We had the good fortune of connecting with Ilse Almazan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ilse, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It honestly started as an experiment. I’ve always been a painter, but have enjoyed trying out new mediums. One day I had an idea for some earrings I wanted to make for myself out of clay, which developed into ideas for resin earrings. It organically grew, and for the first time in a long time, I felt new ideas and excitement for making new things. I realized the potential for a business as more and more people began asking me about my earrings, and I slowly began developing marketing tactics.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My artistic career began with studying studio arts at San Diego state university, where my plans were to eventually make a living as a visual artist with an emphasis in painting. It was difficult for me to come to terms with the idea of making a living as a creative because I had always excelled in academics and had been pushed towards a “financially stable, real career”. But deciding on a major or envisioning myself in a specific career was difficult and I couldn’t really decide on what I wanted to do. Once I graduated I had several part time jobs all in customer service, and I’d make art in my spare time. As I said previously, making jewelry developed as an experimental hobby, since I have always been focused on painting and drawing. It developed organically and grew as a business in as natural a way as I could hope for. There have been learning curves, as I had no experience in this medium, and have never had my own business. However, I think that most small business owners would say the same, as well as how a small business is an ever-changing, evolving, learning venture. I have learned to trust that things work out when you work hard and put in the effort and learning. I have also learned to accept that there is no right or wrong career, and its totally fine to have a part time “real job” while you work in your passion job as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
NOTE- these would all be ideal days if COVID wasn’t a thing and everything was open!
MONDAY- Balboa park and museums! I love seeing seasonal exhibits at the SDMA, as well as the socially aware exhibits at the Art Institute. there’s a ton of hidden nooks to sit and lounge in at Balboa as well as the more populated main areas.
TUESDAY- movies at the Hazard Center theatre in mission valley in the morning; they are always pretty empty before noon and have $7 tickets almost all the time. Followed by ramen at Menya Ultra in Convoy; they are open 5 days a week for 8 hours a day and always have a line out the door even if you go early, but they make their soft boiled eggs taste like melted cheese somehow and its some of the best ramen i’ve ever had.
WEDNESDAY- Coffee from James coffee in Little Italy, then another museum. MOCA in downtown always has really interesting work and odds are if you go you’ll be the only visitor in the museum which is always nice for taking your time viewing everything. Sandwiches from Mona Lisa deli in Little Italy afterwards, and maybe some ice cream from salt and straw.
THURSDAY-Golden Hill chill day; my neighborhood has a lot of chill local things to do like laying around in parks, or taking my pups to the Grape Street dog park. Not to mention some of the best coffee around at Dark Horse, which is right next to Mutual Friend; one of the best artisanal ice cream spots!
FRIDAY- A hike in the Elfin Forest in Escondido; a bit of a drive to get there, but there is a beautiful river and little pond to be lazy around. Then treat ourselves to some really good drinks and vegan food at Kindred, just a few blocks away from where I live.
SATURDAY- A day at the beach at the dog beach section in Coronado. The crowds aren’t huge during the off-season and there’s dogs everywhere! plus there’s a liquor store deli a few blocks from the beach that has really good sandwiches. End the night at Aero Club which is a really dive bar by the airport that also has really good wood-fired pizza.
SUNDAY- go down to the South Bay Area of San Diego where I grew up. Breakfast at Aunt Emmas pancake house, followed by a walk through the Tijuana estuary which is literally my parents backyard. Lunch at one of the best torta ahogada trucks, which are originally from Guadalajara but these are just as good. and then end the week with drinks as Bar Pink in north park, or Space Bar in city heights.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I feel so thankful and humbled whenever ANYONE shares or purchases my pieces. But I am extra thankful for my partner, Jose, who has helped me at every pop up and shares every single thing I make on social media. I am also very thankful to my friend Alex, who is the owner of a local shop called Simon Simon. She was the first business owner to ask to carry my products, and also the first to invite me to a pop up.