Thursday, July 5, 2012

Make Pie Not War- Interview with Founder and Jewelry Designer, Alana Little


(photos provided by Alana Little)


An Interview with Alana Little, Owner and Brains behind Make Pie Not War

Alana founded MPNW in 2007 (celebrating her 5 year anniversary next month).  She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Cameron, daughter Lucy and dogs Obe and Smeagol. She is the founder, owner and one woman show that is the jewelry business Make Pie Not War!

Alana was kind enough to take the time to answer the list of questions that I sent to her and here's what she had to say:

 How did you learn to make jewelry? Did you take classes or are you self taught? 

Alana: I started making jewelry when I was 10 with my little Indian seed beads and little pewter charms… I was obsessed with African trading beads when I was kid. Ok, I still am. I am currently taking some metalsmithing classes, but most of my techniques are based off of necessity. If I really want to do something, I find a way to do it or wait until I can find a way!


Since having your daughter Lucy, has your jewelry changed at all- or is it just that you have less time for just yourself and your jewelry?

Alana:  Interesting question, I like to say that my life is a gigantic E.R. Who is dying first? That’s who Dr. Alana will tend to first. MPNW has definitely changed in that I have cut the fat. I used to sit around and fart around with pieces and do lunches with fellow designers, but who really wants to talk to a designer when she’s trying to cut her toddler’s sandwich up in little bites and trying to focus on an adult conversation?  Not so glamorous. Lucy has definitely made me better in many ways. In regards to MPNW, she has made me quicker, more efficient and realigned my overall priorities. Less time for lil ol’ me? YES. Do I mind? Sometimes, but wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Is it ever hard to find supplies for your pieces, you use a lot of vintage stuff?  

Alana: YES. It’s the most common question I am asked ALLLLLLL the time. “Where do you get your pieces from?” I’m going to start saying “Mars.”


I feel like your business has exploded (i mean, you have 3,075 likes on FB and 4278 admirers on Etsy!)- were you prepared for this kind of success or did you think you'd just stay small and local to your area? I feel like a lot of people find out about you through word of mouth, so that's got to be exciting! I always feel like personal referrals mean so much more than just standard advertising! 

Alana: I’m not sure I think of MPNW as successful. I guess designers never really feel like that because we’re always imagining ourselves somewhere else and onto the next BIG thing! I am sooooo grateful for really great faithful fans and customers that keep me going. They really are the heroes behind my success. When I hear about a customer buying because a friend recommended me, it really makes me feel like I am doing the right thing with my life. FB, Instagram, Twitter, and Etsy has really allowed my business to blossom internationally in a really tough market and allowed me to do this full time. I don’t ever want to be huge. I really love that I am a wife to Cameron and a mom to Lucy. That’s my first priority and MPNW is my vessel I use to keep me here!


You work out of your home- it is hard to stay focused or are you good at tuning out the world and getting down to business? 

Alana: Oh man, good thing my bff isn’t here to answer… I am the biggest farter-arounder. I think I need that adrenaline time crunch. I normally get anxious, bite my nails off, and then get down to work and rip through the work! I am a night owl and will do what it takes to get it done. I never want to let down my customers. It’s not business for me; MPNW is personal.

 **(Let me just interject my own personal view here: you can absolutely 100% tell that Alana takes pride in what she does and doesn't treat it like a business. As a customer it's one of the things I love! It's always personal services, she's a can-do kind of a gal!!)


I'd like to see you take over the world- what are your ambitions for your company? Do you want to stay a smaller one woman business or do you see yourself growing beyond that? 

Alana: That’s hilarious. Some day I’m definitely taking over the world. I am a natural born entrepreneur. My first enterprise was when I was about 10 and I started, C.S.A.T. (Children Saving America Today) and we collected cans in my parents rich crusty neighborhood so we could cash them in to sponsor a whale. I’m sure my parents wanted to die when they got calls from the neighbors to see if we were struggling for money. Lololololol…. My current ambition is to complete my facelift I am giving MPNW as we celebrate our fifth year. New website, new cards, new art, new booth, new products, better service, new packaging, better social marketing, and more. We really are trying to go outside our comfort zone and offer a better company while still maintaining the funky fresh vintage fun fabulousness! I am a one woman show, but I am producing more now than before I had my babes. I am becoming a jewelry making machine and I love it. (Side note: my joints would like to interject that they are currently in opposition to this new output and are ready to strike.)


Thank you to Alana, @ Make Pie Not War  for a fun and fresh interview and for being my first feature, you're the best!!

Check out some of her amazing work below!! 
(from my collection and also some items from her etsy shop, available for purchase- links provided). 

My Pieces: 
(I think I might actually have enough to warrant calling it a collection!!)
 Links to items for sale provided: please click on the price for the link.
Left to Right: My Favorite Hoops in sterling silver, $40,  Plain Ol' Jane hoops, $29 (mine have an additional turquoise bead) and Rosie Posie rose gold hammered earrings, $37 (featured MANY times in my Outfit of the Day posts), soon to arrive to my earring collection: Far Out Constellation Vacation, featured below in her items from MPNW Etsy shop.  



Mustard is Cam's Delight bracelet, $44
(Alana was kind enough to customize this piece for me, removing the locket so I don't bonk people's foreheads while shampooing at work!)

Bee Mine Forever brass chain, $20
(I cannot stress enough how delicate and teeny tiny this necklace is. It's so precious!)

This piece is no longer available, but it's similar to free as a bird.
This necklace was my very first MPNW purchase!

Big Black Bauble necklace, $30 

This exact piece is no longer available but it's similar to: Free As A Bird

One of a kind piece, and my absolute favorite!!


A Few Pieces Currently on Make Pie Not War's Etsy page:
Links provided: please click "found here" in each caption for the link

Far Out Constellation Vacation red brass earrings, $40. found here

Shoot Me Camera necklace, gold filled or sterling silver, $42 found here

  
My Granny Left Her Jewels vintage brooch necklace, $72 found here

My Favorite Hoops in Mint, $43 found here

If Cleopatra Worked At Anthropologie, $75 found here
*(photos provided by Alana Little through her Etsy shop. Thank you for your permission!) 


Where to find Make Pie Not War:

(currently under construction)


How to Contact Alana:
Alana@makepie.net

She does great custom pieces!! Late Summer/Fall brides, it's not too late to hit her up! :)



an amendment to the original post: got my far out constellation vacation earrings today, it's LOVE



*next up in what I'm calling my "Summer Features": A local bakery whose wares are something you can really get hooked on... stay tuned!

3 comments:

  1. I love it all! Great interview Leah, so neat to get inside the mind of our favorite jewelry lady. B just got me a new necklace for my 33rd bday-- custom designed and I just love it!

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  2. Holly, it's all your fault :) haha!!

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