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December 21, 2023

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Time flies — and exceptionally fast during the holiday season. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you probably know that journaling is a staple in my personal wellness practice. Putting pen to paper brings clarity, serves as a catalyst for ideas to take shape, and gives new insights a place to grow roots. I think best of all, a reflection practice offers a deep feeling of gratitude to look back on later. So, as we bid 2023 farewell, I’d like to take a beat to celebrate the highs, learn from the lows, and honor all the milestones we’ve reached in between. Read on for some of the most noteworthy CMD moments of the year!

When I began this business just over 18 years ago, I had no idea it would blossom into what it is today. What started as a one-woman show in my bedroom in San Francisco has blossomed into this epic team of five like-minded, hard-working and independent women today. From design to delivery, we do it allhandcrafting each piece with passion and care.

When you find the right people and let them do their thing, the results are truly astounding. As a small team, every skill-set goes a long way and I’m so grateful for the creativity, curiosity, and strong work ethic that keeps us so tied together. I can honestly say that I have the dream team, and that it's made all the difference to CMD’s success throughout this whole journey.

In this day and age, it's a rarity for employees to stick around for a long time. That’s why I’m extremely proud to share that this year, CMD celebrated 18 years in business and several work anniversaries, to boot! Sam’s been with CMD 7+ years, Kelsey 6+ years, Aryana 8+ years and Jill 2+ years. Oh, and Miglia, our team mascot, has been my faithful companion and co-worker for 5 years now. When people visit the studio, Migs greets everyone with wildly wagging tail. She goes with me everywhere and rocks our signature brand colors 24/7. That's my baby, Migs!

I also hold such a deep love and appreciation for all the incredible people that help to hold this company up from the outside in. These people make up what I like to refer to as "The Extended CMD Family." This group includes family, friends, and customers that feel like family. I'm always so touched by our followers who support us from afar, sharing feedback and the encouragement to keep doing what we love and creating beautiful things. If you're reading these words, I'm speaking directly to you. Your support means the world to us — thank you.

2023 was the year of working smarter, not harder and taking longer breaks in between. For much of my career, I was so spread thin, running ragged while growing CMD from the ground up. Now I work with more intention…focusing more on fewer things. It’s a work in progress but we are certainly seeing better results (and I’m enjoying myself a little more, too!). This year we launched smaller collections and more individual designs — many of which have then gone on to become best-sellers.

As a designer, the joy and fulfillment that comes with unveiling new pieces is like no other. A big part of creative discipline is building the time, space and means to create into my everyday routines. I’ve found that the more consistent I am with my solo studio time, the more likely that the good ideas can actually come to life. It’s a crap shoot sometimes, but I keep pushing forward whether I’ve got new ideas or not. I learned a long time ago that perfectionist tendencies have no business in this process... I like to call it the creativity roller coaster… you’ve gotta stay on and just keep riding.

In the last few years, I’ve allotted increasingly more time and energy into product development. That’s where Sam comes in! Every Tuesday, we meet to review my sketches and ideas so we can begin sampling the new pieces.

During one of our first few product development meetings of 2023, I told Sam about an idea I had for a subtle heart necklace inspired by some of the sketches I often include on my handwritten notes. In all the years I’ve been designing jewelry, I’ve never been compelled to design a heart shaped anything. We got to work right away in hopes of launching in time for Valentine’s Day. The Spread the Love Necklace was only intended to be a limited release item, and I’m blown away almost everyday seeing how popular it’s become. This heirloom-quality sweet and subtle delicate heart necklace design is THE #1 best-seller of the year, and is a new favorite for all gifting occasions.

In April, we launched The Imprinted Collection, consisting of two designs: The Storybook Necklace and The Page Earrings. As the CMD collection has grown over the years, I will say that some pieces take longer than others to design. The concepts materialize but then comes the piles of iterations before the finished piece is truly ready to unveil. The Imprinted Collection, while concise, feels like one of the most special ones in my repertoire and took over a year to design. These personalized heirloom-quality pieces were intended to hold onto some of the most meaningful memories, beings, and places in your life. I wanted these pieces to feel like a small extension of the imprint that each and every one of us leave on the world as we walk through life and write our own stories. Yours is worth telling and treasuring.

The Silver Rogue Ring made its debut in 2022 and quickly became a best-seller. So in June of this year, I had to release it in solid 14k, too! The 12mm wide densa 14k Rogue Ring is available round or square and is the ultimate statement piece and a personal favorite. I’m never taking mine off - I’m obsessed!

In July, The Infinity Necklace was born. This design holds a very special place in my heart. (You can read more about my love of the infinity symbol and what it means to me here). I hope this heirloom-quality symbolic design makes you think of someone you love or helps you to reflect on the beauty of life. It’s intentionally dainty and is a sweet and subtle piece to rest on your decolletage.

This year, we also established The Zodiac Series, a special Celestial Ring Bar. Every ring in this popular new collection was inspired by the unique traits of a zodiac sign. I have to nod to Kelsey here! She’s not only our web and marketing gal, but also a real Astrology guru. This project is her vision and baby. The Zodiac Series is still a growing capsule collection that I’ve been slowly building over time, so if you don’t see your sign – it’s coming in the New Year!

It's been incredibly rewarding to challenge ourselves as a team to be consistently bringing new designs from concept to reality in record time, and pulling everything we need to launch them in-house — product photography and hand-modeling included! Most products that launched this year are a direct result of every member of the team's willingness to try new things and improve through deliberate practice.

Happy Hour began at the height of the pandemic in 2021. Since its start, this event has proven its success many times over and now serves as the perfect test-market for me to be more creative with my designs. This fan-favorite monthly sale kicks off over on Instagram Stories and features limited edition ring and bracelet designs at a sweet discount for a limited time only. When the sale ends, these collectible stacking designs go back into the CMD vault. (The Happy Hour Sale will return sometime in early 2024, so check back next year for that announcement.)

Looking ahead as the founder of CMD, I’m often contemplating where we’re heading and how we’re going to get there. We continue to face new and bigger challenges as we grow and this year was no different. I make it a point to embrace opportunities to adapt, and to always remain open to changing the way we do things. I’m constantly looking at the bigger picture, the health of the team, and always striving to improve.

Being a team of five, we all wear many hats, and it was growing apparent that we ALL needed more vacation time. So at the start of 2023, I made a pact with myself to find more ways for the whole team to unplug this year. We inaugurated the official CMD Summer and an Extended Winter Breaks where the whole team takes vacation and allow ourselves to hit pause… It's been amazing and we’re ready for our upcoming break!

That being said… for about two weeks beginning Monday, December 25th, the CMD team will be offline. We won't really be posting on social media and we won't be answering phone calls, texts or emails. While we're away, the website is live and you can place orders as usual. We won't be offering express shipping as we'll be out of the studio for the most part. Production time on orders received during the week will be slightly delayed until our return on Monday, January 8th. We appreciate all your support this year, and think that you deserve a break, too! 🙂

If you want to return or exchange a CMD piece you received as a gift, you may do so for store credit by Monday, January 15th. Any requests or inquiries received while we’re out of the studio over the break will be processed when we return on Monday, January 8th.

Need a last minute stocking stuffer? Our Priority and Express shipping cut-off times have passed, but our E-Gift Cards arrive in minutes and allow your loved ones to choose the pieces they adore the most! From now until the end of the year, we’re gifting you a FREE $25 gift card for every $150 spent online — that includes other gift card orders. Shop before this offer expires on Sunday, December 31st at midnight Pacific! Please note: If you'd like your E-Card(s) to be sent to an email address different than the one used to make the purchase, please leave a note at checkout so we can get it to the right spot.

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If you’re local to Asbury Park, I have only TWO more Open Studio Events remaining before we officially close out 2023. Swing by any either of the following events and let’s make your holiday sparkle together!

OPEN STUDIO HOURS
at The CMD Shop
Friday, December 22nd
12pm - 6pm
learn more & get directions
 

LAST OPEN STUDIO HOURS OF 2023
at The CMD Shop
Saturday, December 23rd
12pm - 6pm
learn more & get directions
 

As hard as my team and I work, I do have to stop and occasionally pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming. I’m so proud that I’ve been able to manifest my CMD vision into this reality I find myself in these days. I'm amazed by how far we've come, and am confident the direction we’re headed.

I feel so unbelievably grateful to be a successful working artist, designer and entrepreneur. I feel proud of all the years of hard work and dedication it took to get us here. I feel so supported by an incredible team that never stops blowing my mind, and I can't wait to see what we accomplish together in 2024.

From the bottom of my heart, thank YOU for following along and for believing in me…in us. I love you all so much and couldn’t do this without you.

 
With so much gratitude,
Colleen's Signature

1 Response

astrologerdevanand
astrologerdevanand

March 29, 2024

I loved studying your blog post on reflections from 2023! It was once well-written and insightful. I look forward to extra gorgeous content from your site. Keep up the excellent work!

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