RISE+SHINEdesign's earrings give confidence
From chunky shapes to flowy tassels, RISE+SHINEdesign founder ASHLEY TOTI creates earrings that can make any look stand out.
RISE+SHINEdesign carries polymer clay earrings, tassel earrings made from embroidery thread, and beaded earrings all hand made by Toti in her home.
“I make the jewelry from the comfort of my kitchen table,” she says. “It is my dream to have my own craft room, which will soon be a reality once I have a house in Wilmington come August. I have two rolling craft carts that carry all of my supplies!”
Toti started RISE+SHINEdesign in March of 2019, two months before graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work from UNCW.
At the time, she worked three different jobs and was an intern at the Open Gate in Wilmington.
“I needed a creative outlet for myself – a form of self-care,” Toti says. “I have always loved fashion, ever since I could remember. I truly believe a pair of earrings can make your entire outfit. Between needing a creative outlet and my love for fashion, RISE+SHINEdesign was born.”
Toti also says another motivating factor for starting RISE+SHINEdesign was to give women a boost of courage and self-confidence.
“Rise+shine’s mantra is ‘giving you a reason to rise to the occasion and shine everywhere you go,’” she says. “For most of my life, ‘rise up’ has been been a mantra of mine while working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Another reason why I love making my earrings is because it gives a woman the confidence to feel whole again. And we all need that.”
Toti shares her design inspiration, her new mystery box, and goals she has for the business.
WILMA: How do you get inspired to create designs?
Toti: “There are a lot of jewelry makers out there with unique and amazing designs. I try to stay as original and unique as possible by adhering to all individual’s personal styles – not just my own. Even if I wouldn’t personally wear the pair of earrings I made – that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t! Every day people inspire me to create the designs I make.”
WILMA: What is the Monthly Mystery Box and how did you come up with it?
Toti: “The Monthly Mystery Box began late April. A monthly box was already in the works when a friend of mine came to me and suggest that it could be a ‘mystery’ one. Meaning that customers would fill out what they like/don’t like, what their color preference is and what ‘mood’ they are feeling that month. Based on these answers, I create four unique pairs of earrings to match their style — all for only $25.”
WILMA: RISE+SHINEdesign is a side business, how do you manage working, running the business, and creating products?
Toti: “I started this business when I was already working three other jobs and graduating with my Bachelors. I recently just graduated with my Master of Social Work in May of 2020. In grad school, I was working two jobs at UNCW, an internship, and I am currently an advocate at the Open Gate. I would create my Instagram content the night before and post the next day, spend time in my car making videos to post on my stories, create earrings early in the morning before heading to class or work, and spend weekends filling orders and dropping them off at the post office! And online order pick is a lifesaver for me.”
WLMA: What is your goal for RISE+SHINEdesign?
Toti: “My biggest goal for RISE+SHINEdesign is for those who engage with me and buy my creations to feel like they are worthy of all the good things in this world. It is my hope that when they put a pair of earrings on, they feel like they can rise to any occasion and take on the world. For the earrings to serve as a reminder that they have a light that needs to shine wherever they go.”
Click here to read the May WILMA digital issue.