Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series of posts featuring local moms and dads in our Made by Mom and Dad Gift Guide.
Tiffany Coley didn't last long in the corporate world after her first child was born. Nine months after giving birth, she left her job in software engineering to care for her growing family.
But she knew she wanted to continue to do something for herself when she became a stay at home mom.
"I wanted to be able to do something and have something of my own," she said.
Coley had been making jewelry for fun for nearly 10 years, starting with a former colleague on lunch breaks. She started with beading, working on intricate projects that took 20 or 40 hours to complete. It was a creative outlet that proved to be a good way to meet other professional women as well.
"It was fun to learn and network with women who had different careers and interests," she said.
But that hobby grew into a new career for Coley once she was at home with her kids. She now has two. She also added new skills to her toolbox, focusing now primarily on metal work. She launched Tiffany Coley Artisan Jewelry.
She makes one-of-a-kind pieces, custom work and has some wholesale business, shipping to stores around the country. She does it nearly all from her Raleigh home. She calls her design aesthetic edgy, but soft.
"It has a juxtaposition between being more industrial and edgy but having a soft quality to it, making it wearable for everybody," she said. "I like to stay on trend, but I don't like to be too trendy."
The business has been as much about honing her jewelry-making craft as it has been about learning how to get the word out about her pieces and connecting with customers. I found Coley through Vend Raleigh, a great local resource for mompreneurs.
Coley has attended major trade shows and was featured last year as an emerging artist at the massive One of a Kind Chicago show, which features 600 artists. She'll return to the show for a second year next month.
"People want to know your story," she said of her customers. "They are buying a piece of you."
Coley has plans for growth. She'd like to eventually move into her own studio.
"I'll grow as much as I can," she said. "I don't need to be big. I'd just like to be comfortable and enjoy it."