Wingostarr Jewelry is made up of Mallory Wingo and Jason Self. They’ve been together for seven years, have a 4-year-old little girl and have been making a living off of their jewelry designs for two years. They make electro-formed and wire-wrapped jewelry together full time in their small home in Georgia and have amassed a social following of over 130,000 people. Their business strategy is developed from a drive to connect with their customers and their following, promote the businesses and makers they love and share their passion for art, color and jewelry design.
The name, “Wingostarr Jewelry” came from a friend of Mallory’s. She gave Mallory the nickname “Wingostarr” by combining her last name and “Ringostarr,” and Mallory loved it, so she decided to make it the business name. We sat down with Mallory and Jason to learn more about their blossoming business.
How did you become interested in making jewelry?
I was always interested in jewelry since a young age. My mom bought me beads when I was 6 years old, and I would bead necklaces all the time. When I was pregnant, I was let go from my job and I made it my goal to be able to find a way to stay home with our daughter once she was born. Once I made the decision to follow my passion and began to promote myself on social media, my small hobby business grew rapidly.
Jason was working an IT job that he did not enjoy at this time. We decided to sell our large home, get rid of any vehicles we had on payment plans and downsize to a new house with half the bills. As soon as we moved, I asked Jason if he would like to quit his job and make jewelry with me full time. He was already making jewelry as a hobby because he enjoyed it, we decided to take a leap of faith!
Do you practice any other forms of art?
We both paint. Our styles are folk art and abstract. We painted together in our free time for a few years before we ever made jewelry together.
How does where you live affect your jewelry making?
Living in the south gives us the ability to grow a wide variety of flowers and clovers that we can use in our jewelry. I also think the weather here provides us with a backdrop for very colorful photos!
Describe your design style in four words.
Nature-inspired. Unique. Eclectic. Love. Intentional. (This was a hard question to answer!)
What processes of jewelry making do you work in? Do you have a favorite?
We collectively work with wire wrapping, resin, stamping, electro-forming, beading and metalsmithing. Stamping is a favorite for Jason.
“It is like tattooing metal; previously as a tattoo collector, I had a dream of being a tattoo artist,” Jason says. “Stamping came naturally to me.”
Beading and wrapping is a favorite for me. I find it to be very meditative and soothing. It gives me the ability to put a lot of love and thought into a piece with total control of the outcome.
You’re very active on social media. Does this affect your sales?
Absolutely. We drive a large majority of our sales through promoting our art on Instagram and Facebook. Being active on social media is imperative today for any small business that wants to drive online sales. Instagram was a true blessing to us from the beginning. If you know how to use it correctly, it can be great free marketing. It takes work, but it’s fun!
We’re a obsessed with looking at your Instagram. Your life is
so colorful. Is this intentional?
Our life is very colorful. It is not intentional; it is just natural. We love bright colors. We even painted our house bright green and got a vintage VW bus in the same color to match. I would say that everything on our Instagram is a true reflection of who we are. Everything there comes from a genuine place, which I think is one of the keys to success on social media. We led a super colorful life way before Instagram.
How did you amass such a large and loyal following on Instagram and Etsy?
Our first big break was when Lynyrd Skynyrd shared a piece of our jewelry that was inspired by them on their social media pages. It was a simple necklace with hand-stamping that we had been making for a few weeks with barely any sales. Without any warning, they shared it, and it gained over 20k likes and thousands of shares! Someone linked it to our Etsy shop in the top comments, and within an hour we sold hundreds. To this day, we still sell that piece on a regular basis!
We also had a few other large yoga and artist accounts share our work; this helped us immensely. Besides that, I would accredit our success to being myself, being original, promoting others and hosting various giveaways.
You recently posted a photo of your electro-formed Angel Aura jewelry pieces, and it received over 10,000 likes. That’s over 550% more likes than your average! How to you think that photo was able to get such great engagement?
I think it may be… 1. The brightness of the photo, 2. People love Angel Aura, I believe it’s trending right now in the crystal community, 3. The time I posted, 4. The number of people who liked it within the first 60 seconds… If everyone who had it in their feed like it instead of scrolling over it then Instagram pushes you into a higher percentage of people’s feeds automatically and if it keeps getting likes then it ends up on the Popular / Search page on Instagram !
We have been using our Rio electro-forming equipment for two years now and love the results. These Angel Aura pieces were created using epoxy clay resin and over eight hours of electro-forming with Midas solution for a smooth and bright copper finish.
We love your #DreamcatcherFriday features. Where did you get the idea to do this?
I mentioned in a previous answer that we gained a lot of followers by helping others. As our following grew, we started receiving lots of things from other artists and small companies wanting to be featured on our page. Something we received often were dreamcatchers. I have always loved dreamcatchers and it was so fun to start collecting them!
We have a large wall right when you walk into our house, and we thought it would be fun to fill the entire wall with only dreamcatchers. The #DreamcatcherFriday idea caught on quickly and, ever since, we’ve been getting new dreamcatchers every week to promote. It not only builds our collection, but it also helps others to get noticed, too!
Do you ever feel overwhelmed balancing business, jewelry making, a family, a strong social media presence ..?
We often feel overwhelmed, but we are very thankful. We know how hard it can be to survive on being an artist. We are very surprised at where our life path has taken us together and excited to see what the future holds. We are very humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be interviewed and featured by your company.