Roots Metals | Be Organized
Debbie Lechtman, is amongst her many interests, a jeweller. Currently, she juggles her studies for a Master’s in Creative Writing from USF, with her newly launched brand: Roots Metals. Born and raised in Costa Rica, this creative entrepreneur is making strides in San Francisco and will soon, fill the rest of the country with her intricate designs.
What inspired Roots Metals?
For quite some time, I’d had it in my mind that as soon as I graduated from grad school, I would start my own jewelry line. However, the “spark” of inspiration for Roots Metals itself actually came to me when I was on a trip to India last spring. Experiencing a culture so different from my own made me look inward, at my own upbringing, heritage, and cultures, and how this so often subconsciously inspires my art. On a side note, India also motivated me to start working with gold, which is something I’d never done before.
Is each piece handcrafted and designed by you?
Yes, I design every single piece completely by hand. A new design can take me anything from 30 minutes to weeks to make. One design took me two years.
How are they made?
I make my jewelry using an ancient method called lost wax casting. Basically, I carve a design out of a block of wax and then send it off to get casted into the metal of my choice (I use a small, family-run casting business to cast my designs). Then, I will sand, file, polish, solder (if necessary), and set all the stones myself.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
In terms of actually designing the jewelry, practice, practice, practice! My improvement over the past few years or even few months is really evident to me. Metal smithing is an art, but there’s also a lifelong learning curve. I know that choosing to go down this path, I am prepared to be a student for life.
What are your goals or ambitions with Roots Metals?
Craftsmanship is actually really important to me, so I never want to get so “big” that I have to outsource my work in terms of creating new designs. Ideally, I’d like to be able to live a comfortable, happy life doing what I love. I have a few collaborations with other creative women up my sleeve, and I’d like to keep doing more of that in the future. Making alternative/custom engagement rings is one of my biggest passions, so I definitely want to explore that kind of work more as well.
Is there a right time to launch a business or go out on your own?
I don’t think so. You will always need more money or more time. I think that if you believe in what you are doing, you should go for it. If that means working on your business after you are done with your “real” job for the day, then that’s what you should do. Obviously, be smart about it. Prioritize. But don’t be afraid to pursue it if it’s what you want to do.
Since I know you’re a writer, can you talk a little about how you manage your time between Roots Metals and your other projects?
Writing is a very different creative outlet for me than jewelry is. It’s much more intimate. I do have two big writing projects in the works, but I’ve found that in writing, having deadlines and extra pressure really diminishes the quality of my work. So, for writing, I always give myself much more time.
Do you have any advice for other women starting their own company?
I can’t stress this enough: be organized. Before you even start, set up a system that’s going to work for you. Keep track of everything: how many hours you work, investment versus return, taxes, etc. I know a lot of creative people struggle with organization, but I promise you that if you are not organized in your business, it’ll come back to haunt you.