He has a necklace inspired by The Goonies. That is all you need to know to fall in love with the Happy Arsenal. We recently sat down with Chris Jones, the maker behind the brand to learn about his business and why he supports the maker movement!
Who are you?
Happy Arsenal is Chris Jones. I create unique earrings and necklaces by
etching designs into copper and brass. I'm often asked where the name Happy
Arsenal comes from. I feel that a woman's best arsenal is the accessories
that she chooses, it's those little things that make anyone feel more
special and unique than they already are. What I do is a craft that has
many variables, and almost every time I'm surprised by the end result. I
guess that's why my tagline is "Perfectly Imperfect Jewelry." It's
impossible to create the exact same piece twice. When you consider how
brass and copper patina based on the individual who is handling it and
wearing it, it's hard to say every piece isn't as individual as the person
who is wearing it. I love how brass and copper can feel 100-years-old in a
matter of months. It's like that favorite pair of broken in leather boots.
Why be a maker?
I've always worked for myself. When I was in college in the early 1990s, I
made crazy hats and sold them at nightclubs, as well as wholesale, to
various shops around the country. Once I earned my degree in Graphic
Design, I decided to start my own company instead of working for someone
else. This eventually lead to my current design firm, which I've owned for
the past 15 years: Popcorn Initiative. Spending most of my day in front of
a computer and on the phone eventually spawned a desire to want to work
with my hands again. One thing lead to another, and the next thing I knew I
was creating designs and figuring out how to etch them into copper and
brass. The process is involved and detailed, but it's exactly the break my
mind needs from my day job. I think everyone is creative in some way and
it's important to express that - whether you decide to express it privately
or put yourself out there and let the world see what you do. For me the
reward of making one small piece of jewelry and seeing someone personally
connect to it is priceless.
Why should we support makers?
The obvious answer is because we are all makers. We all are making
something, it may not be tangible, it may be working for someone else, and
it may seem trivial, but at the end of the day, I think we all want to feel
the reward of making something for ourselves or someone else. Most of us to
want to be a maker. This is the exact reason to support makers. It's an
amazing thing to be able to connect with the actual people who are creating
the products you are buying. It doesn't matter if it's in person or through
social media or email. The provenance of a piece you own is something that
you don't get by shopping at a mall or a big box retailer. Makers connect
us all in ways that most people don't realize.
Why is it important to keep Main Street alive?
I think the main reason is that sense of community and locality that you
can't get through any other manner. One of the main reasons my wife and I
chose to relocate to Greenville, South Carolina, is the amazing feeling of
community and the support the community provides for the makers and artists
of the region. It's the type of place you walk down the street and people
you don't know say "Hello." I think that's an uncommon occurence these days
and without the communities that are built and being revived around those
"Main Street" ideals, we would be destined to be a boring, nondescript
society. Main street breeds individuality and creative thinking.