10 questions with Drip Jewelry by AK
When the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the original career plans of Alana Kendall Voorhies–or “AK” as she is known to her friends–she decided to take the leap and bring to life her jewelry-making dream. Drip Jewelry by AK was born. From staple pieces to statement makers, Voorhies is working to bring something all her own to the jewelry market.
Read on to learn more about the local brand from Voorhies herself:
1. What inspired you to start Drip Jewelry by AK?
I wanted to start my own handmade jewelry company for almost 10 years, but I just never took the leap. I had no idea where to begin. I continued to try to find myself and only considered “safe” jobs. I already graduated at the top of my class, winning awards for my scholastic achievements and involvement with fashion side projects, but knew there was something else out there for me. I did not want to move to New York City and work for a major fashion conglomerate like I was expected to.
I still dreamed of jewelry making but kept it in the back of my mind as this intangible reality that would never really work. Fast forward to March 2020. After months of interviews, I was finally hired to be a Delta flight attendant! Ten days later, the country announced COVID lockdown. Delta contacted me and said we’d have to postpone training until COVID was under control. I was in complete limbo because I had a job but couldn’t start it, and didn’t know when I could. I didn’t want to get another job because I knew I would have to leave it soon, so I decided to nanny for a family until Delta reached out again (after lockdown, of course). In October of 2020, my boyfriend bought me some tools and told me to “just start.” He said, “Just make jewelry for yourself. You don’t need to start a brand right away; you just need to start.” I purchased some materials online that night and I was instantly hooked. Two weeks later, I launched a website.
2. How did you get interested in designing and making jewelry?
I have always been in love with jewelry. I studied fashion merchandising and international business in college, but accessories were always my true love. Whenever I would travel, I would fill a huge cosmetic bag with jewelry. If it was a long trip and I actually unpacked, the top drawer was reserved for my jewelry, and I would lay it out on display. When I studied abroad, the coat hangers in my room were used for necklaces. Coats went on the floor. My sixth birthday party was a jewelry-making party in my backyard, with a piñata. That was my request: jewelry and a piñata. I haven’t changed much; I just swapped out the candy for spicy margaritas.
3. What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with genuine stones and pearls. I actually used to hate pearls. All the pearl jewelry seemed too classic and conservative for me, so now it is fun for me to make edgier jewelry with them. I put my own spin on it and it has been a big success. Trend forecasts are saying that pearls are sticking around next season as well.
4. Is there one piece that means the most to you?
My first piece I ever made. It still continues to be my top seller. It is a simple crystal stone on a thin chain. There’s nothing super special about it, but it was the first item I made and it started Drip for me. People are surprised when I tell them it was my first item because it is still so popular.
5. What’s one piece you can’t live without?
My endless huggie earrings–all of my basic huggies, really. I never take them out. They don’t tarnish or irritate my ears, and I leave them in for months.
6. What’s one thing you want people to know about Drip Jewelry by AK that they might not be aware of?
I personally test all the materials that I use. It’s a full a science experiment that takes a few weeks each time. You’d be surprised at how hard it is to research “how to tarnish jewelry on purpose,” but I managed to find a few ways. The last thing I do is test it on my own body. I always have multiple bracelets and anklets on to see if they pass my test. I only want to sell high-quality jewelry, and it is unfortunately hard to find. The laws are not well written on this, and wholesalers and raw material retailers are not always honest or held accountable for marketing something with false claims.
Also, I try to be very inclusive with my jewelry. I have optional magnetic clasps for people who might have poor dexterity. They are the best. They’re great for long fingernails, too. I also offer a large range of sizes so that I can be size-inclusive. I carry sizes much smaller and much larger than most brands do, and if you cannot find your size, I am completely open to making a custom size for you!
Research. Lots of research. I kind of look at Drip as a way to solve people’s problems. Need something you can wear to the beach? Got it. Need something for sensitive ears? Got it. Need something versatile? Got it. Lots of my statement necklaces can be worn multiple ways! I do lots of polls on Instagram and get feedback from my customers. I research trend forecasts to see what is happening at fashion weeks. I also just try to think about what I would want and what I wished jewelry brands had when I was buying jewelry. I take all of this and put my own spin on everything and use my own interpretation.
8. When you you feel most creative?
When I am trying to go to sleep. I always get the best ideas when I am trying to go to sleep. I don’t sleep very much because I have to make sure I write my ideas down, and then I usually get up and start creating. Whenever I am in the creative zone, I like to stick with it because I usually will be able to make 10 very unique pieces in one sitting. They don’t all go on the website. I have made more than 1,500 individual items and it would be too stressful for customers to have to scroll through all of that.
9. What are your best-selling pieces right now?
The Rec Drop (my first necklace) and the Rec Drop earrings are continuously top sellers. The Smithy and the Cooper are statement necklaces that are now my top sellers. For earrings, the Perfect Huggies are always a favorite.
10. What does a typical work day look like for you?
There is NO typical day. Every day is different. One day, I am completing orders, taking photos and working on the website. One day, I am working with my customers on their custom orders, creating advertising material and doing financials. One day, I am ordering material, testing new material and negotiating with influencers. But usually, I am doing all of those things every single day. There is so much to do and I only have help a few hours a week. I do most of it by myself.
Find the full line of Drip jewelry at the brand’s website.