Amanda Dimova liked to make things as a kid. While her friends aspired to be singing stars or ballerinas, she was inspired by the hands-on creativity that she saw in her parents.
As college students, Amanda’s parents started making homemade children’s shoes out of their apartment. They used scissors and hand-sewn needlework. Like other self-made Americans who we love to champion, they eventually expanded to a 20,000 square foot business in Brownwood, TX.
Vinca Gets Its Start
With a heritage like this, Amanda believed that she too could build a business from the ground up. Though her creative interests began with fashion design, she began making jewelry out of the leather scraps from her parents’ shoe factory. She founded an Austin jewelry company called Vinca, after a flower that her parents used to sew onto their children’s shoes.
As she fired up her company, Amanda created a catalog and product samples, and learned what consumers wanted through trial and error. She wore her own pieces to raise awareness, and sold by consignment through local stores like Parts and Labor and Blue Elephant Boutique.
An Investment Turns the Tables
Three years into Vinca and working with leather, Amanda’s eyes were opened to other possibilities when she saw a laser cutter in action at the Maker Faire. Amanda invested in her own laser cutter, which turned out to be an extremely versatile machine. In fact, if you visit her shop, you’ll see wooden shelves that were all created with the use of a laser cutter.
Vinca transitioned from creating from leather, to working with wood and acrylic. The laser cutter revolutionized her business. She didn’t have to sell piecemeal via consignment anymore, but was able to fill wholesale orders.
Outsourcing was never a temptation. Amanda wanted to make things in her own locally-based factory, in order to have full control. “In the U.S., there are lower shipping costs and less turnaround [time],” Amanda added during our time together.
900 Odd – Yet Attractive – Pieces and Counting
Whenever she’s conceiving a new jewelry design, Amanda starts by sketching her idea in her sketchbook. “My sketchbook looks like it has little kid drawings in it. I write in words like, ‘Put this there!’ and add Post-It notes.” Once Amanda is satisfied with a sketch, she inputs it into her CorelDRAW software, which communicates with the laser cutting machine.
It’s tough for Amanda to pick her favorite from Vinca’s 900 pieces, but she’s biased toward her new ice cream sandwich necklace, super power rings, her crows necklace, and her lips and eyes necklace. From her customers’ perspective, her fox earrings have been extremely popular over the past year since they were released.
When we asked her to name an artist she’s inspired by, Amanda had to think for a while. She eventually mentioned the work of Salvador Dali, but not before saying that her one of her biggest inspirations is the Discovery Channel show Blue Planet.
“I do appreciate a good weird thing,” Amanda stated matter of factly. “The whole way things are is inspiring. I tend to look at the construction of displays in stores more than I look at the products displayed.”
With six years as an Austin jewelry business owner under her belt, Amanda has gained perspective on what it’s taken for her to succeed. “It takes a little bit of luck and stubbornness. You have to ignore the things you fail at and keep going.” As an example, Amanda told us that she once unsuccessfully tried her hand at toy making and found that it wasn’t profitable.
Learn More About Vinca
You can find Vinca products on the company website and other sales sites like Scoutmob, Fab and Nylon Magazine. Amanda’s work is also sold in Austin at Blue Elephant Boutique, Creatures Boutique, leighelena, A Town Austin Lifestyle Store, Terra Toys, The Burlap Bag and SparkleKids. Vinca will be travelling to the New York International Gift Fair in January 2013.
How do you like to represent Austin with the things you wear?