The life and times of Sacha Pilgrim have never been expected. She’s always taken chances and entered arenas that some may see as uncommon for someone like her. So when she became a Navigation Officer, no one close to her was surprised. Then somewhere down the road, she needed to field her creativity and after her homemade jewelry was a hit with loved ones, she knew she’d found a new path and thus Sassy Sacha Jewelry was born. We talked to Sacha about getting started, the parallels of her former and current careers, and more!
Kendra: It’s not uncommon for us to find a new path years after another career but your story started way off from jewelry and creativity as a Navigation Officer. Do you ever find that there are parallels between the two, or perhaps ways you pull from the past in terms of workmanship, work ethic, etc.?
Sacha Pilgrim: I have always had a love of art and creativity. I feel that desire is part of my being- both my parents are artistic in their own way. My career choices have been unique and non-traditional, especially for a woman. There are not many women in the maritime industry and I feel that pushed me even harder to succeed. My jewelry creation parallels my career as a marine officer in the sense that you truly have to work hard to reach your goals. Having a handmade business is a real challenge- and I love challenges
Kendra: What initially drew you towards jewelry?
Sacha Pilgrim: Oddly enough, it kind of happened by accident. I had been trying to find a way to express myself creatively. At the time I was working a stressful job as a manager at an airport and I needed an outlet, a way to distress at the end of the day. I was researching the costs and portability of getting a kiln (which isn’t practical when living in an apartment) and I discovered polymer clay. I then decided to make my family and friends jewelry for Christmas. They loved their jewelry! But the best part was that I fell in love with designing and making jewelry; from there Sassy Sacha Jewelry was born.
Kendra: As a Navigation Officer, you got to travel and you’ve noted your pieces are often inspired by the world you’ve gotten to take in. What place would you say has been the most influential to your design aesthetic?
Sacha Pilgrim: That’s a tough one! Honestly, I have so much love for the diversity of the world and its people. I feel it is a combination of people, places, sights, and sounds that inspire my pieces. For example, my earth tone fall pieces are inspired by the beauty of the leaves changing colors along the Cape Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. My colorful house pieces are inspired by Jelly Bean Row in St. John’s, Newfoundland and a cute neighborhood called La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My more abstract vibrant pieces are a mix of my creative energy and feelings and memories I have of traveling.
Kendra: We must mention that everything is handcrafted. Do you feel that gives every piece a unique stamp?
Sacha Pilgrim: Each piece is completely handmade and therefore unique in itself. I can recreate most of my pieces but there may be slight differences due to the nature of them being handmade. My process starts with molding and shaping the clay and then adding designs or textures. After baking, it’s the fun part. I use vibrant alcohol inks to bring my pieces to life.
Kendra: Growing up I was obsessed with What Not to Wear and I remember they’d often say how a pair of statement earrings or a necklace could elevate an ensemble. How does it feel making pieces that will eventually go on to take a customer’s outfit to the next level? Like the sort of icing on the cake.
Sacha Pilgrim: My goal is to add that pop of color and statement to every woman’s wardrobe. When I receive a positive review or message from my customers- it makes my day.
Kendra: As we head into 2020, what are your plans as far as the business is concerned? Adding new pieces? Lines?
Sacha Pilgrim: Grow, grow, grow! I would love to elevate my business to the point where I don’t have to work a 9-5 to pay the bills. I am constantly adding new pieces and I am hoping to expand my exposure by selling in more stores and at more shows.