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The art of design: 13-year-old makes, sells jewelry at local boutique

Photos by Rachel Howard

Katherine Wood first started making epoxy jewelry at the beginning of this year after being inspired by similar projects on the social media platform Pinterest. In less than a year, she has turned her inspiration into a budding business.

The 13-year-old Hartselle teenager now owns and operates Kat’s Refine Design and sells her jewelry online and at a local boutique, Forever Kate.

“I love shopping at stores like theirs just because of the unique pieces,” Wood said.

Owner Melanie Burger asked Wood to make and sell jewelry at the boutique this past summer, and so far, all of her pieces have sold out. Her creations include earrings, bracelets, initial key chains and necklaces, in addition to epoxy pieces that look like scenes from nature.

Katherine’s mother Melanie Wood said “unique” describes her daughter’s jewelry, design aesthetic and personality. Melanie wears one of Katherine’s first necklaces daily.

“Each one is an original; there will probably never be another one just like it,” she said. “She likes supporting small businesses like Forever Kate. She and Melanie (Burger) are likeminded in a lot of ways, so it has been a good fit; they make a good team.”

Through her jewelry business, Katherine has been able to get real-world experience at a young age. Her mother said discussions about pricing, operating costs and reasonable markups are common when they talk about the future of the jewelry-making business.

Burger often challenges Katherine to come up with new concepts and designs. Recently, one of those challenges was to come up with a new design for a customizable ring that would be easy to size up or down.

Katherine said she believes in being a “less is more” consumer, and she approaches her jewelry-making the same way.

“I like simpler designs, where you can see through the jewelry. At first, I would have too many flowers, and it didn’t look very good,” she said. “Usually when I’m designing jewelry, I’ll have a box full of flowers that is very unorganized, and I’ll pick up a flower and go with it. I don’t really know where my creativity comes from; ideas just pop into my head.”

“As a Christian family, she just likes to give glory to God’s creation through her jewelry,” Melanie Wood added.

Katherine sells her jewelry on Square Space. Kat’s Refine Design also recently had a booth at the 40th annual Depot Days Festival and the Falkville Fall Festival. She said she hopes to one day expand to take custom orders, but right now school is her priority.

Katherine is the daughter of Michael and Melanie Wood of Hartselle. She is the oldest of four children.