a coastal thing

The Vancouver based jewelry line, coastal chains was one of the many incredible vendors at lululemon's SeaWheeze Sunset Festival this year.

 SeaWheeze Sunset Festival, August 12, 2017. Photo by Ellie Zerr

SeaWheeze Sunset Festival, August 12, 2017. Photo by Ellie Zerr

Inspired by mountains, nature, and a love for the west coast, coastal chains is made for people who appreciate natural beauty, adventure, and being outdoors. “My line represents everything I love,” Keri says to me, smiling. She’s holding a mug of tea between her hands and has a collection of silver rings on each of her fingers. One of them is the mountain ring, designed in the shape of a mountaintop. Spotted across all collections, mountains are a signature theme and component of coastal chains.

Keri started making jewelry at a young age, and remembers making friendship bracelets for her friends. “I loved being crafty,” she says. But her love for making jewelry really took off when she moved to Vancouver in 2011. “I really got into making jewelry as a creative outlet, and it helped that I was in the best environment for inspiration.”

However, it took a lot of trial by error to find her groove. “In the beginning, I went to a lot of consignment and thrift shops and bought different vintage pieces, with the intention of re-purposing them into something else that might be cool—but it never worked. I was still determined to make at least one thing on my own, and after experimenting I finally ended up making a necklace I was happy with. So I made a few more to see if I could sell them.” Keri posted the necklace to her Instagram, where she ended up selling all the necklaces, and was encouraged by friends and buyers to make more pieces. “From there, coastal chains happened organically,” she says. “And as I experimented more, I got more comfortable playing around with different tools and shapes.”

The way Keri makes her jewelry is a very intricate process. For all her rings, she starts out using sheet metal and pencils in the design of what she wants the shape to be. She then uses a tiny saw to cut out the shape, and a soldering gun to soften the metal. Then, she uses a file to carefully shape the ring. The entire process takes approximately an hour to two hours, per piece. But time isn’t a concern for Keri. “I truly love what I’m doing, so time goes by really fast. When I’m designing jewelry, I have the tendency to get lost in the entire experience in the best way possible. I also really enjoy spending time in my studio—it’s my sanctuary,” she says.

 Photo by Nadine Nevitt

Photo by Nadine Nevitt

Keri’s studio is in her apartment, and she considers it as much a part of the coastal chains brand as the physical jewelry itself. “There are pictures and inspiration all over the walls, and a beautiful antique bench where I make everything,” she says. “It’s my happy place. It’s where the magic happens.”

Now that Keri has finally found her groove, she says that everything else is icing on the cake. “I feel so fortunate doing something I love.” She’s currently in the work of creating some new pieces, inspired by the popular Vancouver cycling studio Ride Cycle. “Stay tuned,” she says.

In the spirit of SeaWheeze, what’s your SeaWheeze 2017 highlight?

“I was so lucky to have a tent set up at the Sunset Festival to sell coastal chains. There were so many people who came through the tent, that at one point there was a line of people waiting to get in because it was full. A woman also came up to me and said that she was so excited to come to the festival, because I was there. I’ve sold my line at the sunset festival before but I wasn’t there last year, and she told me how excited she was that I was back this year because she wants to buy something from coastal chains to commemorate her SeaWheeze experience every year. That was totally unexpected, and such a beautiful surprise. But it’s so hard to pick just one highlight. SeaWheeze is always the highlight of my YEAR. It’s the most wonderful experience to be part of. It makes me so proud to work at lululemon and be part of our collective.”

Blog written by Kailey Buchanan, Ops Specialist at lululemon