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

Hi Lucia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I spent 10 years in the corporate world (in corporate jail, as I like to call it) and when I got a layoff notice in 2010 I thought that was a good opportunity to do something different, something creative and that didn’t require sitting at a computer 8 hours a day. So after four months of traveling in South America, I came back and decided to take some jewelry classes, just for fun. I then started selling at my local market and after I had my daughter in 2017 I decided to turn this hobby into a full-time activity because it allowed me to set my own schedule. I started small and slow, like many businesses and I’m glad I did, because I learned a lot of things on the way that allowed me to scale my business in a way that I wouldn’t have learned if I threw myself head first, right away.

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.
I like to create designs that are sleek, geometric and one-of-a-kind. But, while it’s fun to create new things, running a business you’re always reminded that you have to find the right balance between what you love to do, design and create and what, realistically, will allow you to have a successful business.

The past year has definitely been a rollercoaster and I have had to make some adjustments and rethink the way I run my daily tasks and how I can create a loyal customer base, in the absence of in-person events. There are definitely a lot of ups and down and I always tell people that, other than a passion for what you do, you mostly need grit and determination. You have days that exceed your expectations and you meet the most engaging and fun customers, and days where everything that can go wrong will go wrong (like breaking your fifth canopy in less than two years, or reconciling all your transactions for your accountant). I did three entire seasons at my local summer market while still breastfeeding my daughter and getting up at the crack of dawn. I did outdoor markets in the cold PNW winter, when it’s 28 degrees outside and you have to be there for 8 hours, and I did markets with 110 degrees. So, grit and determination, folks!

But overall I enjoy being a business owner, I’m comfortable making tough decisions, I proved to myself that I am stronger than I thought and I’ve learned to learn from my mistakes instead of dwelling in what could have been. Every business is unique and what works for other does not necessarily works for you. So, do you!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First stop: coffee, of course. It would be a tough choice between Herkimer on Phinney Ridge or The Lighthouse in Fremont, but we could easily solve this problem by going to one in the morning and the other one in the afternoon. A must stop is Pike Place Market because it is the World Center of small businesses (to this day you can’t open a shop in Pike Place Market if you already have a location elsewhere). Le Panier is the place to go to ramp up your daily sugar intake of French heavenly delights, then flowers from local farmers and peruse the myriads of peculiar small businesses in the lower levels. From Pike Place you can easily walk towards the waterfront and Sculpture Park, to catch a nice breeze and an awesome view of Seattle and West Seattle. Then happy hour in downtown Ballard (Sabine will always hold a special place in my heart as a little reminder of European cafes ) and dinner would be a tie between Rock Creek and Le Coin in Fremont.

A week-long visit would require a few out-of-town trips: maybe Roslyn (the home town of Northern Exposure), Edmonds (the Fishmonger & Eatery and Salt & Iron for brunch), Bainbridge Island and Vashon Island are just a 20-30 minutes ferry trip away. Bainbridge has a bustling downtown scene (Bruciato is one of my favorite destinations there), and Mora ice-cream is the perfect place to savor some locally made ice-cream while waiting for the ferry in Kingston.

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?
I’m grateful for the overwhelming and growing support towards the handmade movement. I’m lucky to live in the PNW, where people enthusiastically support small businesses and where a lot of people start their entrepreneurial journey at a very young age. There are a lot of craft shows, trade shows and local market and events geared towards the hand-made community and it is just very inspiring to be surrounded by people who have ideas, initiative and dedication to remind you every day that we, small business owners, can divide and conquer and make for a very vibrant community. I took my first class in a local bead store, then other classes from the awesome Samantha at Samantha Slater studio, whom I met at a Renegade craft show (it turns out we live just a few minutes away from each other).

I will be forever grateful to the folks running the Fremont Sunday market because they truly allowed me to start my business and grow it slowly at a pace that I could handle. They have flexible terms, they organize fun night markets and they are overall an awesome crew! They will forever have my gratitude.

And then there is Emily from The Honest Consumer who has taught me so much and inspired me in so many ways, in spite of the fact that she is half my age (don’t tell her though!)

Website: www.shopaviv.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avivjewelryseattle

Image Credits
Credits: Ryan Castoldi Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.