Corina has been our crush for a little while now - she makes amazing accessories (check out Wild & Free Jewelry
) and highlights small businesses via her blog, the Wild & Free Blog
. Her universe is full of butterflies, poppies and dreamy sunsets! I met her during a trip to California, when she brought me to one of her favorite spots in town. She's as kind and cute as you could imagine through her photos and made me spend a wonderful time over there.
We've been following you on Instagram since forever and your life seems so full and exciting! Could you tell us what does a classic day looks like for you?
A regular day for Wild & Free Jewelry goes something like this: I wake up, make breakfast and head into my home office. I’ll generally start with e-mails, then head straight into processing orders. Because almost everything I design is made to order, once an order is placed I have to make the item, so a great deal of my day is spent making mermaid crowns, butterfly crowns and embellished denim jackets.
On an ideal day, I will stop creating around 3 or 4pm and head into the mountains to do a blog shoot. After that, I’ll come home and continue working until around 1 or 2 am either with editing photos or on more orders.
Of course, sometimes work also entails a lot of traveling and in those cases I won’t be processing orders and I’ll be focusing more on creating content, either for other brands via my @wildandfree.corina
account, or with a model for the things I design for @wildandfreejewelry
The way you deal with your business alone is pretty amazing. What was your biggest difficulty running Wild & Free Jewelry solo?
I think the hardest aspect of running my business solo is finding the time to fit everything into one day. I tend to feel as though I can accomplish everything in a day of work which is often not the case. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about time management and slowly working through tasks instead of trying to rush through them all at once.
Besides that, I really love the challenge of working alone. It’s taught me so much about myself and what I’m capable of if I really set my mind to it. I also feel it’s guided me into a place of confidence and self-love as before I started my business I felt a lot of self-doubt and insecurities. Having the opportunity to express myself creatively through design, photography, writing and connecting with others has made me feel so much more comfortable in my own skin and grateful for life.
What is the best thing that’s happened to you with Wild & Free ?
It’s so hard to pick just one thing because my journey with Wild & Free Jewelry has had so many wonderful surprises and experiences. When it comes down to it, I think the best thing has been more of a feeling and less of an event. When I first started Wild & Free Jewelry I had this overwhelming sense of feeling as though I finally discovered my passion in life. I absolutely fell in love. I realized my entire life had nudging me in the direction of pursuing this path. When I finally accepted it, quit my day job and jumped full force into my passion, I began to feel intensely alive and inspired. That emotion is the BEST thing that’s happened and I’ll forever treasure it as one of the greatest gifts.
Do you have any advice for girls that want to be entrepreneurs?
The best piece of advice I can offer to anyone who would like to own a business or venture into a creative passion is to not let fear hold you back. Every experience holds an opportunity to learn and even if you’re afraid of putting yourself out there, know that with failure, can arise the greatest growth. If you’re able to view a negative situation as an opportunity to learn and try again you’ll find so much reward in the journey of being an entrepreneur (and in the journey of life!).
I think that’s one of the key aspects I’ve learned in the seven years of Wild & Free Jewelry, as it’s so important to learn to appreciate the process and not focus too much on the destination. So much of an entrepreneur’s daily life will be completely engulfed in their business and focusing too much on the end result or the future my result in unhappiness and stress. Because of this I’ve found great fulfillment in the present and in the understanding that everything happens for a reason. There’s absolutely no need to let fear stand in the way of your dreams.
Have you always wanted to run your own company? Tell us what your dream job was!
When I was younger I had many dream jobs. I dreamed of being an artist, but I also wanted to be a writer, a teacher and later in life, I fantasized about being a professional photographer. I feel very fortunate that I get to experience aspects of each of those professions now with my current career.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I draw a ton of inspiration from nature, as I’m sure you could already guess. Sunsets, the ocean, the mountains and wildflowers are among the top things that make me happy and inspire me to create. Besides that, I draw a lot of inspiration from my memories of childhood. I really love to create things based on what I would have loved to play dress up in as a child. Playing dress up and pretending to be a princess or a fairy was such a large part of my daily activities as a child and I adore embracing that side of myself as an adult.
Thanks to you, we can watch gorgeous Californian landscapes on your account! What is the best hidden spot in Santa Barbara ?
One of my favorite places in the entire world is a beautiful stretch of coastline just north of Santa Barbara on a private ranch. Nature looks so pristine out there, with only small houses nestled in the mountains. There are tons of animals like horses, dolphins and butterflies and the beaches are so clean as people really respect and treasure the land. I grew up spending a lot of time out there and it’s somewhere I’ll always hold close to my heart.
What is the best sunset spot in Santa Barbara? And the best one you've seen in your life?
I think the best sunset spot is Lizard’s Mouth, where we (Alyssa and I) went together when she came to visit Santa Barbara! The view up there of the ocean, the city, and the mountains, is so breathtaking. I think that perspective makes it one of the best places to watch the sun set in all of Santa Barbara County.
As far as the best sunset I’ve seen in my life, I think that has to be one I saw in Australia earlier this year. I was on the beach in Byron Bay and just as the sun was setting and the sky turned pink, a huge double rainbow appeared across the sky! Rainbow sunsets are very rare where I’m from, so to witness such a beautiful sight was so magical.
Talking about Australia, we’ve seen you visiting there a few times and really enjoying it! So, do you prefer Australia or California?
Ahh this question is so hard because I love them both! I think the accent in Australia is so much prettier than that of Californians, and the fashion in Aus is next level! I also LOVE the color of the ocean in Australia, especially in Byron Bay. I think California will always feel like home to me but there are certainly aspects of Aus that I wish I could experience here without traveling on a 15 hour flight.
Do you have a favorite souvenir from traveling?
When I went to Australia the first time I found a deck of Unicorn Oracle Cards at a small gift shop along the main street of a town we were passing through. The cards feature stunning artwork of unicorns and I love them so much!
Haha we know you love unicorns! If you had one, what would be her/his name?
Your best travel moment?
I really love both times I’ve had the opportunity to travel Guatemala! One of my favorite moments was waking up at 3am for a sunrise tour of the Mayan ruins, Tikal. I remember hiking into the jungle in the dark, with stars still in the night sky, and once we arrived at one of the temples, we climbed to the top and watched the sun rise over the jungle. As the light began to touch the jungle canopy, all the animals slowly started to wake up and the sound of their world coming to life was so beautiful.
What’s your dream travel destination?
Earlier this year I went to New Zealand’s North Island for the first time and it was so wonderful. I would love to go back and explore the South Island when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Wow you've seen the world! Have you even heard about Biarritz (the city)?
I hadn’t heard of it until I read about it on your website! Now I want to come and visit someday.
It would be wonderful to have you here! Biarritz is the Historical surfing city in Europe! Do you surf?
I don’t surf, but I love love love the ocean and I love everything about surfing culture. My Dad surfs and when I was young we would spend long days at the beach so the entire surfing lifestyle is something I will always admire.
How is your home like?
My home is finally coming together! I’ve lived in the same house since I moved out of my parent’s place, so I’ve been here for 7 years. We recently put in new floors, started a veggie patch in the backyard and have been decorating it slowly over time. I would say the style is very bohemian with lots of plants and treasures displayed (especially in my room!).
We always see you going to the best Californian festivals (LIB, Coachella, etc.). What’s your favorite music group you’ve seen at a Festival?
There are so many talented artists I’ve seen over the years, it’s hard to decide on an absolute favorite. But, I would have to say among my favorites has been legends I saw at Desert Trip – Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Roger Waters. Watching those people preform really moved me and their music makes me feel so nostalgic for childhood.
If you could watch the sunset with someone today (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love to have the opportunity to watch the sunset with my grandpa, Bruce. He recently passed last December and I didn’t get a proper chance to say goodbye. There are a few things I would love to tell him if we could have one last moment together. ♡
All photo credits belong to Corina Alulquoy Brown.