Nicole

I grew up in the rural suburbs of Chicago. My love for rocks, gems, and minerals came from my grandfather who was a gem hunter and collector. Some of my favorite childhood memories were my grandfather and father taking me out to the freshly plowed cornfields to find arrowheads. When my grandfather passed away when I was 10 years old many of his collections were auctioned off, but years later I found several boxes that had been kept. Unpacking those boxes definitely ignited my passion and the start of my own collection. I travelled to Tucson, AZ for the gem shows and knew then that this is what I truly loved. In my early 20's I took some lapidary and silversmithing classes to learn how to make jewelry, and I worked in a store that sold Native American made art and jewelry—the Navajo style jewelry has always been my favorite.

In 2007 after a few road trips to NC, I knew the mountains here were where I wanted to be. I had met a friend that offered me a job at a touristy gem mine in Boone, so I packed up my life and moved there alone without knowing more than that one friend. I ended up working at a couple different gem mines in that area and LOVED it!

In 2011 I became a mother to my son, Sage. I was a single mom from day one and was lucky enough to be able to work from home at that time, working for a band doing behind the scenes stuff, mostly on my computer. The perks were being able to introduce my son to travel and music festivals since he was basically born. We did a lot of traveling and moving around until I met my current partner, Pepe who lived in Asheville. I had spent a lot of time visiting Asheville when I lived in Boone, and it wasn't a hard decision to move here when we decided we wanted to live together. Shortly after that my second son, Jade was born in 2014.

I was fortunate to be able to still work from home, but decided I wanted to make a shift back to my passion of working with gemstones and jewelry. I started buying large quantities of my two favorite gems, Fire Agate and Opal, from Pepe's family in Mexico and started my own website and social media accounts to sell those gemstones to other jewelry designers and gem collectors. For several years that business helped us support our new family. Although I loved being an entrepreneur, in 2018 we bought our first home in Asheville, and I really wanted to have a more consistent and reliable income. The following year a friend of mine told me about SoulKu. I immediately knew that would be PERFECT for me! It's now been two years working at SoulKu!

When I'm not working you will probably find me outside working in the yard, trying my best to become a better gardener (I'm still learning). We typically have season passes to Biltmore, so we like to go explore the grounds there and check out the gardens during the different seasons. Some of our favorite places to spend weekends are relaxing at one of the many lakes in the area or going to the Nolichucky River camping, swimming, and rafting with friends.

My partner Pepe is co-owner at the Pizza Mind in West Asheville, so we are there quite often in our free time. The kids love being able to make their own personal pizzas while I enjoy the delicious gluten free pizza and sandwiches that they offer, along with some of the best cocktails in West Asheville.

My favorite SoulKu item to work with is Labradorite, especially the Sacred necklace. It's just such a beautiful gemstone. I love looking at each individual stone to admire all the different colors of the rainbow. SoulKu's Labradorite represents Transformation, and that resonates with me. Life is all about transformation and change and that has definitely been a theme in my journeys along the way. I also really love the Rainbow Fluorite, that we've done as a limited edition Super Power a few times, because it reminds me of my grandfather who used to collect it while gem hunting in Illinois.

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