Quality geeky jewelry is hard to find. RockLove founder and designer Allison Hourcade Cimino has made it easier to show off the love of your fandom with her high fashion but affordable jewelry lines that include some of the most popular fandoms today including Guardians of the Galaxy, Firefly, and Star Trek. I was given an opportunity to check out a few pieces from her Guardians of the Galaxy line, and all I have to say is I AM GROOT.
My favorite piece is the Guardians Sterling Groot Branch Ring. I posted it up on my Facebook page and it didn’t take long for my fellow Groot lovers to be asking for their own. The “i am groot” inscription is a subtle and lovely addition to the piece. My second favorite item is the sliding Groot necklace that is petite and cute just like baby Groot.
For the guys who want to add a touch of class to their evening attire, the Awesome Mix Vol. 2 Cassette Cufflinks will have you hooked on that feeling. The cufflinks are made of distressed bronze and look just like the Awesome Mix cassette from the movie.
I was given a chance to ask Allison a few questions about what it takes to get in touch with her inner fandom and what our young readers who want to learn to design should do to make it a reality.
GeekMom: Your “i am groot” ring started quite the stir on my Facebook when I showed it off. What kind of research goes into creating something from a fandom like Guardians of the Galaxy?
Allison Hourcade Cimino: I’m thrilled fans are responding so positively to the Groot Branch Ring–it was something I personally wanted to wear but was unsure if it felt Groot enough. Licenses often prefer items to be literal, whereas I like to design “inspired by” references packed with nods and sentiments. It’s difficult when making any product because there’s no real way to research beyond your own appreciation for the fandom.
GM: Do you have a muse or something that helps inspire you when you hit a designer block?
HC: Because RockLove is such a small business and I wear a lot of (all the?) hats, mostly it’s just burnout. Like a Zippo lighter that won’t catch. If I don’t have the time to take an actual trip away from the world, to visit my cabin upstate for an unplugged reading bonanza, then I like to watch movies with the same tone. A good Disney marathon or serial killer binge often cures what ails me.
GM: What is your favorite of the fandoms you work with? Which one excites you the most?
HC: Fandoms are brilliant because they brighten and dim depending on our mood and what’s going on in our life. In light moods, Doctor Who is my favorite, but when I’m working hard, trying to conduct business with integrity and diligence, I’m all about Star Trek. Autumn always brings about Harry Potter… I suppose because it’s back to school? Firefly is forever, while new interests pop up; I’ve seen every single episode of Bones multiple times but forget to lump it in with my fandom favorites.
GM: Speaking of Harry Potter, do you have any plans to work within the Harry Potter universe? If you could design a piece for the wizarding world, what comes to mind first?
HC: I WISHHHH… it’s at the top of my list! I have a TON of ideas, but have to keep mum about them so no one else makes them first!
The thing about licensing is that it often requires a large advance–moolah that you pay up front in order to work on that property. RockLove is a small company, so that sort of expense is prohibitive; I typically hold out for a franchise that is looking to commission an artist for a premium product. Another challenge is that not everyone gets to play–the property has to protect its current licensees and avoid over-saturation of that category. There’s an uphill obstacle course to any licensed collection, but that also makes it extra special when a franchise is looking to collaborate with an independent artist.
GM: You’re on a boat having a fabulous time when suddenly it smashes, unceremoniously, into a desert island. Somehow your friends and the ship’s crew have teleported off without you, leaving you stranded. You look around the boat and find some food, water, and a backpack. What do you hope is in the backpack?
HC: Okay now, what you likely don’t know about me is that I’m pretty rugged. Camp in the woods with a roll of toilet paper and a hammock, my dogs to scare off the frequently visiting bears. So I’m hoping in the backpack is a good bowie knife and some paracord, but I’ll also settle for toothpaste and a paperback novel by Preston & Childs.
GM: What advice do you have for our readers who are hoping to break into the design world, especially our younger readers? What kind of soft skills should they work on developing to ensure success?
HC: Designing is only a part of the process, so be sure to study the execution. If you want to design shoes, shadow your local cobbler… if you want to make jewelry, take wax carving and fabrication classes. Painters used to make their own pigments to truly understand their colors. Tutorials and questions are wonderful, but to truly learn your craft, and then excel, go out and get your hands dirty! Be rugged!
Special thank you to Allison for this fun and insightful interview in jewelry awesomeness and congratulations on her 10-year anniversary! Make sure to check out her fandom collections over on RockLove Jewelry!
Disclaimer: GeekMom was given a review sample.