Little Sky Stone is a jewelry brand based in Columbus, Ohio. Designer, Liang Xia, creates minimalist pieces with ethically sourced materials. The name "Little Sky Stone" is inspired by turquoise, also known as the ‘fallen sky stone’ for it’s lush, blue hue. Meet Little Sky Stone at our 2017 Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart on December 3rd!
Tell us about your background and your local business.
Little Sky Stone was founded in 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. My interest of collecting stones and drawing them had started from a young age. During a college trip, I traveled to Hubei Province, which is located in the southwest region of China. After the trip, my inspiration sparked even further when introduced to the beauty of turquoise and the rich history behind the stone. Turquoise is is believed to bring health and protection when worn.
When I moved to the U.S. in 2011, I discovered that turquoise was popular here. I did some research and found out that most of the turquoise stones are made into Native American-inspired jewelry. From a cross-cultural perspective, I designed a few pieces of turquoise jewelry that incorporated modern Chinese elements in them. My friends loved how different they were from what was seen on the market. My pieces were simple, modern and minimalistic. With their encouragement, I started Little Sky Stone designing and selling turquoise jewelry. I met Chao Song, my business partner, who was operating his own silver business at the time. We realized we both had the same set of values within our businesses and both had the drive to promote traditional Chinese silver making skills. Since then, we have merged our business together and expanded our product line. Our mission is to incorporate Chinese elements into our designs and create a line that shares the authenticity and inspiration of oriental craft from old to new.
What drew you to your craft?
I have always loved drawing, designing and being creative. I am a fan of living a minimal lifestyle. When I first moved to the United States, I only brought two suitcases with me. In my first two years here, I moved three times between Cincinnati and Columbus, and each time, packed those suitcases and was ready to go. That minimalist concept is incorporated into all my designs and I see it as a way of expressing myself.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
I think the Ohio ring we have is one of my favorites. It is a simple design of an arrow wrapping around your finger. Ohio means a lot to me- it’s where I went to school, where I got my first house and my first job. It is my home in the U.S.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist when I was growing up. I had attended art classes after school for 10 years. When I graduated from high school, I had to put my dreams aside and study a major that I could easily find a job in. Being an artist is extremely hard in China, most artists cannot make a living out of it. I am very glad that now I am able to start this business and show off my passion!
What is your creative process?
I love visiting museums and collecting any ideas that can be used in my designs. A lot of my designs come from a concept, for instance, the Chinese philosophy of Yinyang. When a design pops into my head, I’ll write it down and draw it for reference later.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
The advice I would give myself is always to be brave, keep trying new things, challenge myself and embrace as many cultures as I can.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
As a millennial growing up in China, I saw a lot of local artists and makers give up their dream to get a better job in order to make a living. While on my college trip, I met a couple in Guizhou Province. They have been silversmiths who create pieces using traditional silver-making skills.They told me that in their village, fewer people are choosing to be silversmiths due to financial trouble and they have to find jobs in the city. They are concerning that silver-making skills will be lost in this generation. I feel that it is extremely important to support local artists and makers, for it supports them, their communities and more artists can continue to pursue their dreams.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love designing, being creative and help people choosing their favorite pieces of jewelry. I love the challenges that come with a business and working to make things right.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
My advice to anyone who wants to start their own business is to go for it and start something first, even if you cannot see a promising future at the moment. If you wait until you think you have the perfect business plan, you may have already missed the perfect opportunity. Try it out and see what happens!
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I love how Columbus has grown so much from when I first moved here five years ago to now. There are so many new businesses, shops and restaurants that have popped up. I love walking around in the Short North area, Grandeview and the revamped area of downtown Dublin. When I am exploring Ohio, I can always find something new and interesting.
Meet Little Sky Stone at our Ohio Explored Holiday Maker Mart!