Believe it or not… some people actually do inspire me. As I have made clear to my readers, I am against the idea of people with disabilities in general (and blindness in particular) being viewed as inspirational for simply existing and going about our days. That being said, I DO feel inspired, and empowered, by people who blaze their own paths through entrepreneurship, creativity, and/or empowering others. As such, I am starting a monthly series on this blog – calling it the Empowered series – featuring an entrepreneur or artist and/or business owner who is blind or with other disabilities. Initially, I had planned this for the 15th of the month, but my first featured artiste is expanding her business through a group fund raiser, and I wanted to give her work some exposure…
Laura Legendary: Elegant Insights
Laura is the driving force behind Elegant Insights Braille Creations. After the sudden death of her husband only months after their marriage, she received a “worry stone” which had the word “survivor” engraved on it. On the other side, the same word was written in braille. The seed of inspiration was planted, leading to a years-long search for companies that provided brailled products that were also fashionable. Nothing quite fit the bill, so Laura started Elegant Insights five years ago, creating necklaces, bracelets, and charms that incorporated braille words like “love”, “cherish” and “hope”, or a customer can customize their own piece.
A few Fun Facts
– Laura likes beautiful things that sparkle; one of her favorite things to work with is copper because of its shine. She remembers the sight and the “warm glow” of it.
– Not only does Elegant Insights create necklaces and bracelets, but purse charms and cane charms that provide some audible as well as visual style to standard white canes and purses and backpacks.
– One of Laura’s favorite things to do is find new sources for her stones, findings, and components.
– If she had to pick a favorite stone to work with, Laura admits that she’s partial to rose quartz and “anything purple.”
How she Does It
Laura has an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Right now she does not have any vision, but she does have visual memory, and from a young age she has had a strong sense of fashion which hasn’t changed with the loss of her vision. She sources beads, findings and gemstones from a variety of sources; it’s one of her favorite parts of the creative process. Along with a small staff, she makes all necklaces, bracelets, and charms by hand, using standard jewelry-making tools. Everything is made in-house, including the braille components, and all staff have workshops or workbenches in their homes. Much of Elegant Insights’ business is done online, but a few times a year they are featured at trade shows and conventions.
An opportunity has been presented to be featured through Amazon’s Handmade platform. This will greatly increase the exposure of Elegant Insights Braille Creations. In order to expand to meet the expected new demand for product, a crowdfunding page has been created. The funds raised will go to purchasing extra tools, supplies and findings, and hiring and training new staff. Laura would appreciate any donation or further exposure to help her novel business expand.
Even though I have had a hard time with the “inspiration” angle of things, I have a hard time denying that I am inspired by Laura’s creativity, novel products, and willingness to take risks. I appreciate Laura’s willingness to answer all of my nosy questions. Visit her website, support her work, share her insight… and look at all the pretty things!