Real talk: I love jewelry, and I love nice people. Please meet Michael Dobkin, creator of Rosey West Jewelry. We have worked together for a few years now, and I enjoy seeing his business and life blossom.
How did you discover your talent?
Talent is an interesting topic and for many is considered subjective and a matter of personal taste. I think that from the beginning I knew I had an inherent sense of creativity, and did not necessarily view it as talent. At an early age, I found myself struck by the constant curiosity of how things work. I love to understand form and construction by creating things myself. Deconstructing, reconstructing until I have a sense of the process. It started with fabric, crafting something out of nothing and reinterpreting the form in a more personal way.
I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family, encouraging me to explore and discover my own creativity. In my teenage years, I came to the decision that I was going to study design. I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, and shortly thereafter I began my career as a wedding gown designer. My process is a bit different than most, creating more for feeling then aesthetic, a quiet but powerful expression of emotion. This philosophy, in turn, became my personal nonverbal communication of style through design.
After a few years, I found myself intolerably dissatisfied with designing through the lens of another creative, and took some time away and started a new career in marketing. I reconstructed the same creative aspect of design and was able to focus that into brand storytelling. Like most artists, I started to yearn for the physicality of creating and began developing handmade accessories to fill that void. Several years passed, and I continued designing more consistently. The handmade accessories progressed, and through trial and error became what Rosey West is today — self-expression of emotion through intimate fine jewelry imbued with personal meaning.
How did your business blossom?
I officially started Rosey West in 2016. When I first sat down to plan the launch of my first fine jewelry collection, I thought I had everything figured out. Like many small business owners, what I had hoped to create in theory, did not always translate to the reality of success.
In my second year, I decided to put my marketing hat back on (literally) and stepped back to pause and assess. One of the most important aspects of business, I’ve found, is listening to the market. What were my clients asking for, and did my business plan align with what the market sought? Line by line I reevaluated my approach and did my best to translate these learnings by placing my clients at the center of everything I do. It was then when I took the time to hear what clients were saying I was able to reverse engineer my findings intro strategy, and started to see meaningful change and growth.
Do you work alone, or do lead a team?
Creativity is a very intimate process for me, so when I’m designing it’s usually alone. I’ve always struggled with wanting to create with my own hands, going back to the desire to understand how things work. In the discovery phase of deconstructing the anatomy of fine jewelry, I quickly realized I was lacking the technical skills of a trained artisan. I started to work one-on-one with a small production team of highly trained local craftsman that have been able to re-articulate my design vision into form.
Aside from production, I do everything myself. Creative direction, sales, marketing, web design — Rosey West is every part of me, at least for now.
What is your process with wedding clients before the wedding?
The ceremonial act of a wedding is oddly enough not much a part of my process. I reach clients at a pivotal period of their lives when they have made the decision to fully define their lifetime commitment to one another. A wedding anchors this moment, but the role I play comes well before rings of commitment are exchanged.
After the ceremony, an engagement ring and wedding band remain as the singular physical marker of a couple’s partnership and dedication to one another. I want nothing more than for my clients to unapologetically love their engagement and wedding rings and to feel that they represent their unique individual values and aesthetic.
How do you continue to grow as an artist?
With each new client, I’m always learning and refining my artistic development. I find that every couple I work with, in some way, has taught me something of important value that allows me to grow as an artist. Sometimes they challenge me to think outside of my primary design philosophy, and to rethink the way that I come to create. In the moment it can be challenging, but when I’m able to take inspiration from a client and translate that vision in my own way I discover new parts of my creativity and continue to grow.