We had the good fortune of connecting with Kena Schaberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kena, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My beginning thought process behind Oblivious Bolivian Jewelry was simply to gain a better sense of myself individually – by showcasing my art and presenting it in a way that people could take a part of my experiences home with them. I didn’t really imagine OBJ as a “business” in the beginning, it was just a hobby, but when I started doing markets I realized the possibilities of growing and expanding what I was making.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The one thing I’d love people to know about my art is that each piece I make is unique, and inspired from a different place that I’ve traveled. I spent many years traveling abroad to different parts of the world, and the colors, textures, and landscapes are what make up Oblivious Bolivian Jewelry. Each piece is very personal to me – I can remember a moment in time that captured the reason why each pair of earrings was made and I think that’s very special.

Growing my business was not especially easy, but that’s true for every business. I started OBJ in the back of a van that I was living in at the time – I didn’t have space for tools or supplies and had to make do with making each piece organically. In the beginning, a lot of the findings I needed for my earrings were imported from other countries which took months of shipping delays. When I first started selling my pieces, I simply had a blanket that I laid my earrings on with a cardboard sign with “Oblivious Bolivian Jewelry” written on it in sharpie – but these are the types of things that helped me grow as an artist AND business. I continue to think about how far I’ve come since those days and I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I were to take someone out in Houston, I think our first stop would be to get some BBQ at Truth in the heights. After we’re filled up on food, we could go out in EaDo or downtown – I like Truckyard or Pitch 25 if there’s a game on. The new McIntyre’s downtown location is nice too.

For a low-key night I like to go to Bungalow Heights, Wicklow, and Cedar Creek – I like that they’re all walking distance from each other and they each have outdoor seating. If we want to stay out later I always end up at McIntyre’s in the heights, but Moonshine Deck also has a cool vibe.

For a night out in Montrose I like Present Company and Avant Garden.

As far as foods I’d definitely make sure we fill up on Tex-Mex, BBQ, and steak. I’m a Torchy’s Fan over Velvet Taco, but we’d really have to find a taco truck to get the full experience.

Sunday’s hangover would have to be at brunch – either Waffle Bus, Snooze, or FM Kitchen.

And of course when we’re not drinking and eating I’d want to check out an Astros or Rockets game, Discovery Green, Memorial Park, and head to some museums.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My best friend Sara deserves this shoutout – she’s deserves the credit for OBJ becoming what it is today. I met her while traveling in Australia which is when I started experimenting with polymer clay. Eventually we traveled other parts of the world together which expanded my creations to air-dry ceramics and plaster-based pieces.

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