Hi! My name is Julie and I am the owner and creator of Fading West Jewels. This is a good place to give you some background on me and how I came to be in Petaluma and about my brand.
I was born and raised in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Truckee CA. As the oldest of 4, we were always up to no good playing in nature. My appreciation of nature 100% came from the way I grew up. At 18, I moved away from the small town to go to college at Long Beach State University for Environmental Science. During college I worked my butt off studying, working at least 2 jobs, and conducting scientific research. My artistic side was severely suppressed by all the technical brain activities and I started to seek out an activity that I could do that would allow me to “shut off my brain.”
I gravitated towards gemstones and jewelry making, and it was a way for me to reconnect with my younger sister, Kristen. Together we created the brand Native Skies Jewelry. The LA area is a hub for jewelry making and I found SO many awesome people to buy gems from. This is definitely my passion purchasing rare, special, excellent quality, and sustainably sourced gems. Kristen took on the role of being an epic jewelry designer, is still whipping out new designs, and is the designer of my current logo.
After completing my Master’s Degree in 2014, I was looking for a major life change and moved to Maui to live with Kristen in Hana. There we continued to try to make the business successful - now able to work together in person, not across an ocean! But, my back log of student loans and not sustainable jobs, made me return to Long Beach not long after I moved. Might have gotten that “island fever” so to speak! This is where my brand name came from, I wanted to get back to the west coast of California. I had taken for granted the ability to travel to the beach, redwood forests, oak woodlands, crystal clear rivers, and of course my favorite the ponderosa forests of the Sierra Nevadas all with only a few hours drive.
So back on the west coast, I predominantly started working for an Environmental firm in Irvine, and a secondary job for a friends jewelry business – Lori Powers Jewelry. Fading West Jewels, took a back seat but was slowly starting to build. My passion for gems continued to grow and my knowledge and taste for quality was only accentuated by being back in the LA area. With some more life changes, I left Long Beach and moved to my mother’s house in Cool, CA. Yes, that is the name of the town. Here, I completely stopped working on FWJ, and everything was in storage. I honestly didn’t think that I would every rebuild it and that I would just make jewelry for myself and family.
But, the world had other plans for me. I fell in love with boyfriend and after a year or so, moved to Petaluma (his hometown) and continued to work in for an environmental consulting firm. When a few lovely ladies from this town saw the jewelry I made, they insisted that I participate in this Holiday Barn Boutique. After a big success, it turned my passion back on and I started to ramp up FWJ. Sometime in here, Kristen moved back to the west coast and I convinced her to stay in Petaluma!
But we all know the road up is not a straight line, very bumpy in fact. The second year of trying to get FWJ to be big in the bay area was a flop. My brand was washed out amongst the 4 million other jewelry vendors and all the holiday events I had the previous year weren’t going on. Well, crap. So what did I do? I started to run my own events. Small curated vendors so that we weren’t competing and all local vendors. The first one did well and Kristen and I decided to start to run more!
This is where Clucktown Collective was born, named after Cluck Norris the backyard Rooster. So now, running both the event and FWJ, I have found somewhat of a balance that seems to fit for me and the Petaluma Community. Yeah!!