Last week, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Caroline Gladney, designer of Dotted Tusk Jewelry, to get to know her a little bit better. And she is most certainly someone you want to get to know. Caroline is a joy to be around. She is sweet, charming, and oh-so funny. Not to mention quite the inspiration. Her business has been growing leaps and bounds and there's no stopping her now. Read on and you'll see why we like her so much...
1. Tell us a little about yourself...
Well, I grew up in Baton Rouge. I moved away to go to college and attended the University of Alabama. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia. I started Dotted Tusk right when I graduated college. I've been designing and making the jewelry on my own for two and a half years. I'm getting married in October. I don't wear color very much. I prefer sticking to black, white and neutrals when it comes to my wardrobe. I have a weakness for antique jewelry and a major Yogurtland addiction.
2. How did Dotted Tusk get it's start?
While in college, I had a friend that went to India. I was able to go visit her once and fell in love with all the jewelry I saw. I knew immediately that it was something we could sell. So we met with manufacturers and designed jewelry. We wanted Dotted Tusk to be a merging of jewelry and mission work. After a while, we realized the two of us had different paths in mind. She wanted to go back to school and I wanted to take Dotted Tusk on full-time. I no longer work with anyone in India. I now design and make all the jewelry on my own.
3. What made you want to create jewelry?
I've always been obsessed with jewelry. I prefer simple outfits as far as color is concerned and enjoy adding jewelry to enhance an outfit. I was so inspired by the costume jewelry from India, and after graduating with a degree in Finance knowing I didn't want to pursue a career in it, I decided to try my hand at designing jewelry.
4. What is your favorite piece of jewelry in your collection and why?
I actually have a couple. One would be my engagement ring. My fiance designed it himself, and it is one of my absolute favorite pieces. Then there is this tiny silver heart necklace I have. It is from Claire's. My now-fiance gave it to me when we were in 4th grade. He saved up his allowance money to buy it for me. I actually found it a couple years ago in a box and by that point we were actually in a relationship with each other. This necklace is a very sentimental piece for me. The funniest part of this whole thing is that when he proposed to me, the ring he designed wasn't quite ready, so he went to Claire's and bought a ring to present to me. That way I would at least have something until my real one came in. And the last piece that is one of my favorites is a long pendant necklace. My grandparents went to Italy and brought me back a citrine stone for my 16th birthday. I had it turned into a necklace. Since then, I have added the earrings and a ring to match.
5. What's been the most exciting, stand-out moment of your Dotted Tusk journey?
Maybe a year ago at a restaurant in Tuscaloosa, I saw a girl at the table next to me wearing my "Ray" necklace. It was my first time seeing someone outside of Baton Rouge wearing one of my designs. That was definitely an exciting moment for me. Another stand-out moment was while I was watching TV. A Zaxby's & Duck Dynasty commercial came on, and one of the women was wearing one of my necklaces. It is just so unbelievably cool to see your pieces on people.
6. What's one of your guilty pleasures?
Well, there's quite a few. I'd say chocolate, wine, and more chocolate. And then definitely manicures. I get them every other week. I also love ice cream and eat it almost every night. I love mixing vanilla ice cream with a bit of milk and some candy, like reese's. As you can tell I have a huge sweet tooth. I also love shoes. I can spend hours on ebay just looking at shoes and vintage purses. I don't always buy them, but I'm a pro at looking.
7. What artist or designer inspires you?
This is a tough one because there are so many. I really admire Rachel Bilson's style and Rachel Zoe. I also am pretty impressed by Jessica Simpson, not for her style necessarily, but just for what she has been able to accomplish. She has built such a big business on easy, afforable shoes that still look good.
8. If you could only shop one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
I'd have to say Neiman's. It's one of my favorite department stores. And I would be perfectly content to wear Vince clothing, Jimmy Cho shoes, and Dotted Tusk Jewelry.
9. How is your own personal aesthetic similar and different to the Dotted Tusk aesthetic?
Well, there isn't a single piece in my collection that I wouldn't wear. Some are definitely way more "me." Like this gold horseshoe wrap, I wear it everyday. The jewelry I create is much more colorful than the clothes I wear, so there is definitely a contrast there, but I'd say it still matches up pretty well with my aesthetic.
10. Pick one:
Sweet or Salty -- Sweet
Italian or Mexican -- Mexican
Cocktail or Wine -- Wine
Dogs or Cats -- Can I say neither? I'm highly allergic, but I guess I'd say dogs.
Mascara or Lipstick -- Mascara, definitely. I practically put it on while I'm still in bed.
We can't thank Caroline enough for taking the time for us to get to know her better and in turn for you all to get to know one of our favorite jewelry designers that we know you love so much!
You can expect to see this talented lady more and more and you will continue to see her fabulous pieces in our stores!
The Rodéo Girls