Interview with Canvas Rebel

Interview with Canvas Rebel

Meet Sydney Nikoloff

Alright, Sydney thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. So let’s jump to your mission – what’s the backstory behind how you developed the mission that drives your brand?

After embarking on a journey of moving to the mountains, my love for nature grew as did my curiosity for the world unseen. Crystals were fascinating to me as I started to feel more drawn to collecting and working with them, it was something that bridged physical nature to the mysteries of life. Sharing what is, in my opinion, the finest of the Earth’s creations, has blossomed into my greatest passion.

My mission is to provide thoughtfully crafted jewelry (and offering repairs) so you can have your favorite crystals and sentimental pieces with you at all times. This is jewelry that goes beyond just looking good, as I seek to assist with personal development through adornments that encourage living in alignment with what you truly desire.


sacred geometry pendant

Sydney, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?

My name is Sydney and I grew up around the color community of San Francisco where I was influenced by art in every direction, then in 2013, my dad took me out to Colorado to look at colleges and I feel in love with the Rocky Mountains. I chose a small school in the lovely mountain town of Glenwood Springs, and while living up on campus, was miles away from most amenities, it led to a combination of dissociation and procrastination of homework, and also to my greatest passion.

In 2014, began making small wire wraps with crystals from my local rock shop. I went from craft wire to silver wire (wraps) and then in 2018 I finally took it a step farther and began metalsmithing. I stick with jewelry because crystals are something that have pulled me out of numerous dark periods of my life. Was it the crystals or the power of a good hobby? Maybe both, as I always have something that excites me!

In 2019, I finished my degree with a Bachelor’s in Sustainable Studies from the Colorado Mountain College, and had no idea what I wanted to do besides make jewelry. Luckily, this was a broad topic I chose and I’m able to apply it to anything. Because of this, Ive learned the importance of knowing the details of your supply chain and how to be conscious about removing non-renewable resources from our previous planet. Although mining isn’t the best for the planet, I make sure that what does get extracted and used in my business is ethical. From small digs by families that have been mining for generations, to newer gem suppliers with an environmental improvement mission, or those uplifting families (esp. women) in less developed communities, this is what ethical mining means to me. Aside from that, about 80% of the metals I use currently is recycled, either from older fine silver coins, graveyard jewelry, or refiners who recycle silver to resell.

The value that I bring to clients is a thoughtful yet consciously created product. The gem and jewelry industry is not exempt from corruption, and I want to assure clients that this is jewelry you can feel good about buying. As they say,you vote with your dollar, so vote for small businesses who are making an impact (or no impact at all because we’re carbon neutral!) Repairs are also offered, simply because I like to give back sentimental and well loved pieces of jewelry back to the owner. Repurposing old jewelry and stones is always a fun process and I love to recreate beautiful jewelry that will be worn once again!

I’m most proud of how far I’ve come, honestly. I’m in my first year of being full time, and its going really well. I’m here to tell everyone to keep following your dreams, because it will truly come to fruition when you don’t stop. And sure, good things take time, but Im proud of myself for continuing to grow, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same.


Can you talk to us about how your funded your business?

I’m chosing to share about how to fund your business because my mother is a small business coach for a company called Score, and she had some questions recently on this, so I’m feeling called to share my story.

I’m honestly a bit new to this myself, but I’ve started from pretty much nothing with this business. It’s been years of working a full time job and making jewelry in any free time I had. It was a slow growth, but I kept at it. I had tried to go full time sooner, and it lasted for a few months, then I fell in my face with finances, so I went back to other (luckily) flexible jobs I had. It was humbling and I was passionate enough to not stop no matter what. Sure, I had some set backs, but so is life. If we don’t learn to pick ourselves back up, you’re not going to get very far. For me, it’s been a constant cycle of making something, selling it to continue to grow my studio and business, and this is just how it is at least for some starting product based business. I’m learning to be smarter with spending, and learning as I go. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes and not get bogged down by anything for too long.

Don’t give up on your day dream. Seriously.


Can you talk to us about how your side-hustle turned into something more.

This was a side hustle for so many years! I just loved crystals and needed to give myself a medium to not lose them if I carried them around in my pockets through out the day. So I started making jewelry, and at first, they made great gifts! Then I started getting better and would try to sell some here and there. I honestly took a hiatus for about a year after starting my sustainability degree, and then realized how much I loved it after not having it in my life.

After moving in my partner years ago, I was lucky enough to inherit his old bench and some tools from when he was making jewelry. This was a huge milestone and got me started quicker than if I had to go buy some of the tools to get started. I once I was feeling good about my creations, I worked in a supportive workplace that allowed me to sell jewelry in their display case, and from that I grew into being able to do farmers markets, and actually make my business legit as an LLC.

Now, I'm full time with farmers markets to get my name out and meet new clients in person, although i am trying to grow my social media presence, I do enjoy the face-to-face interaction.


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