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How to Become a Designer

How to Become a Designer

   I get asked all the time, “How can I become a designer? How can I do what you do.” And my answer is the same every time: “You already are a designer.” I am then usually met with a confused expression, so I continue: “You are a designer of your entire life experience.” With this in mind, all of a sudden, becoming a designer seems less of a mystery, because you’re actually already very good at it. 

   The truth is, there isn't a step-by-step guide on how to become a designer of anything. If someone says that there is a formula, they are lying. There is only one requirement, and that is to simply start designing. You start designing your life the way you would like for it to look. 

    Now take a look back at your life - what have you already designed? Have you realized that you, the Creator, have designed every single moment and memory within your life’s story? The good, the “bad,” - whatever labels you have put on the moments and memories. Because really, as a reminder, there is no good or bad. Those are just labels that you have put upon them, or allowed other people’s labels to be imprinted within you. There is no good or bad- there just IS. The Universe doesn't see or decide what’s good or bad- it just responds. When you start designing - you just start. It could be anything. New finances, a new place to live, a new relationship, new friends, or a new product. You start designing it - just as if I asked you to tell me what your dream home would look like. You would start explaining the style, the decor, the bedrooms, the windows, etc. How much detail would you describe for me? What if I told you that if you started telling me about your dream home then I would make it for you? Well thats how the universe works. You start describing your dream design, and it starts designing.  You can have it ONLY when you believe that it is true.

   Imagine you are designing a t-shirt line. You would start by thinking of a t-shirt that you wish existed, but that doesn’t yet. (That is, unless you decided to copy someone else’s t-shirt, which probably wouldn't bring you too much satisfaction, because it would mean that you didn't really use any creativity of your own). You would be inspired and say, “Hey, this doesn't exist. And I want it to because I think it would be great…” The thought of your idea becoming a reality would spark joy within you. And MAYBE, just maybe, someone else might agree. In fact, if you’re lucky, a lot of people might agree, and perhaps those people will support your idea and your inspiration, and buy one of your t-shirts. 

   For me, it was fine jewelry, and I won’t lie to you, becoming a fine jewelry designer was indeed very expensive, but not necessarily in the ways you might imagine. A lot of people probably look at me from the outside and think I must have come from a lot of money, or had this handed to me, but that is far from the truth. In fact, I started creating jewelry while I was still living paycheck to paycheck. You might think that the money (or lack thereof) was my biggest obstacle, but the costs were different then you would expect. The costs were this: I had to let go of all fear, doubt, and negative programming about who I was supposed to be. I had to give up the idea that I was limited by not having the money to start a business. 

   That’s the most expensive part. Letting go of blockages, limits, doubts and fear. That's the part that is hard for most people.  You might be saying, “Oh Logan, if it was just that easy…” Well, I never said it was easy to let go of fear about receiving all of your dreams. Fear, doubt, and disbelief are often so deeply ingrained, for so long, that of course it's hard to undo it all. But trust me - it is possible! If you feel the chills right now, its because on a deep level, you’ve always known this is true. You knew it when you were a kid and everything was possible. You COULD fly. Your invisible friends WERE there. But then you were told for so long that you were wrong - that nobody was there, that only birds could fly, that you were just silly… Until it made you forget what you innately knew all along: anything is possible when you believe it. 

   The way I designed my career was exactly like that. When I was around 17, I started searching for jewelry that was symbolic and deep in its meaning. I had a vision for what I wanted to create, and I knew deep in my heart that these pieces needed to exist. There were certain things that I knew right away. I knew that I wanted to make them in gold and precious and semi-precious stones so that they would be around forever. I knew that I wanted them to never leave my body, which meant they would stay on me while I submerged myself in the ocean and hiked the highest mountains.

   I was frustrated, because I didn’t have the money to go out and sign up for a fancy school or pay someone to help me to do it. I used this fact, and other insecurities as excuses for why I couldn't do it, and that just made me more frustrated. I felt lost and had no idea what to do, so I kept avoiding it, because that seemed easier. In fact, avoiding it was more difficult than surrendering to it. I let my fear stand in my way. I avoided it until the music of my need to create got so loud that plugging my ears wasn't working anymore. "ALRIGHT," I said. "FINE! I surrender! Dear Universe, this is what I want to do! And I fully intend on doing it!  Show me the way… I trust you." I made a dream board, and in the most prominent position on the board was this affirmation: “I am a jewelry designer, and I create timeless heirlooms that have the power to change lives if the wearer receives and accepts the energy that I have merged with it during the creation process.”

   Once I mentally got out of my own way, I experienced a flood of inspiration like I never had before. I would think of a metaphor about life, hardships, healing, spirituality, philosophy, and a piece of jewelry would come into my mind. I would get into a mood and imagine the jewelry I would want to be wearing. And it kept happening. Over and over and over. It wouldn't leave me alone. I would hear a song, read a poem, look at the stars, and I would see a matrix of jewelry on a body, my body, in motion. My mind's eye would zoom in on tiny glittering diamonds and their exact placement in the pieces I knew must exist, but didn’t yet. I was inspired, without an outlet to express my vision, to the point of frustration. Meanwhile, I was still a mixologist in a high end hotel, and this aspect of my life did not fit my vision. While I enjoyed connecting with my customers, I knew deep down I that I was destined to reach further than just the person in front of me with a basil gimlet in their hand.

   I took this voracious appetite to create, and through borderline annoying persistence, was able to secure a part-time job assisting a fine jeweler that I admired. With my foot now firmly in the first of many doors, it became hard to focus on anything besides working doggedly, step by step, to bring my vision to fruition. My manager for my other job as a mixologist saw that I had completely lost focus, and he wanted to see me in his office the next day I showed up for work. He said it was time to move on, that it was obvious I was no longer passionate about mixing up drinks. Coworkers had been covering more than half of my shifts. Yes, he fired me. 

   I looked him in the eye and said, “Thank you.” I told him, “Honestly, I would have fired me, too.” I had found my love, my passion! And I was actually about to step away from the position and allow for someone else to take the role who wanted it. We laughed and we hugged. He was so happy for me that I had embraced my dream. We are still great friends.  Slowly but surely I orchestrated my ideal situation, complete with a miraculous transition from a role that I was not passionate about to one that was the blueprint to my creative dream. I began creating and designing both my jewelry and the life that I wanted to lead, and once I had tasted this power of my own creation, I couldn’t stop.

   If you take anything away from my story, I hope that you’ll take this: I encourage you to grab ahold of your life, your ideas, and start designing. It's now or never. This message is for you- stop putting your dreams on the side lines. Stop trying to fit into a mold or live up to certain exptecations of others, or what you think you “should” be. Go after that which sparks your soul, and trust me, it will pay off big time. It may be quick, or it may take longer than you ever imagined, but no matter what, believe in yourself and always keep creating.

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9 comments

  • Janine

    So i came across your jewelry page on instagram years ago…i was in complete awe, the pieces I’ve always been looking for. Unique, magical, glowing, REAL, beauty. Then i started reading your blog posts, my respect for you is limitless. I am also a junior designer, without the money to go through schooling to “prove it” with a piece of paper. I save up some money here and there to attend small metalsmith work shops. I never stop creating. I created my own Etsy page about 3 years ago that’s my true passion and I’m grateful it has reached people from all around the world..I have dreams of creating an empire with natural gemstones, my passion for them is outrageous. I especially love rainbow moonstone! I have taken so much from your story here, and you’ve given me the ultimate motivation to get things moving. Thanks for the reminder that there’s no limit! something we all so often forget.

  • Jamie

    Your post spoketo me in such a profound way today… I have a great job in fashion design and advancing just how I should and would want to I’d this was my dream but I am a jewelry designer on the side… note beaded and tsseled but creating and creating my own things has always been my dream. It’s terrifying to jump from consistency and steady money to the unknown and I was up with my fiancé all night trying to think of how to make it work. This post feels like it serendipitously fell into my lap and all the words I needed to hear. I would love to connect with you and pick your brain if you would ever be open to that. You have totally inspired me to take the leap :)

  • Mary

    Amazing post. I feel as if you are literally talking to me. I’m lucky that I have a great full time job but finally decided to start my side hustle of creating jewelry as well. FEAR is so huge when you take a chance. Sometimes I’m not sure which is harder, getting out of your own way or facing your fears! Either way you just have to keep manifesting to the universe what you want. And it will come to you!

  • Melanie

    Hi Logan, This is to say Thank you. I couldn’t sleep because I was stressing out about my life and I was skyping with my friend the night before who was stressing out about whether she should stick to what she knows ( being a lawyer) or getting into her real passion of writing and teaching.So i think her dilemma affected me too! So at 6am i decided to browse through your gorgeous jewellery to make me happy ( I love your pieces!!). And stumbled upon your post. It was like “WHOA thank you for the divine message”… I shared with my friend and now she has quotes of your posts on her desk to remind her to follow her dream. Thank you from both of us. You are an inspiration AND I am a real fan of your work. I have eye on a pieces ( saved in Pinterest) for when I get my first big break in my new business. xx

  • Katie

    Love this!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. They inspire me to let go of fear and focus on my dreams. Please write a book! Looking forward to reading more. Xo

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