Blog » A Diamond in the Rough
Noelle Munoz had a successful sales job with a Charlotte architecture firm when the entrepreneur decided she'd rather follow her passion.
“When I was working in sales I thought I would be able to get into some creative design, but within sales there really wasn’t that creative outlet that I realized I needed,” Munoz recalls. “I realized, man, I really want to do something I went to school for…I missed using my hands to make something.”
Munoz’s love for making jewelry began many years ago. Texas-born and Virginia-bred, she went into her undergraduate career as a student in Virginia Commonwealth University’s pre-med program. After coming to the conclusion that that track wasn’t right for her, Munoz recalled how much she enjoyed a high school arts and crafts course.
“I took this class as an elective and the teacher taught us legit ways to make jewelry,” Munoz says. “I remembered how much I loved making things. I love biology, too, and I like to help people, but when you’re 18, at least for me, being a pre-med student was a little overwhelming.”
Munoz switched her major from biology to crafts within the fine arts program at VCU. Some people would argue this wasn’t a smart decision. “Unfortunately, crafts gets such a bad reputation,” Munoz says. “A lot of people think it’s just crayons and glue sticks, but there’s a lot more to it than people realize, especially with jewelry making.”
The summer before her senior year at VCU, Munoz moved down to Charlotte for an internship with the architecture firm she would wind up working for for seven years. This was the same summer she met her husband.
While moving to Charlotte was the obvious choice for relocation as a post-graduate, it took Munoz several years to decide that she wanted to go on a different career path. Munoz launched Noelle Munoz Jewelry in late 2010, but the business has only been her full-time occupation for three months.
Munoz’s jewelry ranges in style from dangly, delicate earrings to bold necklaces and rings.
“I definitely like making rings and bracelets the best, but I really love to make bigger, bolder signature pieces,” she says.
Because Munoz and her family are originally from Texas, she considers much of her jewelry to be inspired by her Texan roots. She especially loves working with turquoise.
“I primarily work with sterling silver and I’m very much influenced by the zigzag, bolder patterns you see in Texas architecture like motif work and floral designs. I love the linear quality.”
Though leaving marketing and sales was the right decision, getting a personal business started certainly has its pros and cons. “Now that I’m full time, I had this expectation of how things would go in my head, 'once I’m full time with my business I’ll know exactly what to do,'” Munoz says. "But it’s so different from what I thought it would be. I spent so much time in a career where people told me what to do; I was always under someone else’s direction. Now I represent myself; it’s still taking time getting used to.”
On Munoz’s website, www.noellemunozjewelry.com, you can not only view and purchase her jewelry, but also catch her weekly blogs reflecting on her business pursuits.
“I think now a lot of people think they have to keep their job forever instead of finding something that’s really fulfilling for them; it’s not worth it, life’s too short.”
Caroline Edgeton, a recent graduate from Wake Forest University, is now part of "the real world." Though trying to figure out future plans, Caroline is an avid reader, writer, art gallery peruser, recipe follower, and self-proclaimed wine connoisseur (she really just likes wine). She enjoys spending most of her time in the arts district of downtown Winston-Salem.