Meet Sally Brock, owner of Fancy in Madison Valley.

Fancy is a female-owned and operated jewelry studio/shop created in 2002. Previously located in Belltown, Sally recently relocated her studio to Madison Valley, where she creates custom jewelry for clients, and also represents the work of 20 additional designers and artists in her retail store. 

Learn more about Sally and Fancy in this week’s Small Business Spotlight Q&A!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You started your business in 2002, and have been open for 21 years. What motivated you to start your own business?

I’m not good at working for other people, so I had to be self-employed. Before I started Fancy, I worked at other small boutique stores to figure out how a small business operates.

Can you share a little bit about your journey as an artist? 

I have always made art – I have a fine arts degree from Texas. I started doing pottery but I was allergic to the clay dust, so my focus veered towards jewelry. 

What is your favorite type of jewelry to make?

I love making rings – rings are my favorite. They’re very personal, sized to individuals.

To be able to take a flat piece and make it into a 3 dimensional object that becomes something that is part of someone’s family – something they wear on their hand forever? It’s a joy. 

Sally interacts with a customer in her studio and retail shop.

Can you share what it’s like to work with a customer on a custom ring? 

It’s a very collaborative process. I start by figuring out what somebody does – do they work with their hands a lot? What is the ring going to put up with? What level of messy is this person? I’m very very practical as a designer, and so I want something that is going to fit their lifestyle. 

We will start by figuring out a ring size, and then figure out what kind of metal they like. Are you a big jewelry person, or a small, dainty and delicate jewelry person? Every customer chooses their own path. 

I am very very intentional. I use only recycled metal, recycled materials, and repurposed gemstones when I can get my hands on them, and I take apart vintage jewelry and reuse stones. 

But I have some superstitious things – I will never work on wedding rings if I’m in a bad mood because I feel like you put that intention and energy into the finished piece. I want to do a little bit of magic when I’m making a custom piece for someone. 

You recently relocated your studio and retail store from downtown to Madison Valley – what drew you to the Madison Valley neighborhood? 

It was really the space – this particular storefront had a very nice feeling. I also know Kirsten from Roq La Rue from up the street. I interviewed her first and she said “come on over!” because we were both previously in Belltown and had experienced a similar trajectory.

I love the Arboretum, we’re next to so much great stuff. I also thought I’d be next to City People (that was my mistake). 

This photo depicts a bright blue sandwich board sign in front of Fancy's storefront.

You have been in business for over 20 years! What are you most proud of? 

That I’ve existed for this long – and been vaguely sustainable for this long! Considering what we went through by being shut down for the pandemic, and the changes that have happened downtown… to survive through all that? I can make it through anything. 

What is something that folks might now know or understand about small, artisanal businesses, if they don’t know someone like you? 

It is a labor of love. It’s definitely not transactional for me – I would work here for free!

If you’re selling art, you’re selling love, and so you really need a connection with your customers. 

Small business owners are always working – even when we’re not. Sometimes I’m jealous of people who have jobs with hours where they leave at the end of the day. But this is really really rewarding. 

Sally works on a custom piece of jewelry in her studio. She is wearing a bright yellow shirt and magnifying glasses as she hammers a piece of metal.

What is it like to be part of a local artist community? 

It’s so important to feel like you have a net of community – you can go and talk to another designer who is going through or has gone through something similar, and you’re just a lot less alone. 

I connect with other local designers and artists and sell their products in my shop, so I get to have relationships with them, and get to know their designs and products and then communicate that with the world. I get to bring up other designers while I’m trying to promote my own – this keeps me rolling forward. 

What do you like to do when you’re not at Fancy?

I love swimming! I’m planning for the summer – I’m going to have a little sign in the window for about 30 minutes during the day because I’m going to run down the hill and jump in the lake – and then I’ll come back to work. 

I like other art forms beyond jewelry, and I love going to museums to see art. I’m also a big reader. My sister works for Seattle Arts & Lectures and I follow their booklist for whoever is coming to town and get caught up. 

I almost jumped ship to go get a teaching degree. But the pandemic and video teaching kept me from doing that. I taught some beginning classes at Pratt, and some workshops. I loved the collaboration of watching people learn new things. And now I can host small group workshops in my studio! In 1-2 hours, people can walk out with a finished piece of jewelry. 

What other small businesses do you like to support in Seattle?

There are so many! There’s a never ending list of amazing women-owned businesses, but here are few:

What is a piece of advice you would give someone who is starting a small business? 

Running a small business is a labor of love, so you have to love it and you have to KEEP loving it. 

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