Sunday 17 March 2013

Inspiration Sunday with Erinn LaMattery

Today I want to introduce you to Erinn, we only recently became Facebook 'friends' but Erinn is one of those people I have known about for years, she is a fellow expat and so we tend to have a lot of real life friends overlap and move in the same virtual circles.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself....
Around 6 years of age I hated my name, Erinn, and wondered why my parents gave me such an odd name, esp. with 2 ‘n’s in it! It took a couple of decades, but now I love it and would never have it any other way. 
I was born in southern California, and have spent over half my life abroad, most of it in Japan, most of that in Kansai. 
I do a variety of things, teach English, the odd narration job, assist my husband with translation, and about 1-1/2 years ago started up a small jewelry business. Add to that raising my children, cooking, cleaning, shopping and the myriad of activities that go into being a mother.

I hate fish, really and truly, but I love tako-yaki. I hate the end of winter cause I’m just anxious for it to end, but I love the end of spring, right before the weather turns from perfect to baking hot. I love temples and shrines, and how the Japanese religion is not so much a religion as it is a lifestyle and they are pretty relaxed about it. I hate falsetto voices, they drive me insane, but I absolutely love the Japanese transportation system!

2. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration for my jewelry comes from many sources, usually the world around me. I am a visual person, colors and patterns speak to me. Inspiration will also come from holidays or seasons, but more often than not, inspiration comes from my customers, as I try to work very close with them to create their perfect piece. I like to call my pieces wearable art.

3. Tell us about your business...

It’s a growing jewelry business, bracelets are the main focus though I make chokers and earrings, and have some plans to dabble in metal clay and make rings. 

I love stones, always have felt a connection to stones, shells, wood, forests, the sea, and nature at large. Stones are each so unique and full of color and beauty, each one is a small universe in itself. I decided to base my jewelry in genuine precious or semi-precious gemstones, and incorporate leather and on occasion silver to the mix. I refuse to use plastics of any type, with the exception of the thread, and avoid glass beads as well.

4. What led you to start your business?
I saw a bracelet in a shop and fell in love with the style. It was very ‘me’. But the price was pretty much out of my budget at the time, so I came home and found a tutorial for making my own. Next week I picked up some cord and stones, thread, gave it a try, posted a picture on FB and started getting requests for it. It was scary and thrilling, deciding to go ahead and start selling pieces, but since then it’s been a wonderful journey.

5. What does an average day look like for you?
None of my days are average, unfortunately. But usually I’ll have coffee and check mail, take care of correspondence in the morning, try to spend half an hour or so with my Little Man doing his reader and English writing practice before he goes to nursery school. Then either off to work or cleaning the house, sorting out mail and requests. Later on I start working on pieces I need to create, or patterns for customers. Late afternoon I’ll pick up my little guy and make dinner. But days I am out of the house for teaching are usually focused solely on teaching.

6. What is the one thing about your job that makes your heart sing?
Hearing back from customers always makes me smile. Knowing that a piece turned out just as they wanted, that it fits, that ir arrived, that it was perfect for them, really makes it worth it. I love starting new patterns, seeing colors come together. My customers often push me to try new combinations I wouldn’t have thought would work, only to discover they were right and a beautiful piece of art emerges from the mix.

7. Share a secret with us that has never been shared online before
I tend to be attracted to a man’s voice. Think Darth Vader, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, not to mention singers: Coldplay, Lifehouse, Rob Thomas, Alex Band, Foster the People. It’s the voice that gets me every time!

Erinn at Off on a Whim has carved out a small piece of the world for herself. Handcrafted customized precious and semi-precious gemstone jewelry, using genuine stones and leather, no plastics, are part of her style.

Creating a life for herself in Japan hasn’t always been easy. Navigating a foreign culture, language and alphabet, throw in children, work and a husband, she has faced the challenges before her, and while not always conquering each one, has continued moving forward each day, refusing to give in and call it quits. 

She says, ‘I’m lucky to have many wonderful people in my life who keep me positive and inspire me to focus on the present and the future, help me put the past behind me and start over each day. My kids are the best thing I ever did with my life and they give me my true purpose!’

For the lovely readers of Jo’s blog:
Use JOSBLOG discount code to get 15% off any purchase at either Etsy or on FB. 

Contact me via either one to discuss details of your own customized piece. Whether you want something purely for it beauty, or you want a bit more, something with specific meaning to help you in an area of your life that is challenging you right now, I love working together to find the right stones/colors to make something special just for you!

Find Erinn at:

website :
Facebook :

1 comment:

  1. cool Jo! It was a lot of fun to do that interview :)


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