As businesses have begun to open up in Phases Three and Four, more local businesses have been seeing support from their communities. One of these businesses is Off Da Wire Jewelry Designs which has been working on unique designs since October 2010.
Founded by Margo Poole, Off Da Wire Jewelry Designs is an online business that creates unique beaded jewelry, including bracelets, earrings and necklaces. The business began out of the passion for jewelry that was passed down to Poole from her late-mother, Poole said.
“She designed intricate items in Jeweler’s Row in Chicago,” Poole said. “She gave me a bead kit and from that moment I have been enthralled in jewelry.”
Poole’s products are “eco-friendly by recycling, and recreating previously out-dated pieces to create new and livelier designs,” according to Off Da Wire’s Facebook page. The materials to create jewelry come from a variety of locations. Poole’s friends, who have purchased jewelry in the past that is outdated, supply her with material and Poole also picks up material from thrift stores, Poole said.
“I also purchase beads from fair-trade companies which support causes like homelessness and domestic abuse,” Poole said. “One company I use is based in Haiti where women use old cereal boxes to create beads and provide for their families.”
Currently Poole makes 10 to 15 items a week depending on the intricacy of the jewelry. Some projects can take one to two hours to make while more complex items can take four to six hours, Poole said. Poole makes her products affordable with her prices ranging from $1 to $65, her highest price.
The business, celebrating its ten-year anniversary in October, has changed significantly in how it markets itself. Pool said when the business started she relied on word-of-mouth from her friends. Now, she advertises with business cards at local businesses and shows off her designs on her Facebook and Instagram pages where she also conducts business.
“You have to make yourself visible and let people know what sets you apart,” Poole said. “What sets my business apart is that these items feel unique and that they are not mass produced.”
Poole also sells her products at Common Grounds, 131 E Lincoln Highway, a local coffee shop specializing in locally brewed coffee and tea. Common Grounds owner Jeff Foster, is not only partnering with Poole in selling her products but is also currently helping Poole create a website for her products, Poole said.
“Margo is a great designer and has a big heart for the next generation of artists,” Foster said. “She has quickly become a champion on our youth mission at Common Grounds.”
In the future, Poole said she hopes to host events at Common Grounds where people can make jewelry and appreciate the work that goes into it.
While, according to Off Da Wire’s Facebook page, many of the products Poole makes are geared towards women, recent trends have caused Poole to make and market products for men. These include bracelets with wooden beads and lava beads. The latter ties into a current popular trend of essential oils and aromatherapy, Poole said. Feather jewelry has also been trending as have charm bracelets with inspirational quotes.
While an online business, Off Da Wire was significantly inconvenienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Poole said. This included having many opportunities, including in Bolingbrook and Fox Valley, cancelled for Poole to set up booths to sell jewelry.
“It’s been interesting and has been a big hit,” Poole said. “It’s hard when you rely on large, pop-up events and it forces you to think outside the box.”
Poole said what she hopes others take away from her jewelry is that they will be supporting a small black-owned business and will have something unique, affordable and just for you, as her store’s motto says.
In the future, Poole said she hopes to further collaborate with more local DeKalb businesses to form an online community.
The creation of Off Da Wire and Poole’s passion for creating jewelry has helped Poole combat depression and create something she’s proud of. She hopes that her products and her upcoming lessons with Common Grounds will help others do the same and discover what makes them unique.