Finding Your Creative Path with S A D É

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02.26.19 | By
Finding Your Creative Path with S A D É

Sometimes rather than figuring out what we want to do to pay the bills, what we want to do to pay the bills finds us. Not to sound cliché, but when it feels right you just know – and Sadé Hooks can relate. As someone who has always been a creative and tactile person, there was a natural attraction to craft and its various forms. We talked to Sadé about her Brooklyn-based jewelry company – S A D É – along with what led her to this place and how Squarespace has helped streamline her business and save her time. The platform offers a vast selection of award-winning templates, e-commerce capabilities, and even marketing tools to help your business grow.

Photo by Anna Sian

“My interest in craft and wearable object is innate and learned. I’ve always been a creative and tactile person, which led to a natural attraction to craft and the creative modalities that allow you to engage with touch. Being sort of an only child for a while, and having to figure out new ways to entertain myself, crafting in its varied forms allowed me to create a world for myself.,” Sadé says.

But it wasn’t until later, after she’d been exposed to the process, that jewelry became her main interest.

“Minus a short-lived enchantment with an EZ-2-Do bakeable jewelry oven, my interest in jewelry didn’t really evolve until I was a teenager, specifically when I took my first jewelry class at FIT when I was 14 or 15 years old. It was there that I really fell in love with jewelry making. The ability to manipulate materials, especially metals, was thrilling. When I was on the bench, me and machine were one and the same; I was an extension of them and they were an extension of me. It was a welcomed awakening and my creative abilities felt limitless. I started to truly understand the power and impact that jewelry can have, not only on the maker but on the wearer as well.”

At the moment, Sadé describes her business as an expensive professional side hustle that will hopefully one day turn into her career. Easy to relate to, right? Still, there was no doubt a moment when it hit her that her designs were something special.

Sadé says, “I first came to the realization that I was onto something with my designs when I was a teenager – but luck had a lot to do with it. When I was 15, I found myself in a very fortuitous situation which led to Nelly Furtado wearing some plastic bracelets I made on TV and in her ‘Turn Off the Light’ music video. A few years later luck also led to Sia (yes, ‘Chandelier’ Sia) wearing one of my barrettes in a campaign for one of her early albums.”

Those moments of luck didn’t have the inspiring impact you might expect, and for several years, Sadé didn’t really think of jewelry design as something that she could do professionally. It was a hobby she enjoyed, but any interest by others was – and still is – an addition bonus. There have also been the doubts that so many creatives experience in their craft.

“Over the years, and for a number of reasons, my confidence in my creative abilities did waver. I’m not traditionally trained, I took a few classes here and there, but otherwise part of my practice was just figuring things out. I always thought in order to be taken seriously I would need credentials and the right education. I think these thoughts were excuses I made to mask my fears and to block myself from my own success. I would still make things and try to sell them every now and then, but I would never call myself a designer. I had seen what professional jewelry designers could do, and what I made at the time didn’t look like what they were making.  Imposter syndrome was very alive within me. So I went further into that spiral of self-doubt, and instead of sharing my work, I found myself spending almost ten years promoting the creative efforts of others, neglecting my own.”

Being surrounded by a solid community and support system can go a long way, and Sadé learned just how much they’re to be valued recently.

She says, “Last year, through a lot of nudging and some sort of cosmic alignment, I got over myself and my insecurities. Luckily, I am part of a multifarious swarm of creatives that really supported me before, during, and after I launched my brand. It was through their support that I found a lot of strength in re-committing myself to my art, and believing in what I produce. I’ve definitely met my fair share of challenges since I launched, but I’m still learning and growing.”

We’re forever curious where creatives find inspiration for their work, along with what they might describe their aesthetic as – so we asked Sadé.

“Each piece has its own story, and thus its own source of inspiration. Sometimes I feel inspired by the wild women – real and imagined – that came before me, sometimes art and cultural references, and sometimes ideas just come out of the blue. Whatever the source of inspiration, it’s always intertwined with outward expressions of my thoughts, needs, neurosises, and/or process.,” she said.

An example is Medusa. “A couple of years ago, after a bit of heartache and a lot of confusion around the concept of ‘dating’ (which honestly still baffles me), I had the idea to turn myself into an object and put a value on my likeness. While it’s was somewhat inspired by Bernini’s ‘Medusa’ and Medusa’s story (fun fact: I’m a Greek Mythology nerd), it’s more of an examination of self-identity, race and racial politics in art, ownership of the gaze, and my questions around desirability.”

Sadé went on to say, “As far as its aesthetic goes, everything I design is meant to be impactful and transcend trend. My pieces are intentionally not precious. It’s quietly maximalist but also voluminous, strong as the hammering of a gavel, with the same rousing emphasis of the exclamation point at the end of a declaration. They’re also malleable, each piece easily adapts to the personal style of the wearer, with the intent of making them feel emboldened and powerful.”

Being a jewelry designer, there’s no way we couldn’t ask Sadé about the pieces she wears daily – what they are, who they’re by, and what they mean to her:

“There are actually quite a few pieces I wear everyday. They’re more or less items that mark significant moments in my life and/or act as a form of armor offering protection or guidance.

On my right forefinger, I wear a wedding band from Tiffany & Co. It was a gift intentionally repurposed into a undergraduate graduation ring with ‘NYU 07’ engraved on the inside (thanks Mom!).

I also wear a red acrylic Tatty Devine nameplate gifted to me by my old flatmates/friends Micha and Eneka. They gave me the necklace right before I moved back to New York from London in 2009. It’s now attached to a gold figaro chain my godmother gave me when I was 21 and I wear it as a declaration of personhood and as a testament to friendship.

On my right arm I wear a few woven bracelets that I’ve collected since 2015 – coincidentally shortly after my Saturn’s return ended. My favorites are two string bracelets that have beads from jewelry once worn by the spiritual guru, Amma.

I wear a talisman I made composed of charms of a few of my celestial guides, a piece of garnet (a great gemstone for small business success, amongst others), and a ‘S’ charm given to me by a college friend 12 years ago.

On my left forefinger I usually wear one or two of the first Helios rings I made. No deep meaning other than the fact that I originally made them because I thought I needed new jewelry for a work trip to London. (I am very much that person.)

As of a few of months ago, I started wearing a mood ring I designed, and will hopefully start selling soon. I love mood rings and as corny as it sounds, I designed this one to give me a sense of invincibility. It conjures up feelings of power, protection, and confidence when I wear it; all of which are feelings that I hope my jewelry gives to their respective wearers.

I recently added a gold pinky ring with a small yellow sapphire into the mix. I named it ‘St. Anthony’ because while I was making it out of wax, I lost the sapphire for three days and it didn’t re-appear until I started reciting the St. Anthony rhyme (Dear St. Anthony please come around, something is lost and it cannot be found). Try it – it works!”

When it comes down to it, a business is a business – whether it’s a side hustle or a full-blown career – and it takes a lot to make one run. Sometimes that means pulling in extra help to make it function smoother, like Squarespace. S A D É uses their platform to save time on sales and administration.

Sadé says, “The Squarespace templates are an aesthete’s dream. When I first started my e-commerce site, it was really important for me to find a platform that cared about the aesthetics of the website as much as they cared about the functionality. Without a doubt Squarespace was the answer.”

“I’m also very thankful for the Squarespace e-commerce platform – it has been the biggest timesaver for me. Running a small creative business is no joke, especially when you have a full-time job outside of your business like I do. Between working on new ideas and trying to think of strategies that increase consumer engagement, there isn’t much time to think about how my website is functioning, especially from a sales and admin perspective. The Squarespace e-commerce platform and its optional add-ons do all of the work for me. It is wonderfully intuitive and as a whole has made the ordering and tracking process seamless and easy for me and my customers. I don’t have to worry about anything except for fulfilling orders. It’s kind of amazing.”

Photos by Najva Sol.

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Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.