Meet the Metalsmith + Owner of Balefire Goods
For Jamie Hollier, Balefire Goods was much more about a return to passions after spending time dabbling in other avenues of life. It was at a young age that she had come across the art of metalwork while spending time with her beloved grandfather in his shop. Thereafter, she stumbled upon her love of jewelry while wandering around her great aunt’s antique store. Jamie later went on to study metal-smithing and art history, in pursuit of her bliss, as an undergraduate in college. It was during this period that she began working for a local Cherry Creek artisan jewelry store that heightened her fascination with jewelry making. She soon found herself creating one-of-a-kind pieces for friends and family to cherish with so much joy and enthusiasm.
Many centuries ago, balefires were lite upon cliff sides, and elevated areas, to relay significant news between people of lands near and far. While such a practice may no longer exist today, at Balefire Goods, jewelry represents a fire of beautiful inspiration that connects all cultures and all people.
After her student days, Jamie describes life as having had become fairly complicated and had gotten in the way of her love of fine art and jewelry. Growing successful technology companies with her husband, having a family and a multitude of other responsibilities had put a damper on metal-smithing and jewelry making. Jamie was forced to temporarily put them on the back-burner of tomorrow.
She’d found herself unfulfilled and desperately in need of an outlet for artistic expression. Through the contrast, Jamie came to realize just how much she’d really wanted to focus her undivided attention on the arts. She finally went out on a limb in 2017 and opened Balefire Goods’ doors in Olde Town Arvada. Arvada’s tight-knit community welcomed Balefire Goods with open arms and embraced the up-and-coming gallery. With support structures, a committed community and plenty of word-of-mouth, Balefire gained, and continues
to receive, incredible traction towards providing customers with beautifully handmade jewelry. “People are excited, which helps a lot” Jamie tells Denver Style Magazine. “I was also really lucky to be a part of the metal-smithing community, which really helped get the word out too.” Repeat customers of Balefire Goods simply can’t help but come back for more, with others trailing behind, after experiencing the dedicated quality in each piece.
Although Jamie has been an entrepreneur since 2007, embarking on the road to success in an industry very different from the technology world has given her valuable insight on what it means to be a female entrepreneur. She describes previous endeavors as being particularly challenging with many obstacles, all while overcoming preconceived notions as a strong business woman. Creative ventures are indeed rewarding to Jamie, as she likes to be in charge of her own destiny, but it requires a lot of self-confidence and an excellent support system. She highlights how challenges, in any field, are aspects in which all entrepreneurs must conquer in fulfilling one’s vision. For example, putting yourself out there for the world to judge is routinely measured by the success of an entrepreneur’s company. Extraordinarily, the arts have been a place of movers and shakers working to lift each other up and transform the community’s diverse representation of creators. The coming to life of a vision or an idea that moves people to respond and appreciate one’s dream keeps Jamie persevering the obstacles of entrepreneurship.
Giving back to the community also fuels her productive intentions in helping positively influence society. In fact, Balefire Goods donates 5% of its sales to local nonprofits and equally hosts events for similar causes. “That’s always been a driving factor for me. If everyone just gave a little more to the greater good, then our world would be very different” Jamie explains.
As Jamie leads Balefire Goods’ creative direction, quality never fails to escape her mind when finding the best pieces to showcase in-store. She meticulously buys each piece based on how connected she feels to the artist and their work’s aesthetic. Every piece is selected with the intent to render a feeling of unique personality, genuineness and entail the artisanal craft to a customer.
“I don’t carry any artist that I don’t wear,” Jamie mentions.
Her own travels, leading up to the manifestation of Balefire Goods, further enabled her to find great inspiration among pieces that she’d started to include in her personal collection of artisanal jewelry and artwork.“I traveled a lot, and I would go visit artisan jewelry exhibits” she explains. Many of the professionals currently collaborating with Balefire Goods were actually emerging artists that Jamie had happened to come across while tracking numerous awards and recognitions in the artisan community. It was by repeatedly stepping out of her comfort zone and being exposed to new and unique artistic forms that she’d felt an intuitive nudge to center Balefire Goods as an all-inclusive gallery; sharing the works of both herself and other fellow talented artisans. With expertise and precision in mind, it’s of no wonder that Balefire Goods has been an emerging source of exceptional artisanal jewelry made by creators around the world. From U.S. artisans based in cities like Arvada, San Diego and New York, to those living in places such as Germany and Australia, various styles and creative perspectives shape the overall ethos of Balefire Goods.
Nowadays, it’s much more common to find an artisanal jewelry business with one sole creator at the epicenter of its handmade pieces. However, when asked about her vision behind a communal-type marketplace, celebrating artisans from around the world,
Jamie excitedly remarks,“If I was doing only my own work I’d go crazy! I want to help other artists.” Balefire Goods has made it a priority to work with a wide-range of skilled artisans with individual approaches to the craft of handmade jewelry. Carrying and representing artisans from diverse aesthetic and material backgrounds assists in catering to different customers’ needs and emphasizes the company’s unique stance as a force in the jewelry industry. Balefire Goods also distinctly exudes the premise of jewelry as being an art form for any and all to enjoy. The accessibility and affordability of quality handmade pieces are important aspects that Balefire Goods works hard in upholding to the utmost degree. Regardless of taste, Jamie’s goal of this premise comes from her desire to create something that everyone can understand to be “cool and amazing” as art in an industry dominated by fast fashion and singularity. What many may not realize is that mainstream factory created jewelry has been known to usher several consequences that impact the
“If everyone just gave a little more to the greater good, than our world would be very different”
welfare of the planet, animals and society at large. From environmental issues, poor ethical practices and the lack of authenticity, today’s costume jewelry is on the rise with no slowing down. “People are just hungry for an alternate” Jamie explains.
Luckily, those looking for more sentimental and rare jewelry to incorporate into their wardrobe have Balefire Goods’ wide-selection of carefully thought out and designed pieces to help fill this void. The company wholeheartedly believes in continuing the unique and special tradition of crafting artwork made to wear. “Artisan jewelry is part of the slow fashion movement,” Jamie says, “people don’t want something to throw away, but want to invest in quality.” Creating handmade goods with great care and passion instills deeper meaning between artisans and customers who celebrate the art of jewelry making. It’s always been Jamie’s hope that all customers can truly feel a spark of joy while wearing pieces that they’ve invested in; knowing that they’ve also contributed to the greater good.
The actual creation and designing process is another fascinating aspect in which Balefire Goods hopes to engage and connect with their valuable customers. Whether pieces are designed for an artist’s specific collection, custom making or even Balefire Goods’ Kindle brand of custom commitment jewelry, it’s the company’s biggest motivation to build pieces that stand the test of time. With each artisan’s personalized touch embodied in their creations, Jamie says, “custom work gives constraint, which is a great way to be unique.” This guides the artisan in telling customers’
stories in ways that are especially significant to them through each piece. “That is a huge inspiration and honor to be a part of customers’ stories” she explains. Just how the artisans of Balefire Goods uncover inspiration when creating jewelry for their own lines can vary between crafters. For Jamie, she finds inspiration practically “all over the place”. She lets materials and several aesthetics speak to her, as her style is known to change on a whim. Different outfits also tend to impress new designs upon Jamie’s creative imagination when thinking about what she should handmake next. Depending on one’s style, she articulates how classic pieces of clothing are always wonderfully accented with amazing jewelry. The designs at Balefire Goods are not necessarily trendy, but are incredibly stylish and fashionable for anyone looking to elevate their look. To Jamie, pairing a black dress with Balefire Goods’ very own Oropopo’s signature statement pieces, inspired by the cross between modern, Native American, classic Western and New Mexican cultures. “A great outfit is great, but jewelry is like icing on a great cake” she states.
When asked about her favorite creations, made by herself and her team, Jamie explains that she is drawn to any pieces that match with what she might be doing while sporting her jewelry. The “Lines Bracelet” and “Sunset Pendent” are among her most loved pieces of her current intricate selection. She also finds BoldB’s artisanal array of fine jewelry to be perfect additions to wear for the beach, while Yed Omi’s works of art allow anyone to take delight in wearing them with essentially any outfit.
So what’s to come for Balefire Goods’ foreseeable future? For Jamie, she honestly doesn’t know exactly, but does want to continue to grow and maintain beneficial change in her local community of Olde Town Arvada. Rooting for the underdog has always been important to her, while constantly looking for ways to do things better. Whether it’s hosting educational classes and events, giving back to local nonprofits, or doing more for all of the different projects they engage with, Balefire Goods will forever want the absolute best for its customers. “I’m so lucky to be doing work that has an impact,” Jamie says,
“All ships rise together, so I want to help other ships rise.”