By NETA BAR
Walking into Macey Hardridge’s home jewelry studio for the first time feels like entering a fairy cottage where a small congregation of whimsical mythical creatures reside. Each of the senses is stimulated, but not overwhelmed, by the sheer abundance of the room: farmer’s market incense burning in the corner, crystals galore, and colorful butterfly wings artfully sprawled across tables – ethically sourced, of course.
The room is alive, brimming with a character of its own. The very same character that is embodied by Hardridge’s jewelry brand, Lucky Lucky Studios.
Hardridge is a business administration junior concentrating in marketing management, but her entrepreneurial endeavor started far before she knew she would study business in school.
“I didn’t really start with the business major, funny enough. I was getting my psychology degree at Cuesta College
, and actually started my business while I was at Cuesta. And suddenly I realized, “Wow, I love this. I love business. I love creating things and finding ways that they can be marketable.”
PHOTO GALLERY. See Macey Hardridge at her home art studio. (Photos: Jack Sann)
Hardridge’s design style can be described as whimsical, idiosyncratic, and playfully quaint. The crystals and multicolored insect wings sprawled across her tables speak to this point. In her own words, when asked to sum it up in three words, she paused a while.
“Hmm,” Hardridge pondered. “Nature, fairies… individuality. I value dainty work, but I really like a statement piece.”
And upon interacting with her product, any observer – jewelry loving or not – would agree. Watches as chokers, butterfly wings as earrings: Everything about Macey’s jewelry oozes with vision and creativity.
“The target market is people like myself,” Hardridge shared. “What would I find quirky and unique?”
When she first started the business, however, her style did not feel so self-assured.
“I had made one piece, and I didn’t think it was good enough to sell,” Hardridge said. “But I posted it anyway, and a girl from my hometown reached out to me asking if she could buy it. That’s when I realized, okay, people want this.”
Realizing that people might be interested in her work, Hardridge was struck with inspiration and appetite for more.
“I’ve been creating things my entire life, I’ve always drawn, painted, that sort of thing. Before I was selling jewelry with Lucky Lucky Studios, I was looking for different avenues to be creative and use my main love, which is design, to make things that people can wear and actually use all the time.”
And so, in March of 2020, Lucky Lucky Studios was born. But the name of the business was inspired by event in her life just several years before.
On September 19, 2017, Hardridge was a passenger in a severe car accident.
When she was admitted to the emergency room, the doctors on staff identified her on her hospital bracelet as “Lucky Lucky,” as opposed to the typical default name of “Jane Doe.”
Today, the hospital bracelet – inscribed with “Lucky Lucky,” just as the story goes – lives in Hardrige’s studio, proudly framed at the top of the room.
When she started her business three years after the accident, it was merely an e-commerce venture. Nowadays, the business has come a long way from exclusively website sales. Her jewelry can be found in local coffee shops, farmers markets, and handicraft artisan goods store Morro Made.
When reflecting on Hardridge’s story, Morro Made storeowner and Cal Poly accounting lecturer Tim Ridout gushes with pride.
“The community just joys my heart so much. I can see people in person wearing my jewelry, I can see people on campus wearing my jewelry.”Macey Hardridge
“What really stands out to me, as a Cal Poly grad, a transfer student, and now a teacher some 30 years later, is that Macey is living Learn by Doing,” Ridout said.
“She procures, manufactures, markets and sells all her own products. She has to try, fail and iterate. She has to organize her time to be a successful student and manage a whole business. While she’s taking classes, she has the real world to compare and contrast against the teachings. She has the opportunity to take what she’s already doing and fine tune it with newly learned concepts.”
When she’s not in class or her jewelry-making studio, if you’re looking for Macey Hardridge, you will most likely find her engaging with the community at one of the many local farmers markets in San Luis Obispo county. And these markets, aside from being her most lucrative selling touchpoint, are also her favorite place to be.
“The farmers markets and the SLO community are the reason for this business. I don’t think I would be able to continue this business with the same model if it was all online,” Hardridge said. “When I’m doing these in person markets and I have this consistent flow of people coming through and seeing the shop, I can see how people are interacting with the product. I’m able to get a more true idea of what products are liked and not liked.”
“The community just joys my heart so much. I can see people in person wearing my jewelry, I can see people on campus wearing my jewelry. I went to the Club Fair the other day, and I saw five people wearing my jewelry – just at the club fair!”
At a recent farmer’s market in San Luis Obispo, Hardridge’s tent – characteristically enshrouded in foliage – sheltered her setup, which put all of Lucky Lucky’s products on display. Earrings, crystals, keychains, rings – every product that she offered was sprawled across tables in a decorative parade.
As guitar riffs courtesy of local live music reverberate from down the street, visibly intrigued visitors leaf through necklaces, keychains, and earrings. Here, with the community, at the farmer’s market – this is where Lucky Lucky Studios comes alive.
But Hardridge’s “forever dream,” she said, is to have a place of her own.
“I’ve always hoped to have a brick-and-mortar store, an actual storefront,” Hardridge said. To have my jewelry there all the time.”