Meet Kristen from Minoux Jewelry!

Welcome to my interview with Kristen from Minoux Jewelry! Kristen will be releasing her Fall/Winter collection soon with new colorways of some old favorites, some bolder pieces, and some entirely new things. You may remember my Minoux style circle post from this past spring–I put together a few outfits around my favorite piece from Kristen’s spring collection, the Large Pyramid Necklace. I love her simple, geometric shapes and lovely enameled pendants! I’m also happy that she is one of our local craftspeople here in Portland!

Kristen from Minoux!

Kristen was planning on going to law school until she stumbled into jewelry making after college. She has been running Minoux for over ten years now. She gets a lot of help from her awesome husband, Matt. She’s also got some super talented helpers who can assist with jewelry when it gets busy, as well as a clever lady helping with her blog.

Shop Announcement: Not only is Kristen going to launch a new collection soon, she is also giving away a $150 gift certificate to the Minoux shop once they reach 500 fans on Facebook. They’re only about 40 people away, so now is a really good time to “like” Minoux!


What’s your sign?
Virgo pride!

What would you say your shop focus/specialty is?
I think Minoux is known for clean lines and simple, fun pieces that complement a wide range of personal styles. I try to stay true to that aesthetic whenever I design new work.

How did you get into your field?
I was traveling in India when I came across a very small family-operated jewelry stand. At that point, I never thought of myself as the creative type, but for some reason I felt really drawn to this little business. I asked the proprietor if I could take lessons from him, (which in retrospect was probably really annoying) and he graciously agreed.

Kristen in an outtake from the Minoux Spring 2011 shoot.

Who did you admire that helped mentally get you started?
I had a couple of friends who were thriving at running their own businesses, and that definitely laid the mental groundwork that I needed in order to believe that what I was doing was reasonable. And now that I’m thinking about it, everyone in my family is self-employed–even my grandparents were. So, clearly, that shaped my expectations of what work is, too.

How do you unwind?
During the summer, trips to the Washougal River, weeding in the garden and birdwatching. During the winter, candy and movies.

#1 dream vacation?
Matt has family in Slovenia, so we’ve been dying to visit for the past couple of years. I secretly dream of moving there and living on the coast.

Who is your style icon?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one, but I’m going to say Joan Jett. I guess that’s kind of an odd choice, especially considering my jewelry aesthetic, but I saved up to buy I Love Rock n’ Roll when I was in third or fourth grade. It was a VERY big purchase–my first album ever. I remember being obsessed with her look on the cover. I’m sure the fact that she was a badass fronting a band had something to do with it, too. I think I’ve just always been inspired by her style, in every sense of the word.

One of Kristen's style icons, Joan Jett!

What are your fantasy scores for your home and closet right now?
1. nuLOOM vintage overdyed rug 2. Lauren Moffatt Safety Joe felted sweater or Vincent Black Lightning dress, but I would take anything from that collection 3. Hasbeens jodhpur boot or the Sanita Peggy Sue boot, either way I’m good. 4. Miu Miu glitter pumps, or geometric mary janes from their Spring collection 5. Jil Sander black and white cable sweater 6. Donald Glover on my doorstep wearing the orange cords from his GQ spread.

Current snack of choice?
Rosewater pistachio cake from Back to Eden (Editor’s note: YESSS!)

Current fave restaurant?
Favorite restaurant is really hard. Maybe it’s a tie between Lincoln and Ned Ludd. I’m also excited to try Natural Selection.

What’s your poison? Current cocktail or soft drink of choice?
Iced Dragonfly mint fennel rooibos tea.

Tell us something people don’t already know about you.
I dislike the color red. I can juggle clubs and and do a really primitive beat box at the same time.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Shape-shifting, a la True Blood.

#1 pet peeve?
People who are loud in quiet places.

Kristen working in the Minoux studio.

Are you reading or watching anything lately that inspires you?
I recently finished The Living by Annie Dillard. I was practically in rapture the entire book, and forced myself to read very slowly in order to savor it as long as possible. It’s the story of five pioneer families who settled on the coast of Washington during the mid-to-late 19th century, and I think it’s best thing I’ve ever read.

Dream concert. Living or dead, Top 5 bands who are playing for you.
I’m going with dead or defunct, just because it makes it easier. In no particular order:
Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Can, Elliott Smith

Top 5 albums of all-time that you would have to have if you were stranded on a desert island.
Ha! I started thinking about this too hard, instead of my absolute favorites, I actually started envisioning potential conditions if I really were stranded on an island. Then picked music for those situations. Like, I need something to make me feel tough and competent, I’m gonna make it through and get off this island, dammit!
OK, time to put on some Missy Elliott.

The Mountain Goats–The Sunset Tree
Wilco–Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Explode–Into Colors
Missy Elliott–Under Construction
Prince–Purple Rain

Center of Gravity necklaces from Minoux Jewelry.

What are some other shops online that you love? Any sort.
Alder & Co, Hindsvik, Mid Century Modern Finds, Dear Golden, The Estate Store

Do you collect some specific things for your own home?
I try really hard not to collect things. My brain starts to itch if I’m surrounded by too much stuff. But I do have a severe weakness for vintage bottles and glassware of all types. I bought this sweet little mid-century porcelain Fukagawa Arita cup at the thrift store and I gaze at it lovingly pretty much every day.

Where do you live? What’s it like?
I live on a half-acre urban farm in Portland. Or really, it’s becoming an urban farm. When Matt and I bought it about a year ago, it was pretty much a huge grass square and a big barn. We’ve been maniacally eradicating grass, planting trees, and expanding garden space. I’ve become pretty boring, because all I want to do lately is work in the yard! I really love it here, it’s a sweet spot. Even just a mile further away from the center of the city than we used to be, there are so many more birds and big trees, and our neighbors are rad. Matt can still bike to work, and my commute is just across the driveway to the barn.

And pretty soon we’re getting ducks, which I’m totally geeked out about. I know it’s so stereotypically Portland that it might as well be a Portlandia sketch, but I truly love ducks and chickens so much. Birds in general are endlessly entertaining and fascinating.

One of my outfits for the Minoux Style Circle. Photo by me.

What is your ritual for sitting down and doing your shop updates?
I think my ritual is procrastinating as long as humanly possible, then pulling 14 hour days right up to the edge of my deadline.

Do you have actual dreams that involve your business?
Generally not, although I do design jewelry a lot in that hazy state right before waking or falling asleep.

What is the #1 most awesome thing about owning your shop?
I’m going to cheat and say two things. The first is when customers spontaneously write to tell me about how happy my jewelry has been making them. There’s no better feeling than knowing I’ve created something truly meaningful for someone. The other thing is that owning my own shop is a seriously constant series of personal growth moments. And many of them have little to do with the actual jewelry. I don’t think I would have been doing this for so long if I wasn’t finding so much fulfillment through being consistently personally challenged.

PDX chickens!

Images courtesy of Kristen Robison. Last image by Jen McCabe.


3 Responses to “Meet Kristen from Minoux Jewelry!”
  1. jenny says:

    oh my gosh, she is so sweet.. i have several pieces from her and always receive compliments when i wear them. :) so happy to see kristen featured here!

  2. minoux says:

    Aw, thank you Jenny, that’s so super nice to hear!

    And thank you Jen, this was so fun! And a little bit scary, as long as we’re being honest :)

  3. nicole b. says:

    Great feature! This summer, I won a gift certificate to Minoux Jewelry and chose the tassel earrings:

    When my package arrived, there were little candies inside and a sweet note from Kristen herself. She’s so awesome. I highly recommend pieces from her shop. Looking forward to the new arrivals. xo.