At a craft fair in Wicker Park, in a small white tent joined with a hundred other small white tents sits a bevy of crystals, delicate brass chains, bundles of sage, and glass bottles full of good vibes and essential oils, amongst it all sits a self proclaimed earth mama and creator of each piece of hand crafted jewelry, Ty Bramwell.
Bramwell, 22, single handedly created Ebb and Flow Jewelry based in Iowa, a business based on the desire to share beauty, positivity and crystals with as many people as possible.
“I like things that look natural and things that are practical. I want my pieces to be accessible. It’s about sharing for me,” said Bramwell. Most of her jewelry and body products range in price from about $15 to $35, with a few specialized pieces that are more expensive, but all still under $80.
After stumbling upon the power of a crystal at Shangri La, a music festival in southern Minnesota, she began to collect more crystals and then share her them.
“I kind of thought it was all bogus. I’m not a judgmental person but I kind of just shut it out of my view,” she said of her first thoughts on crystals. Bramwell never expected to be drawn to the catalyst that would change the direction of her life when she followed her friend to the festival A small piece of quartz changed her direction and started her on the journey of making Ebb and Flow a full-time, full-energy online business. When she found that first piece of quartz she thought, “I don’t know why but I know I need this. And I borrowed $15 to have that piece of quartz and I just kind of had a love affair with it and got into [jewelry making] progressively more and more after that.”
Bramwell has making jewelry since she was a young girl at camp making bracelets out of beads and ribbon, but she only made her full time career about a year and a half ago. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 2014 with a creative writing degree, she decided to change her direction and started designing jewelry to sell. Most of her skills have been self-taught besides the odd soldering class at a nearby college.
Bramwell describes her style of jewelry as “earth mama.” Her style has also been described as gypsy, bohemian and hippie jewelry. “I just like natural things, I just like things to be what they are,” said Bramwell.
Although many of Bramwell’s pieces are sold on Etsy, a website dedicated to selling hand made items and vintage finds, she spends much of her year on the craft fair circuit. She travels all over the country from one fair to another selling her wares, it is no wonder she has acquired the nickname “the gypsy.” Owning a business based online may not be the newest way to sell products but it does have its own set of perks, and set backs. With thousands of other shops on Etsy and orders constantly coming in, Bramwell stands out by forming a relationship with the customer, even if they cannot speak face to face.
“She makes jewelry that you can’t find anywhere else. With each purchase she includes a personal note and that makes me feel very appreciated. I know she values me as a customer, you don’t find that often,” said Jodi Kennedy, 31, a long-time customer of Ebb and Flow, and designer behind Jo Kitsch on Etsy.
But when she is not communicating with customers, filling online orders and making jewelry, she is on the road. Bramwell travels around the Midwest, East Coast and West Coast for different craft fairs and events. She will often travel with the Renegade Craft Fair, often seen expanding down Division Street in Wicker Park. Her schedule gets inundated around the holiday designing and making pieces to take on the road and sell online for the usual holiday rush. Then once January rolls around she has a couple months to recuperate after the holidays and begin making new pieces.
When designing so much all the time creativity can run low, but not for Bramwell. “I don’t force myself to come up with new designs, I kind of just let them flow,” she said.
Since the holidays are right around the corner Bramwell heads off to San Francisco for Renegade’s annual holiday market. With new jewelry designs and new body products including the recently released Goddess Dust, an all-natural body shimmer made of natural fragrances and crushed mica powder, she is set to share her good vibes and positive energy with the world.