Mary Moody on Motherhood and Making Heartfelt Meaningful Jewelry
by Gina Halladay
As a young new mother in 2013, Mary Moody said she experienced a bit of an identity crisis. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and feeling the need to help support her family generated the perfect storm in a hard season.
“I remember feeling completely exhausted and needed a big life change,” Mary said. “I was teaching English to Koreans over the phone during the nights and early morning hours so that I could be with my son during the day. I wasn’t sleeping much and my anxiety grew. About this time, I received a necklace for my birthday, and I wore it every day. I loved it. My son would hold onto it while he was breastfeeding and that special moment would become part of our daily routine. It was a bonding experience for both of us.”
When that necklace (sadly) broke, it became the catalyst for Mary to become interested in jewelry making. “I was drawn to the idea of creating jewelry to represent those pivotal moments in life — from the triumphs to the tragedies,” she said. “All the moments that become a part of us, of who we are. I scoured the internet and watched YouTube videos for three months straight but, at the time, we didn't have the means to purchase any of the tools or materials I would need to make jewelry. A few months later, I was able to buy the tools and materials I needed with my husband’s Christmas bonus.”
In 2013, Mary started making customized jewelry and selling her goods on ETSY, an online shopping site for homemade items. “It was an extremely exhilarating experience to have people I didn’t know purchasing something I made. The best part was that I started connecting with my customers on a very personal level because I would need to gather details about the personalization on their pieces and in return they would open up about the meaning of what the piece represented to them. I found immense joy in making heartfelt pieces of jewelry that allowed me to not only heal through the physical process of creating the jewelry but also to connect with countless women, hear their stories, celebrate their joys, and offer comfort during their heartbreaks, too,” she said.
"I put my heart into my work, knowing the meaning behind the piece or the story of how special it is to my customer “
"I didn’t have much of a business background. My degree is in psychology and has always fed my fascination with human behavior, which is why I love hearing and being inspired by people’s stories,” she said.
Social media became a big driver for business and was key to getting the word out about Mary’s products. “At this point in my life, things had evened out and I was on a good schedule. I got pregnant with my second son and I was motivated more than ever to make sure that this passion of mine was something I really believed in and that it was filling a part of me. I was drawn to my purpose of creating pieces of jewelry that are made with intention, that have a lot of purpose and character, and that are tangible reminders,” she said.
Mary’s customizable pieces are stamped with important milestones and dates, or a place you visited, or with the name of someone that has your heart. “Wearing the name of your kids or the people in your life that mean the world to you is so special. I love every aspect of creating custom jewelry. I put my heart into my work, knowing the meaning behind the piece or the story of how special it is to my customer,” said Mary.
In 2015, Mary took her business to the next level, registering the domain name “Made by Mary,” and she started an online business in addition to her ETSY shop. “The ‘bread and butter’ of our business is still the customizable hand-stamped discs and bars,” she said. “Each piece is still hand-cut and stamped (each letter, one by one), filed, polished, cleaned, and assembled by hand at Made By Mary headquarters in Draper, Each of our custom pieces goes through six to eight pairs of hands.”
Made by Mary now has 34 employees. “Our business is really unique in that our production process is in-house. We have stampers, technicians and assemblers working alongside our shipping department as well as our marketing/creative team and customer support team. I also work closely with our design team that oversees the ideation and creation of all new products.”
“My husband (and business partner), Taylor, and I got word of the COVID-19 shutdown, just after we had completed setting up our booth for spring at the Silos at Magnolia in Waco, Texas. We immediately had to take our booth down and head home the next morning. At our studio, we were quick to implement social distancing right away.
Sales dipped the first couple of weeks, but we’ve felt very fortunate to not have to furlough or let anyone go. Even with all the uncertainty, we were able to keep providing hours for our team, and that was our goal. We were extremely grateful that sales were high enough to be able to keep our business going and employees working during these weeks and months of unknown. It has seriously been such a blessing,” she said.
“Initially, things did slow down a bit during the first months of the pandemic, but things started to pick up around Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day and Christmas are typically our busiest times of the year. Being an eCommerce business we didn't have to shut our doors, and we feel thankful that we have actually experienced some growth during the pandemic,” said Mary.
“One of my favorite parts about my business, still today, is taking time to look through all the outgoing orders and notes that go along with them,” she said. “I like to scan over them and just see what kind of personal sentiments each of our individual customers have ordered. It sounds cheesy but it fills my heart and I get giddy for customers to receive their pieces. I feel humbled and grateful for the trust people put in us to make them such special and personal jewelry that carries meaning for them. It truly is such an honor.”
"I was drawn to my purpose of creating pieces of jewelry that are made with intention, that have a lot of purpose and character, and that are tangible reminders"