Luxury, Quirky, and Symbolic

Jessica McMahon

I can’t remember exactly when I met Jessica, but when we did, we instantly clicked. Jessica McMahon, 34, is brilliant. She is so extremely talented and hard working, and she’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the fashion industry and beyond (she’s a Designer AND a Professor). I always love when I get to catch up with her. Jessica and her hubby, Jason, own Brass Thread, which is an incredible accessories project. Their work is handmade and absolutely beyond stunning and unique. I want everything they make. Enjoy reading below all about Jessica, Brass Thread, her favorite piece she’s made, who she’d love to have lunch with, and more.

How long has Brass Thread been around?

About 3 years.

What inspired you to launch Brass Thread?

Brass Thread happened when Jason (my husband) and I were on a trip to Mexico and were admiring some hand-beaded Huichol sculptures. I wanted a more wearable and sparkly version, but that did not exist. So, combining my apparel and accessory background and Jason’s fine jewelry background, it took us about 6 months to initially develop a process to create this. The process has developed further over time and we absolutely love what the pieces have become and represent. We create necklaces and now tabletop miniatures as well! They are gorgeous!

Have you always been interested in designing jewelry? If not, when did you realize this is what you wanted to do? 

I have always been interested in design in general. All of it. My degree is a BFA from Pratt Institute where I majored in Fashion Design. So, my background is really heavy in textile and apparel but my husband is a jeweler and jewelry designer and has taught me a lot about that medium. I love everything tactile.

How would you describe Brass Thread?

Brass Thread is luxury, it is quirky, it is symbolic, and it is art.

Who is the Brass Thread customer?

The Brass Thread customer is anyone who falls in love with living life.

What is your favorite part about your job? Most rewarding? Most challenging?

I love that I am able to do what I love. I work in an industry that I have loved since I can remember and I never have a “bad day at work”. The most challenging part can be prioritizing and delegating. Sometimes you want to do everything and do it all at once. You have to figure out how to alleviate that in order to make yourself more efficient and successful. I will also add, that I absolutely love teaching and find it extremely rewarding to be able to guide young emerging designers on to having successful careers.

What’s your favorite Brass Thread piece and why?

Omg, this question is HARD!!! I do not think I have a favorite in particular, as they all have meaning to me and every time one gets finished, I think that is my favorite, lol. However, I just finished an amazing tabletop miniature elephant piece that is the largest piece I have ever beaded and it is beautiful. It is inspired by a combination of the painted and jeweled elephants (photo below).

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Walk us thru a day in your life.

My day is always different. One day is never the same from the last. That is what it is like to own your own business. Some standards in my day are always quality time with my husband, Jason and 2 dogs, Audrey and Annabelle. I bike ride for at least 30-45 min per day. Everything else is a toss up! Some days I teach at HCC, some days I teach at The Glassell Junior School (MFAH) and I run Brass Thread with Jason all the time. We are either doing product development, producing, marketing, or just running the business. There is never a dull moment. Oh! And I definitely make friend and shopping time!

What advice would you give someone wanting to break into your industry?

Know the industry. Be well researched and knowledgeable. Understand what the industry is doing right now, what it will be doing in the future, and what it can do better than it did in the past. Make sure your skills reflect your knowledge.

What inspires you?

Color, art, texture, movement. Anything with passion.

What motto/quote do you always try to live by?

“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

If you could get a meal or drinks with one person, alive or not, who would it be and why (and what meal would you get with them)?

This is hard! Hmmmmmm…….This answer probably changes yearly. Right now I would say, I would want to get a meal with Vivienne Westwood and we would be eating fish & chips in the UK! She was my style icon growing up and I want to know everything. I would love to know the details of what it was like designing at a time where you were able to start a movement in the fashion industry.

Thanks, Jessica!

Be sure to follow Brass Thread on Instagram and Facebook.

See past interviews here.

If you or someone you know might be a good fit for this series, reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!

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Round Top Part 1

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Yesterday I spent the day at Round Top with my friend Rachel and her mother-in-law, Cheryl. We had so much fun. It’s about an hour and a half from Houston, and once you get there it’s antique/vintage/home decor inspiration heaven. I had been once before, but at the very tail end of the week so it was really picked over. Yesterday was only the second day, so there were TONS of goodies to peruse. We started at The Big Red Barn/Continental Tent then continued onto Marburger Farm and ended the day somewhere else I don’t know the name of, but in that same area. SO. MANY. GOOD. THINGS. My interior design style is very much modern, contemporary, a tad eclectic, but still warm and cozy (if that makes any sense at all), so traditional style antiques don’t necessarily work well in our place, but Round Top isn’t just that. Seriously, SO many good things. Rachel ended up getting an awesome mirror and I found an amethyst piece that is sitting perfectly on my home office book shelves. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling so you can enjoy some fun pictures from the day. And this is only part 1, as I had far too many to include in just one post. Check back next week for more photos, and if you’re in Texas, get your tush to Round Top. So good.

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From Middle School Plays to the Big Screen

Josh Brener

When I was younger, there was a period of time where all I wanted was to be an actress. I took acting lessons, auditioned for plays, pretended I was various characters in movies. I just wanted to act. Well, that certainly didn’t turn into a career for me, but I’m still completely in awe of actors and actresses in Hollywood. To be able to completely transform oneself into a totally different role takes major talent, and it’s a pretty special career that most of us don’t get to experience. Josh Brener, 31, gets to experience it on the daily. He’s an actor living in LA, working alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. You’ve seen Josh in ‘The Internship,’ ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Scandal,’ and most recently ‘Silicon Valley,’ among many others. He’s hysterical, hard working, and damn good at what he does. I love this interview because it had me laughing out loud multiple times throughout. It’s a good one. Enjoy!

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Living Through the Uncertainty

Living Through the Uncertainty

You know those times in life that are rather confusing? Those times you have what feels like a never-ending case of the stomach flops and feelings of uncertainty. What if I told you to stop wondering what might be, to stop questioning, to stop thinking about what the particular outcome will be, and just live your life? You’d probably tell me that it’s a heck of a lot easier said than done, and I’d tell you that you’re absolutely right. However, I’d also tell you it’s possible. Because it is.

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The Lineup // 9.23.16

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I’m so excited because I’m heading to Austin Friday afternoon for my dear friend Marissa’s bachelorette party weekend! I can’t wait to celebrate (and par-tay) all weekend long with some of the best gals I know! It’s been a pretty solid week. It’s been busy, but insanely productive. I also had an epic yoga class on Thursday. Yes, it was epic, seriously. I felt like every single thing the teacher said resonated with me in a deep way. If you don’t enjoy yoga or think it’s not for you, I’d urge you to give it another shot. It’s incredible and I’m SO thrilled and grateful that I’ve gotten into it. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope you have a great one. Enjoy some of my favorite things from around the web this week!

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Break the Weight

ricki-friedman

One of the most common battles a woman faces in her lifetime, or at least from what I’ve observed, is the battle of losing weight, keeping it off, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ugh, right? It can be challenging for sure, but if you have the right tools, the right coach, and the right mindset, it’ll happen. Ricki Friedman is a Motivational Health Coach who started a business called Break the Weight. With Ricki’s system, she will help guide you every single step of the way, all while helping you to achieve your healthiest lifestyle possible. She’ll be the first to tell you healthy habits don’t happen overnight nor without putting forth the effort and work, but it can happen, and BTW has a number of success stories to prove it. Keep on reading for what made Ricki want to start this business, what she loves most about her job, what’s standing in the way of you and the weight you want to lose, and lots more. 

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Shopbop New Arrivals: Top 10

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Hands down, Shopbop is one of my all time favorite online retailers. That’s probably not a surprise to most, as I know it’s a fan favorite. I check out their new arrivals section multiple times each week, so this time I thought I’d share my favorites with you. SO, click through and enjoy (and shop!) my top 10 new arrivals. In no particular order…

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From Kickstarter to Published Author (and Kick Ass Artist)

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When you are doing what you love, and it just so happens that thing you love is also your career, now THAT is what it’s all about. Adam J. Kurtz, 27, is an Artist and Author based in Brooklyn, New York. His first book, 1 Page at a Time speaks to me because of how much I love journaling, and his second book Pick Me Up I can’t wait to get my hands on when it comes out next month. This guy has collaborated on products for big time retailers, such as Urban Outfitters, and it’s clear as to why; his products are unique, funny, and just downright cool. I certainly know where I’ll be shopping for gifts moving forward (hint: AdamJK Gift Shop). Keep on reading for what Adam’s personal favorite product is, how he got started, where he loves to go in Brooklyn, and more. 

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What Would You Do?

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I was lounging around in my favorite spot on the couch yesterday and scrolling through Netflix. I stumbled upon some movie that probably got 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it caught my eye. I honestly can’t remember the name of it, but it was about the end of the earth. An asteroid was planned to hit earth within three weeks, and a man was reconnecting with the love of his life to live the last days together…or something along those lines. I actually didn’t even end up finishing the movie, but it got me thinking.

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The Lineup // 9.16.16

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Now, THIS was a fast week. Granted, I was utterly exhausted both Monday and Tuesday because of our ‘ass crack of dawn’ early flight Monday morning back from Maryland, BUT still a crazy fast week, nonetheless. This weekend is pretty jam packed, including a wedding, a baby naming, and my niece’s birthday party! Her birthday party is superhero themed and I kind of want to show up in a Superwoman costume because #YOLO. Hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy some great things from around the web!

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