Interview with Kathy Robinson, Owner and Artist of Maidens Treasures
By D.A. Fox
I believe that honesty is the cornerstone of good business. I see designers selling what they claim is Venetian glass or Swarovski crystals, but they are really Czech glass and crystals. It pays to know your designer is well-versed in collecting.
- Kathy Robinson, Maidens Treasures
Kathy Robinson is the owner and designer behind Maidens Treasures
a jewelry and hair accessory business based near San Diego, that specializes in gorgeous gemstones and vintage Swarovski crystals! Kathy uses the highest-quality components from around the world. Every design is original, hand-crafted by Kathy herself, and are only available from The Maiden's Treasures.
Kathy was kind enough to agree to an interview with the Loom.
Kathy had been making jewelry for herself and friends when a family member suggested that she start selling her designs. Since she already owned a graphic design company, starting a new business was an easy thing for her to do. Kathy was selling jewelry under her own name prior to the official establishment of Maidens Treasures
in 1995. Kathy says, I added hairsticks to my repertoire after seeing not-very-well-made sticks in a boutique. I thought, I can do that better and at a more reasonable price. I started with home shows and Ebay, then add Arts & Crafts Fairs, and progressed to creating my own website. I am in negotiations with two department stores to carry my jewelry line, but my hairsticks will stay exclusively on my website and on Ebay.
Kathys designs are unique and beautiful. I asked her how she came up with her hair stick and fork designs and she replied, I seek out gemstones and vintage crystals that appeal to me and hope they appeal to my clientele as well. My more opulent designs are inspired by the Renaissance and Medieval times in history. Myths and legends have fascinated me since I was a child, so I seek quality components in those themes as well. My jewelry is often considered renaissance in style, not in a technical sense, but because of the extensive use of sterling silver or gold.
Her inspiration comes from various sources like listening to music while in her studio as she designs. She also said, I may play different movies when making jewelry - they get me in "the mood" - Elizabeth, Braveheart, Legend, House of Mirth - you get the idea!
When I asked Kathy who did all of her woodwork, she explained that she
did. I purchase some of my traditional sticks pre-cut and customize them for my designs. I carve and finish the hairforks myself.
Kathy, you have some gorgeous sticks, but do you ever take orders for "one of a kind" designs?
Custom design is fun and challenging. Many women have asked for designs for special occasions and I am always happy to create something special just for them. I also make earrings, bracelets and necklaces that match my hairsticks. Custom designs to match hairsticks are always welcome. Earrings and bracelets are the most common request.
(Loom contributer Madeleine, wearing custom designed and matched Maiden's Treasures hairsticks and earrings)
You have some really special and rare crystals. How long have you been collecting?
I have been collecting vintage Swarovski® crystals for almost 10 years. I have many in my collection that I cant bring myself to part with. Collecting is a tricky business. I believe that honesty is the cornerstone of good business. I see designers selling what they claim is Venetian glass or Swarovski crystals, but they are really Czech glass and crystals. It pays to know your designer is well-versed in collecting. All of my designs are guaranteed to be created with genuine semi-precious and precious gemstones, vintage Swarovski crystals, vintage European glass, sterling silver and 22k gold or gold vermeil.
(My own MT sticks, with rare "Sun" Swarovski)
How sturdy are your sticks? Is there any special care that needs to be taken?
My hairsticks are very sturdy. The beaded section is especially strong. Id seen women wearing hairsticks with the beaded ends bent over, which looks so sad, that I made it a priority to make my beaded sections very strong. It is wise to weave the hairsticks carefully into your hair and treat them with care. Forcing sticks into very thick hair may snap the wooden tip. This has only happened with maybe 5 sticks out of about 500, but it is something to take care with. I also recommend not forcing wooden sticks into wet hair for the same reason.
As far as care for the sticks, hairsticks and hairforks, like other fine jewelry, should be stored in a closed or sealed environment to help prevent oxidation of the precious metals. If you like to display them and they oxidize too much, you can gently polish the metals with a Sunshine cloth, a special cloth made to clean sterling silver without harming the metal. Dont use liquid polishes made for silverware they are too harsh and will harm gems and crystals. My hairforks are sealed and usually do not need to be oiled. The traditional sticks do not require oiling.
Are your sticks sold in stores or only through your website?
I only sell my hairsticks through my website and occasionally on Ebay. I made this decision because retail markup would price my hairsticks in the ridiculous $50-60 range.
Kathy, how long is your hair?
My hair is a little more than halfway down my back. I am a California blonde.
Laughing she says, Oops! I mean I am a bottle blonde. I am in the middle of growing out bangs - AGAIN!
Do you find that your hair accessories are gentle and safe for long hair?
I wear my hairsticks and hairforks all the time, and find them to be very gentle on the hair. I recommend removing them when playing sports, showering or laying down.
I can certainly agree to that! I broke a hairstick once when I decide to just lay down for a few minutes!
Do you have a favorite pair of sticks or other accessory?
My favorite pair of hairsticks? Thats a difficult question. I love my pair with Madeira Topaz Swarovski crystals, which is my favorite Swarovski color. My second choice is a pair with Siam red crystals which are very hard to find now in large sizes. And my favorite gemstone is amethyst - so anything with amethyst makes my favorites list.
When looking for good quality sticks, what should buyers look for?
Good quality hairsticks will have strong beaded tops that do not easily bend. The wood will be smooth to the touch and glide easily into your hair. Sterling silver and gold vermeil are much higher quality metals than silverplate which is usually brass or pewter. Dont spend a lot of money if you are buying silverplated metals.
Well, I can certainly vouch for the quality of your hairsticks, owning some myself! Not only are your sticks incredibly beautiful, they are gift packaged in such a lovely way. When you open your box from the Maidens Treasures,
it really is like opening up a treasure.
(Loom Moderator, Martine, wearing MT custom made hair sticks)
If you'd like to contact Kathy to place and order you can reach her at: email@example.com
Be sure to also visit her webpage and see more of her beautiful designs! The Maidens Treasures
Kathy, I want to thank you for spending some time with us here on the Loom. Its been a joy to get a glimpse into your life! And if you ever find yourself in need of some tips or encouragement for growing out those bangs
be sure to come visit us at the Loom!
17/33/35+ - Bangs at 15 inches - Type 2CMii (3B underneath layer) Somewhat fine, slightly wavy (with curls on the underneath layer), light brown with gold and red highlights. To see more pictures, click on the gallery link found here:
You can also find me here: The Long Hair Loom
"Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, they will become your character. Develop your character for it becomes your destiny." -John MacArthur
Aubrey Organics S&C
Oils: Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Virgin Oil de Coco Creme, Monoi, Castor, Meadowfoam Seed & essential oils
Shea Butter (from which I make my own leave-in)
MP Popular Mix Brush
Wood and Horn combs