by Manue Reynolds
Using Japanese Paper and Wood to create jewelry and ornaments/accessories.
How Pretty Kiku was born:
I was trying to brand my line with a Japanese twist to it and potentially use at least one Japanese word in it, but short enough that people could remember it easily. I also wanted it to sound girly and possibly represent a character. The name came after I created the logo. I was trying to paint the face of a geisha and was thinking of names for her. I liked 'sakura' (Japanese for Cherry blossom) but it's too commonly used. I remembered 'Kiku' (chrysanthemum) is also a very common flower in Japan. I love the sound of it, and the fact that it is so short. Just like that, I looked at what I painted, and 'Kiku' became 'PrettyKiku' :)
The evolution of Pretty Kiku:
I've been making my jewelry for about 6 years now. I think I am most amazed to look at how my product evolved, yet staying true to itself. Over the years, I've tweaked my materials and the way I finish each piece.
Having an online shop has taught me a lot about pricing and product description, but mostly has naturally inspired me to photograph each item the way I do it today. I think my line now looks 'clean', the pictures are bright and crisp, and that is also part of my brand/branding. Photography is the second most important part of my work, I thrive to represent truthfully all the bright colors of the wonderful Japanese papers.
I love all the earrings, especially the little studs which look like candy. My customers love them! And I really love the little Easter eggs, which actually also look good enough to eat, like little chocolate candy :)
Inspirations in Pretty Kiku
I get my inspiration from 2 different, unrelated sources. I’m a geophysicist specialized in mineralogy/volcanology and have always harbored a strong passion for rocks, minerals and crystals – their different shapes, geometry, colors. This explains my love for different materials and colors. The other side of my obvious inspiration comes from my fascination for Japan. I am in awe of their culture, their arts, their food, their (volcanic) landscape, their flora, their history… I admire how meticulous and thorough Japanese people are. I try to honor that with my own meticulous jewelry process.
Manue outside of Pretty Kiku
When I am not working for PrettyKiku, I'm probably crafting with my 2 boys. Arts and crafts run in the family! We just built them a huge craft table and they have access to most medias, appropriate for their young age. Our house is filled with crafts :)
The rest of my time is spent with my wonderful husband and my friends, eating, cooking and at yoga, which keeps my centered and focused!
Want to find Pretty Kiku in Austin?
Here in Austin, you can find PrettyKiku at: Sanctuary, PrimaDora, Parts and Labour and Atown.
You can come say hi to me at the upcoming Austin Mini Maker Faire!