We had the good fortune of connecting with Clicia Huang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Clicia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I grew up with my parents always saying that the only regrets we have are the ones from the opportunities not taken. This belief let us to move around quite a lot, from Brazil to Equador, later USA, Taiwan and China. Having to start over, learn a new culture and language, adjusting to change and lean to create a life eventually became the foundation that led me to start my business. When you are surrounded by different people, cultures, values and expectations, we often feel the need to conform, and over the years I realized that I did not matter how much I tried, I would always be different. My business is a celebration of each individual’s uniqueness. We strive to create jewelry that reflects who our customers are, incorporate their stories, experiences and personal style. Almost every piece is made to order, and we work on them diligently until our customers are fully satisfied. In today’s society, where people are used to immediate gratification, the need to fit in, and be part of something, we are telling our customers that it is ok to step back, take your time and figure out who you are, what you want and how you want it. When someone is working with Clicia’s Designs to create a piece, they are not walking into a jewelry store, buying something shiny, and wearing it out the door. They are joining a process of self discovery, that will lead us to a finished piece that tells their story.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Clicia’s Designs started because as a jewelry lover, I wanted pieces that weren’t cookie cutter. At the time I was living in China and knew I had access to cheaper labor and factories that would be willing to work on a small scale and custom design and with a focus on quality. Through my connections in Brazil, I had access to amazing stones of great cut and quality. So I combined both and started doing pieces for myself and a close group of friends. What I soon realized was that there were many women out there who were just like me. Women who loved the creative process, specially if it meant that they would have something unique that told their stories. It started out as me taking orders to my friends and using my language and skills to translate what they wanted to the factories. As word spread, I realized I had the opportunity to provide a very unique experience to jewelry buying. Women often see jewelry as something that is given or passed on to them, and with that, I realized that for most of us, our jewelry tells part of our story. We specialized in custom pieces, specifically the ones that are being redesigned, incorporating as much of the original piece into the new ones, hence keeping the story behind the original piece, while updating it to reflect our customer’s current style.
Our biggest challenge is always to develop our customer’s trust and understand their vision. We are used to walking into a store, picking up what catches our eye and walk out with it. Our process is more of an understanding who our clients are, what they like and the story behind the purchase. Once we understand what they want, we must ensure that every step of the process is getting closer to their vision for the piece. Many times we had to go back to the drawing board, after spending countless hours working on a design, Over the years we learned that the final product may not look anything like the original idea, and along the way we had to change and adapt to incorporate all the requirements and meet our client’s vision. Just like life, it is a challenging process, but extremely gratifying once we deliver a piece that brings joy and is exactly what our customers wanted.
We strive to create unique pieces that become conversation pieces, and if you ask any of our customers, “what’s the story behind your piece” I’m sure you will learn a lot about who they are and their lives.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I moved to California after living in Asia for almost 20 years, and often have friends from all over the world come and visit. While we are surrounded by amazing restaurants, shows, interesting places to go and visit and stay busy, what I love the most about living here is the natural beauty and the fact that we have so many amazing spots to go out, enjoy our day without even having to spend a dime. Our usual itinerary involves an early morning drive through PCH up to a hike at the Top of the World in Laguna. There are very few things I love more than just driving up and down PCH and looking at the amazing scenery, houses and small beaches. After our hike, we would go to to Laguna for brunch in one of the awesome cafes in the areas., and of course, a walk around the beach to reenergize and enjoy the ocean. Duffy boat rides in Balboa, followed by sunsets in the beach are among the usual must do on our itinerary.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My business started because I was surrounded by women who took upon themselves to be my ambassadors and share my work with other women. Until recently, Clicia’s Designs never relied on social media, advertisement or websites. We operated exclusively on personal recommendations, and that speaks volume about how women are able to support each other to succeed. Jackie who is one of my dearest friends, has been along the way and she is key to Clicia’s Designs success. She always challenged me with the most difficult pieces, details and ideas. Some of them so complicated that it would take us months to get past the drawing part. We have made jewelry that started from a picture of a traffic light she saw in one of her trips, or using the colors she liked on the wrapping of a toilet paper. Her relentless thirst for uniqueness made me better at what I did, and to this day, every piece that she wears, is the definition of a “conversation piece”, which in turn always brought new customers. We started out as perfect strangers brought together by our love of gems and something unique, and through the years, we developed a friendship that goes beyond so much more than two girls playing with jewelry.