Welcome to our exclusive interview with Almeta, the brilliant founder behind Babaloo Jewelry. Almeta takes us on a captivating journey that led her to launch this extraordinary brand. From her experiences living abroad to her deep connection with Indigenous culture, she shares how Babaloo Jewelry became a means of self-expression and a tribute to the diverse influences that have shaped her life.
With a commitment to ethical practices and a passion for artisanal craftsmanship, Almeta creates stunning designs that reflect her love for nature and her desire to leave a positive impact on the world. Join us as we delve into Almeta's creative process, her inspirations, and her vision for the future.
Get ready to be inspired by her unique perspective and the beautiful jewelry that tells a story of identity, empowerment, and joy.
Tell us about the journey that led you to launching your brand, Babaloo Jewelry...
The idea for Babaloo Jewelry first came to me while I was living abroad, staying home with our children, and feeling very isolated after relocating. I was struggling to adapt to another new language and culture at the time. It began as an exploration of Indigenous culture and a way for me to express myself. Throughout my life, I have had the privilege of traveling and living in many places. I was born on the reservation in Lapwai, Idaho, grew up in Canada, moved to Florida, met my husband, and then moved abroad to Germany, France, and Switzerland before finding our way back to the United States. Babaloo Jewelry is like a love letter to all the cultures, people, experiences, and places that have influenced, challenged, and encouraged me to grow.
Where did your love for jewelry come from?
Fashion has always held a special place in my heart, and I have always been fascinated by the way it can serve as a means of self-expression and reflection. As a registered member of the Nez Perce tribe, I have experienced a sense of displacement at times throughout my life, having spent a significant part of my childhood separated from my mother and that side of my family. Jewelry design has been a powerful means for me to reconnect with my heritage. It is a significant component of Indigenous expression that carries a lot of symbolism and meaning. By integrating traditional materials with contemporary design, I can connect the different parts of my identity and create something truly exceptional and unique.
Why are ethical, eco, and artisan practices important to you?
I have a deep respect and awe for nature; she is truly the most exquisite artist. It is my goal to create designs that reflect that beauty while respecting it. I source my materials ethically whenever possible and reduce waste wherever I can. Artisan pieces are meant to last; they are the antithesis of fast fashion. I have purposefully tried to avoid falling victim to the pressure designers often feel to be constantly creating and discarding collections. Instead, I want to create pieces that are timeless. As an artist, I want to bring visibility and awareness to Indigenous arts. As a woman, I want people to feel represented and welcome in my brand. And as a mother, I want to work to leave the world a better place.
How do you want people to feel when they wear your designs?
I want people to feel joyful! I want them to feel confident and beautiful, and to know that they are as unique and glorious as the pieces they are wearing.
Do you have plans to expand your range and launch other products in the future?
I don't have any concrete plans at the moment, but my tendency to explore new things will probably lead to that sometime in the future.
If you didn’t pursue this career, what else would you have liked to do?
I think I was always meant for the design field. In middle school, we had to do a French presentation, and I melted trash bags together and used tin foil to create a collection. Then, I recruited my friends to put on a fashion show for our French teacher. It has always been in me.
Looking back since launching the business, is there anything that you would do differently?
Because Babaloo grew very organically, I was able to take my time and truly create designs that I love. However, it also meant that I was trying to wear all the hats at once. If I were to do it again, I would focus on the things that I enjoy and excel at and learn to let go of the things that don't come naturally to me. Additionally, I have to admit that I struggle with organization in my studio space. When inspiration hits, I tend to drop everything and sit down at my table to work on new ideas. It's a blessing and a curse, but I believe finding a better balance would benefit me.
Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?
I share the love for travel! There is a great desire in me to visit untouched places, destinations that haven't been influenced by us yet. When I was younger, I dreamed of visiting the Galapagos Islands, being immersed in raw nature and experiencing that purity would be amazing. Today, Alaska and Iceland are also at the top of my list, as they offer unique and breathtaking landscapes.
Running a business can be non-stop. What do you do to switch off?
Switching off can be challenging for most small business owners, and I'm no exception. However, I have designated Saturdays as my no-work day, and I truly stick to it. On that day, I don't engage in any work-related activities. I take a break from cooking, cleaning, and anything that I feel obligated to do. This allows me to reset and recharge for the following week, creating a sense of excitement to dive back into my work.
What's your go-to quote when you're lacking motivation?
I absolutely love quotes and have a collection of them that I hoard and pull out whenever I need a boost of motivation. Some of my favorites are:
- "Whether you think that you can or think you can't, you're right."
- "Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good."
- "Where there is life, there is hope."
Where can people find out more?
To learn more about Babaloo Jewelry, you can visit my website at www.babaloojewelry.com. I am most active on Instagram, where I frequently post updates and share insights about my designs. You can find me there at @babaloojewelry. Additionally, I'm finally getting started on TikTok, so stay tuned and follow me @babaloojewelry for more exciting content.