Geeks. Nerds. For years these were pejorative terms for non-jocks and the too-cool-for-school crowd. All that changed in 1984 when the movie Revenge of the Nerds provided a liberating blueprint for gaining social acceptance. The logically-enhanced, quiet intellects and preoccupied pop-art types have been kicking posterior ever since.
It’s one thing to have a movie or two dedicated to your ilk, but thanks to Colorado-based Balefire Goods, geeks and nerds now have their own Geeklery (geek + jewelry). Co-founded by Jamie Hollier and Jamie Mclandsborough, the creative spark that started Geeklery, not surprisingly, flared during a game of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D for the in crowd).
The war-gaming and role-playing game has been hugely popular since its creation in 1974. A few years back, when Jamie Hollier was playing D&D with some friends, she noticed one of the other players fashioned a pair of earrings from D&D dice.
“We all jokingly called it Geeklery back then,” says Hollier. “That name stuck for all those years with the intention of creating a space dedicated to artisan made and fandom inspired jewelry. As we met other makers that also created art and jewelry inspired by their favorite pop-culture imagery, we decided it was time to create Geeklery.”
As with most geeks and nerds, the co-founders take their Geeklery very seriously. They have the credentials and work experience in the industry to make their brand of jewelry a very thoughtful and determined endeavor.
Jamie Hollier studied metalsmithing and art history as part of her undergraduate degree and has been designing and fabricating jewelry for more than two decades. Jamie Mclandsborough first started creating jewelry while in high school and has since garnered decades of experience as a repair and custom jeweler.
Geeklery originally started as a themed art show at Balefire Goods slated to take place in October. “As we worked on the idea we decided to create Geeklery as its own standalone company specific to fandom inspired jewelry and art, so the company was formed in September,” says Hollier. “The launch of the new company coincided with the original launch date for the art show.”
For most themed art shows the invited artists design their own creations based on a host of influences. The first jewelry designs for Geeklery were “whatever inspired each artist on a personal level,” says Hollier. An early favorite for the company co-founders was a knife created by artist Alex Boyd. The inspiration for the knife came from the Philip Pullman series His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, a book turned movie starring Nicole Kidman, is one of the better known in this Pullman trilogy).
Initial sales started in-person with visits to the Balefire Goods gallery. Pieces can still be purchased in the gallery, but capturing a larger market share necessitated internet sales. At the time of the gallery opening, the company co-founders also adapted a build it and they will come approach to their website, making Geeklery.com an online destination for those looking for a little outward expression of their defining personal pursuits. Promotional and marketing costs are kept to a minimum by using social media platforms to get the word out.
Geeklery doesn’t have traditional jewelry collections, but there are categories of jewelry pieces created. At this stage of the company’s infancy, the categories include Anime, D&D, fantasy, gaming, literature, math and science, Retro, Sci-fi, spooky and horror, as well as TV and movies.
“The idea from the moment we created the website was that the pieces on it would be changing and shifting depending on what our artists wanted to make, so the expansion comes from new works from our existing artists and adding new artists to the site,” says Hollier. “We felt this was a viable idea because we heard from so many people how excited they were to be able to have items that tied to the fandoms, stories, and the like that were meaningful to them while also being able to support artisan made, limited edition and one of a kind items.”
Geeklery co-founders have been very pleased with customer reactions, those purchasing Geeklery’s artisan-designed jewelry in-person at the gallery and online. “People have been sharing such a warm reaction to Geeklery,” says Hollier. “It is amazing how you can start to identify with a story or character in a way that it fills your heart and builds connections. We have heard so many stories of people saying things like, ‘I love that book,’ or ‘wow, this is my favorite,’ or ‘I didn’t know you were into that also, that is so cool.’ Those sentiments were what we were hoping for when creating Geeklery.”
Geeklery as a company has a solid initial start. Currently Geeklery has 16 artists and roughly 80 items for sale, and growing. Given the scale of production, all pieces are made in-house, so those buying or re-selling Geeklery jewelry can position the products as “Made in America.” And, it’s not just wearable art. Geeklery has diversified their product offerings to include tumblers, pottery, paintings and mixed media pieces, each original works.
Combining metalsmith and repair geeks with creative types brings about a business model that is fairly free flowing. With so many mediums, artists and enthusiastic customers offering product and design suggestions, Geeklery is constantly evolving and expanding.
The company co-founders are content with their initial successes and attainable business goals. “This is more about creating a collection we are excited to work on and allows us to build connections with customers and other artists that love the same things,” says Hollier. “If we did have a bigger goal I think it would be that this website becomes the place that people think of first when they want fine jewelry or art that is based on their favorite stories and characters. We would love to be known as the perfect mix of fandom inspired and artisan made items.”
Like the rest of the world, the founders of Geeklery planned to get through 2020 and the holiday season to determine what lies ahead. But at first glance, it doesn’t take a wizard to predict that this young company has solid business plans for the future.
“We plan on offering a ton of work inspired by other fandoms,” says Hollier. “We have a running list of ideas and fandoms to create items from. As we expand our offerings, we will also expand our reach as we carry more and more items that resonate for people out there.”