Our latest featured homegrown business is Wild Moon Jewelry. Founder and creator Asia Clarke turned her love for handcrafted, unique jewelry into a business with sustainability in mind. Many pieces have recycled elements made with love at her studio in Scarborough.
What is your business called and what does it do?
My arts-based business is called Wild Moon Jewelry, and I create handmade adornment at my studio in Scarborough. I design unique pieces with a mixture of semi-precious stones, recycled silver, brass, and glass beads, as well as other found objects. I create wearable art that is meant to inspire confidence, self-love, and acknowledgement of our connection to mother earth.
What made you want to do this work?
I started making jewelry as a hobby in 2010, and with the support of friends and family I decided to build it into a business. I have always been a creative person who is good with my hands. I love to see when someone tries on and purchases a piece from me – their face lights up, and they feel empowered to have a truly unique looking jewelry piece made by someone they feel connected with. Many of my pieces incorporate recycled materials. This is because during my world travels over the past few years, I became acutely aware of the importance of using art to promote and uphold environmental integrity. Now, I am dedicated to using Wild Moon Jewelry as a platform to challenge the norms around cookie-cutter trendy fast fashion, in order to raise an awareness for shopping locally and sustainably.
What problem does this solve?
Having been witness to environmental justice challenges linked to our consumption culture around the world, I was inspired to shift Wild Moon Jewelry’s focus towards a more sustainable materials sourcing practice. Fast fashion is one of the biggest polluting industries on earth. I decided if I was going to continue to make jewelry products to be consumed, it would have to be done in a way that encourages resourceful creativity with use of good quality recycled objects to be diverted away from landfills or beaches. I envision a world where our sustainably-made wearable art shifts the conversation about what can be considered “luxury”, and provide ideological challenges to typical beauty standards.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Typically, my clientele is mostly diverse women and non-gender/sexuality conforming individuals aged 20-50 years old, but I do have many men as customers too. I offer necklaces, earrings, and bracelets intended to be worn by anyone – people just need to be able to see themselves in the jewelry to fall in love with it!
How does your business make money? How does it work?
Wild Moon Jewelry is currently being run mainly as an online store, but I also do pop-up shops, festivals, and jewelry making workshops through community organizations around the world. For example, right now I am working with a women’s jewelry collective in Ghana called the Obrapa Women’s Group who are dedicated to educating their communities about HIV/Aids prevention through community art projects. With them, I’ve co-designed a capsule collection of handmade beaded necklaces and bracelets, with all profit going towards supporting their livelihoods. It is important to me that Wild Moon Jewelry address social causes, and not just be a “fashion” company. All current collections are available at www.wildmoonjewelry.com, and each handmade pieces can be shipped within 2-3 business days of the order.
Where in Toronto can we find your business?
Right now we are popping up at the Pretty Elevated by Irisa Studio at Stackt Market, a first-of-its-kind community collective and pop-up with curated retail, workshops and a co-working space created to amplify and empower local women-led businesses. Aside from that, find us online at www.wildmoonjewelry.com!
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your business when comparing services?
I believe customers should be asking questions to be mindful of the environmental impact of the items they are buying. Wild Moon Jewelry strives to remain affordable while maintaining a unique aesthetic that respects the environment. I hope to be part of a shift that encourages prospective customers to be curious about the sustainability of materials used in their jewelry and other fashion purchases.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part of what I do is being able to make a living from my art and being affirmed that I am an inspiration to others. I would not say there is a “worst part” except that I would like to branch out to creating other art forms, and I have to create the time and space away from my business to be able to do that. But I am finding my way!
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
My friends and family will often joke around and call me “Tame Sun”.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
I really love the work going on at Broke&Living – they create really unique clothing and are amazing creative stylists and visionaries! They’ll also be popping up at Pretty Elevated by Irisa at Stackt Market from September 12-22. To check out more of the retailers who will be popping up in the space and full programming details, visit prettyelevated.ca!