A Brooklyn Art

Jessica Hong is no stranger to the art world. She studied at one of New York City’s artiest high schools, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, and later attended University at Buffalo, where she graduated with a Bachelor in Communication and Minor in Studio Art.

She worked as a social media specialist for high-end fashion brands, mastering the creative process that later would help her launch her jewelry on Instagram. In her new brand, byjesshong, Hong leverages her artistic side to bring jewelry to colorful heights.

Artist Jessica Hong wearing her own earrings.

Q. When did you first get inspired to create your own jewelry?

I saw all these girls online making handmade things and I was thinking if they could do it, I can do it too. So I started in July making little fruit studs, but I had the crappiest clay and was literally using a toilet paper roller as a roller. It was so bad but once I started, it became so calming to me because it was the first time in so long that I was doing something creative.

Q. What are some things you learned from your professional experience?

I was in charge of Instagram accounts for two jewelry brands, one menswear brand and an Italian fashion account. Those were great experiences because it was up to me to see how the following would grow, but I just didn’t connect with these brands because it was really expensive for things that were catered towards young people. I think that’s what inspired me to make jewelry because I wanted to make things that were really affordable, fun and trendy.

Q. With quarantine, where did you find inspiration?

I started with fruits and just other stuff I liked. I got really into bright colors as a way to add color into my life because I wear so much dark clothing and my hair is also really dark. But for the squiggle [earrings], it was just spontaneous because I was just playing around with what weird shapes I could do.

I also got really inspired by music. For the BTS earrings, I was listening to their album really late at night and then next thing you know, I was up for three hours just mixing all the colors.

byjesshong’s Earrings. Photo Credit: Jessica Hong

Q. byjesshong also does customized jewelry. How does the creation process of those differ from a regular design?

It’s really interesting because I have some people who are really specific in what they want but then there’s others where I get to design the earrings to match to that person’s style, which I think is really cool.

Q. What does a typical work day look for you?

I work at home in my PJs and I usually work at night because that’s when I feel the most creative. I work in my basement where I have a big desk with all my equipment and materials.

Hong’s workspace. Photo credit: Jessica Hong

Q. What support did you have when starting “byjesshong?”

My friends and sister, Katie, really pushed me to share it on Instagram. Katie helped me with the boxes and earrings tags, which was really helpful for the packaging part of it.

My boyfriend, Stephen, was really helpful. I thought launching the brand was going to be so daunting, but he was very encouraging and made me realized that I could do it.

Q. What’s something that surprised you from this experience?

I became friends with some other polymer clay artists. There’s some in NYC, one in Korea and a lot of Australians. We follow and comment on each other’s stuff and I never expected to get so into the community on Instagram. I feel so welcomed and everybody is so nice. I thought it was a competition but really, we’re all just pals.

Q. How do you feel when you see other people wear the things you designed?

I literally cry. Anytime someone DMs me, I just can’t believe it.

Q. Can you describe your jewelry using five words?

Simple, funky, weird, minimal and colorful.

Q. Do you have any advice for others who are just starting out too?

Have a lot of fun with it and it’s not as scary as you think. I was so scared to put myself out there and share my work, but once I did, it was just so much more rewarding.

Q. And last question! Launch date is coming soon ­– what should we be expecting?

I’m really excited and it’s just going to be really fun. This week is a soft launch so that’s going to be a very limited number of products but then I’m going to do a drop every month of different colors and collections. I have 2 different colors coming out for the squiggles this week and I’m already planning the colors that I’m going to drop in December.

“byjesshong” goes live on ETSY this Friday, November 20, 2020.

Follow @byjesshong on Instagram for more information.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more poetry and writing.

©️ Wanly Chen ©️ thewriterscigarette 2020

All Rights Reserved.

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Writer, poet, traveler. Instagram poetry visuals @thewriterscigarette

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thewriterscigarette

thewriterscigarette

Writer, poet, traveler. Instagram poetry visuals @thewriterscigarette

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