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Daily Inspiration: Meet Courtney Frye

Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Frye.

Hi Courtney, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve always been a right-brain kinda girl, fostering my creative side since childhood. I’m a self-taught jewelry designer and artist, making my first necklace and earring set in my college dorm room senior year. I dabbled here and there, making and selling my jewelry on consignment in my early twenties but eventually hung that up until Fall of 2012. That’s when I got back into jewelry making and The Painted Pearl was officially born. For years, seven and a half to be exact, I did The Painted Pearl on the side while working full-time, and then part-time, outside of the home. Eventually, I realized that if I wanted to grow this passion project of mine, I needed to stop treating it like a hobby (because it paid like a hobby) and start treating it like a business (so it would pay like a business.) So I did. Fast forward to March 2020 – I was working part-time out of the home for a small, private financial firm with two young boys in school and daycare. Covid forced us all to be home and I wasn’t equipped to do my part-time job from home so I threw myself into The Painted Pearl full-time. And it didn’t just survive, it thrived! I’m beyond blessed to be doing my passion project full-time and I finally feel like I’ve stepped into the shoes I was always meant to wear.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
For every small business win, there are several struggles endured along the way. One of the biggest challenges of being a small business owner (of just me and an intern) is all the many hats you have to wear while balancing them at the same time. While my e-mail marketing game might be strong, my social media engagement is lacking. While I might be ahead of the seasons in my designs, my monthly accounting might be a bit behind. It’s a constant ebb and flows and some days I’m on top of it all, while other days I’m barely treading water.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a jewelry designer and maker who specializes in affordable statement earrings for today’s woman. The Painted Pearl was born out of a need to boost my own self-confidence and outward appearance when my postpartum body couldn’t. Earrings always fit! I don’t mean to brag, but I can still wear the same earrings I wore in high school! I can’t say that about any other clothing item!

I’m most proud of launching The Earring Envelope – a monthly subscription of statement earrings delivered to your door! The idea was born while attending a small business conference in the Fall of 2019. I had the thought and breathed life into it before working out the logistics, literally going off a wing and a prayer to get it off the ground. I’m happy to report it’s a successful revenue stream of my business and one that I hope to continue to grow!

When I’m not designing and creating jewelry, I’m painting (watercolors or oil-on-canvas) or hand-lettering bridal invitations. Putting pen to paper and paintbrush to canvas is really therapeutic. It’s how I unwind and I wish I had more time to do it. My seasonal best seller in the art department is my annual watercolor calendar! I watercolor paint two designs per month so that you get to choose what side to display! It sets me apart from other calendars where the art is decided for you. People like choices so I give them the gift of choice. They come in a standard 5×7 size as well as an adorable miniature business card size that includes an easel.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Oh gosh, let me think!

Two come to mind. The first would be playing store in my grandmother’s living/dining room! She was an antique dealer so the room was full of “treasures.” Anytime I’d go and visit, I’d pull out the dress up cloths, the gold-tone rotary phone and play antique shop all day long! I never lacked imagination!

Secondly, most childhood memories include my best friend, Heather! We lived in the same neighborhood growing up and we were rarely separated. She and I would play beauty pageants and my talent was always singing along to Whitney Houston from The Bodyguard soundtrack! I may have messed up 100% of the lyrics but I sure did sing my heart out! And to this day, she doesn’t let me forget it!


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Image Credits
Headshot and image of necklaces by photographer Emily Ballard of Raleigh, NC.

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