Artist Spotlight: Anna Dong
Can you introduce yourself for us - who you are, where you’re from, what you do.
Howdy, Ritual family :) I’m Anna - I am the founder and operator of Anna Learns Things! I am from all the way across the country, based in the heart of Seattle, WA. I design and fabricate every piece of jewelry for my company and often participate in local flea markets to market and vend my goods.
What's your zodiac sign?
How did you get your start in your field of design?
After letting a thrifted box of beads sit in the corner of my room for a few months and with the abrupt surplus of time during quarantine, I decided to finally start making the beaded fruit accessories that I had seen on the internet. I shared my first project on my personal instagram account - a pair of beaded orange earrings - and the response was so positive, I created a new IG to share my beaded creations. From there, I learned new styles and learned to incorporate new materials, like the ever-popular freshwater pearl, into my collection. Over time, my brand has evolved to encompass the vibrant fruit jewelry and sweet and simple pearl pieces alike.
How and where do you find inspiration?
I go on a lot of neighborhood walks. I’m talking 2-3 a DAY. During these walks, I always try and pay attention to the colors and textures of the natural world and the beauty of the pacific northwest. But as a resident of the infamously evolving Seattle area, the vibrant color schemes of the urban developments are often hard to miss. In my pieces, I try to channel the balance of the Northwest’s warm earth tones with the electric lights of the city. And, I always love (and very much appreciate) when my customers suggest new styles and combinations!
What’s your favorite part about the design process?
The trial and error - with a major emphasis on the error. As much as design takes planning and projection, it’s the most engaging when you attempt to bring an idea to life. I often wear samples to gatherings and hangouts with friends to gather suggestions and feedback. Each of those moments are equally vulnerable and exciting!
Who are some other artists/designers/brands you look up to?
Seattle-based artist, and now close friend, Stevie Shao has been a huge inspiration and guide to me! She is a storyteller and artist alike, using bold colors, sharp lines, and innovative techniques, such as hand-cut wood pieces to bring her visions to life. I aim to reflect this eye-catching practice with my jewelry. And as a fellow Asian-American woman in the arts, she inspires me to persist when I don’t see people like myself doing what I love doing.
Any words of wisdom for fellow makers or peers looking to get their business off the ground?
You’ve heard it before and you’re hearing it again: be genuine. If you love what you’re doing, your customers and followers will feel the positivity and meaning behind your work! “Passion before profit” is something I tell myself all the time. Yes, you are a small business owner and making money is important. But always come back to your “why”! And the return will far exceed your expectations, especially non-monetarily. I have met some of my closest friends on this journey of art and expression.
What is a dream project/goal for you?
I would love to teach a class on beading and composition one day! Sharing is caring :)
WHAT’S YOUR RITUAL? What are some of your most important self-care rituals?
As I mentioned before, I love going on neighborhood walks! One of my most important rituals is walking, daily, regardless of the weather. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, I try to breathe the fresh air that I am lucky enough to have.
Another of my most important self-care rituals is “counting my lucky stars” as one of my closest friends calls it. Whether it’s during my morning coffee time or right before bed, I try to think about all that I have to be grateful for. This practice has never failed me and continues to bring me peace and energy in tough and happy times alike.
Your top 3 ritual shoppe product picks...1. Anna Learns Things Beaded Butterfly Earrings :)
2. The Aykasa Crate: I have started a quickly growing collection of these crates. The multi-functionality is undeniable!
3. Boy Smells LES Candle: I am obsessed with this scent - it simply screams “SPRING!” (my favorite season)