I spent countless hours watching my grandfather craft his silver and turquoise Indian jewelry in the basement of my grandparents' home. I was mesmerized by the process of how he could take what seemed to be simple nondescript elements and form beautiful things out of them.
During my teen years, I started to create silver jewelry, utilizing the access to my high school equipment, then later using silver wire at home to create rings and earrings. I was also very interested in marketing and design and became a graphic/web designer.
After spending 20 years in various marketing roles from graphic design to event planning, I took a break and found myself a stay-at-home mom. While loving every minute of the time with my son, I longed for that creative outlet I had always had and started to create pieces of jewelry solely as a "hobby." I made things that I liked to wear and of course, I am influenced by the Native American and Southwest.
What's the story behind the name of your collection, Phoenix & Indi?
The story behind the name is kind of silly. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Highlights magazine. Well, my son reads them and there is a monthly story about two kids named Tex and Indi. I always thought those were cute names. When I thought about a name, Tex & Indi came to mind. I changed Tex to Phoenix for a couple of reasons. My grandparents lived in a small town outside of Phoenix, and those are great memories for me. Also, the Phoenix represents "something from nothing," being reborn or regenerated, which is what I'm all about. Creating and finding new ways to make things happen.
What makes your goods unique?
They are all handmade by me. I try to look for designs and elements that you don't see too often, and when I start to create a piece, I might have one idea in my head, but often it's the materials that decide which direction it's going to go.
Where do you currently live, and where are you from?
I live in Huntington Beach with my husband and little boy. I am a "transplant" from the IE and have lived in Huntington for 18 years.
Detail your creative process.
All items are handmade from sourced materials like leather, chain, beads, and other accent pieces. Sometimes I will see something that inspires me or get an idea for a design and just let the materials decide what/how it's going to end up.
What/who inspires you?
The desire to live a creative life. To always remember to create something where there is nothing. I have so many friends in the apparel and creative spaces that really inspire me. They are forces to be reckoned with, and that makes me feel compelled to do something good for myself every day.
Why do you love Huntington Beach, aside from the weather and waves?
Who wouldn't want to live in Huntington Beach? I used to ditch school and come down here as a kid. There is something about the lure of the ocean that is incredibly intoxicating. I also really loved the "small town" and friendly feel I got from the people that lived here. Things are changing, and like everything else, HB is growing, but for the most part, the people are incredibly community-centered and will band together when needed.
Where would you like to see your business in the next few years?
Right now it's a creative outlet that has turned into a little bit more from the encouragement of my friends and family who have stolen and been gifted pieces of my jewelry. My hope is that I can touch and connect with more people and provide them with something they love by getting into a few specialty stores. I love things that are one-of-a-kind. Makes them that much more special.
What's your motto?
There's always a way.
Follow Phoenix & Indi on Instagram.