Nestled back in the NE district of Minneapolis, you’ll find two sisters, Amy and Allyssa. Known first for their photography and studio, the Woodford Sisters, the two have also become well-known for their timeless collection of handcrafted photograph lockets.
Allyssa greeted me with a friendly and thoughtful hello. We shared a little bit about the Band of Mamas blog and then she began telling me the story of how the Locket Sisters became what it is today.
Amy & Allyssa began their careers together as boutique photographers almost six years ago. Although they don’t do a ton of marketing for their business, they manage to keep a busy schedule. They provide the whole package from the shoot to the prints to the experience. Amy actually began as a world traveling model and wanted a locket to take with her that contained pictures of her kids. However, she couldn’t find someone to make one with the photos in it, and thus began, The Locket Sisters.
Allyssa has always enjoyed making jewelry, and the two sisters began to see the powerful and symbolic value of carrying your loved ones with you. They were able to pull together an E-Commerce site with their product on hand, and this eventually became the seed for their business.
Their Northeast Minneapolis boutique is located in the heart of the city’s art district. It provides a cozy atmosphere to see product and experience the thought that goes into their work. The Locket Sisters ship their jewelry mostly within the U.S. and Canada. However, they have begun to see traces of their jewelry in several other countries around the world.
Their most recent endeavors include working with manufacturers to learn about how their business can become more efficient and grow with their expanding clientele. The best part about this though, is that the two are determined to keep their product cherished by each customer, so they want to keep their lockets close enough to still get a personal touch. Allyssa stated, “… even as we scale up, we just can’t make these super quickly; it’s a learning process and we’re trying to work more efficiently. It’s important to us to maintain our promise–you can tell the difference between something handmade versus machine made.”
The two began their business out of their homes and would rotate product from one home to the other. It became too much to manage, so they streamlined everything into their Minneapolis office and loft. The sisters have been paired up with mentors to help with logistics since neither of them have a background in business.
Amy & Allyssa work with their customers to choose photos that will tell their story. They care about which picture they choose and why it’s important to them. The process is simple: you choose your design, upload your photo, and also have a chance to share why the photo is important to you. Allyssa shared that, “We make a lot of grief lockets, and it’s so nice to have a part in that.”
Once you carefully choose your photo, it’s placed in the locket and a resin is placed over it. “It’s meant to be a lifetime piece.” The lockets are made from materials that are meant to be close to the skin. They range from “nickel-free brass to sterling silver to 24k gold.”
At thirty and forty something women, Amy and Allyssa have to coexist as both business partners and family, which can be difficult sometimes. “We are really collaborative with one another and have very defined roles. There are days when we are able to enjoy our morning coffee together and others where we certainly have to maximize our time and get to work.” Recently the duo have hired another employee to help make the lockets to help the two expand in other areas.
In the end, Allyssa had this to say about balance, “… everything doesn’t work out the same and you just have to figure out where to let go of things. It’s important to have a really intentional focus on where you’re going to put your time. There are seasons for things, and right now we are in a really intense season of work. I feel like balance is sort of a veiled word for perfection, which doesn’t exist! Being a mom and working is hard, and this whole thing is wrapped around our experiences as moms!”
The Locket Sisters are an inspiring pair of women to watch. Their business will continue to thrive because of their true and unprecedented authenticity.
Use any of the links here to browse their collection online or in their studio. This would be the perfect lifelong piece to give to someone special in your life. Remember: shopping small helps support local MN businesses! Check out this blog for some additional ideas for Small Business Saturday on November 30, 2019.