Mother and daughter combine creative minds
Lucy Hollingsworth, mother, and Ginny Thompson, daughter, inherited their business name from great–great grandmother Theodosia. They chose the name to personify their jewelry business because they felt it conveyed a certain Victorian and vintage flair.
At first the jewelry was a young woman’s creative pastime, then as Thompson ventured into the retail world, she was asked to create a few necklaces as commissions.
As demand for Thompson’s jewelry grew, the two collaborated on the business name. Then Hollingsworth, a professional graphic designer with her own creative venture, Abstractions, helped Thompson with a logo. The collaboration was so effective, the two decided they would both make jewelry.
“Growing up in a creative environment was definitely the catalyst for Theodosia,” said Thompson. “With a mom who could make, do, or fix anything from window treatments to faux finishes to alterations, it is no wonder I am where I am.”
“I was 14, and Mom and I were in a bead store in Boston where I fell in love with some gorgeous carved beads,” Thompson recalled. “With a few directions from the shop owner and mom’s creative wisdom, we created a Tin Cup style necklace years before the movie came out.”
Thompson found the process “so much fun that I started making jewelry for my friends’ Christmas and birthday presents. “It also helped my mom had a studio in our house filled with antique buttons, costume jewelry, yarn of every color, vintage fabric remnants, and things that other people might consider junk. We used these things to make fabulous, one of a kind pieces.”
At 16 Thompson began working in women’s retail. “Customers always admired what I was wearing, and so I made a few custom pieces for them here and there, never thinking that I could make a career out of jewelry design.”
Thompson went to college to major in biochemistry but ended up in art history. “I was half way through organic chemistry when I realized no one could see my cute outfit under a lab coat.” Her art professors wrote margin notes on her sketches about her “fabulous use of color and patterning,” two of the most important elements of jewelry design.
After college, Thompson was manager and buyer for an upscale retail store on King Street in Charleston. “It was about this time my friend Jackie Howie, owner of Kicks Shoes in Columbia, encouraged me to put a label on my creations and start selling them in her store. “
In October 2000, Theodosia had its first jewelry show. “It was a huge success,” Thompson recalled. “I started selling my jewelry in stores around North and South Carolina.”
Still working full time in women’s retail, Thompson decided to give the jewelry a try full time. “I clearly remember sitting at my kitchen table with my parents and boyfriend, who has since become my husband, adding up just how many necklaces I would have to sell a year in order to survive.”
Four years later she says she has the best job she could have ever imagined. “I have truly found my calling. This is what I would do with my free time even if it were not my job. I am just so lucky I can make a career out of it.”
Thompson said working with her mom is great. “When we have artists’ block, it’s wonderful to be able to bounce ideas off each other. I am always inspired by her creations and think she would say the same about mine.”
When Thompson comes home to visit now, “My dad gets the quick ‘Hi’ and a kiss as I run up the steps to Mom’s studio to see what new things she has created. We used to order our stones separately, but a few months ago I started buying both of our stones in New York. And although we each have slightly different taste in color, our jewelry is so similar sometimes it is frightening. On numerous occasions we have created almost the exact necklace totally independent of each other.”
Theodosia is now at in fine shops from Aspen, CO, to St. Simons, GA, but Thompson still prefers the personal touch. “I really like to know my customers. I love helping people select the right piece, or custom make something for them.”