Picture of desk with coffee cup and laptop open to Grey Theory Mill shop.

Picture of desk with coffee cup and laptop open to Grey Theory Mill shop.

+ How did you come up with the name “Grey Theory Mill”?

I can’t distinctly recall how Grey Theory came to me. I know that I finally got myself set on some sort of name with the word “grey” in it. Grey is a very significant word and thing to me. Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of black and white thinking. Things, issues, and choices that person X or group Y wanted me to choose between. One was right and the other wrong. This sort of thinking (if you can call it that) has always made me very, very uncomfortable. I could never really commit to a side…I could never be that true black or that true white. I may have looked it, a deep-dark grey, but a lot went into why I was such a dark shade of grey…I thought through every layer, every shade, and could understand why I thought about X, Y, or Z the way I did. Grey became even more significant to me a couple years ago when I went to visit my aunt and uncle in Michigan. It was towards the end of my stay when we got into a philosophical conversation about religion, labels, and thinking. The quote I took from that discussion was, “when people label things, they stop thinking, or at least I do”. My eyes got big…this is that state of grey!! The state of comfortable uncertainty!! My whole being resonated with that non-labeling statement, that state of grey put into words…to label something is to stop learning, to stop asking, to stop truly understanding. Grey is the place where thinking happens…where you work out all the kinks, unwanted curves, and fill in the gaps………or at least, this is my theory…my grey, grey theory.

+ When did Grey Theory Mill start out?

Jonnie officially ventured into the handmade biz world in 2010 under a very whimsial, seriously made-up business name that no one could pronounce, but rebranded to Grey Theory Mill in 2012 ^_^

+ How do you price your work?

I try to be transparent and honest in all that I do. Pricing my work has always been an area of struggle for me...however, selling through brick-and-mortar shops has helped me greatly in this area. Every year I learn more and more about what it takes to be in business. There are so many hidden costs (etsy, shopify, paypal, stamps(dot)com, website domains, apps, square--they all take their cut) and I never know when one of my material suppliers will raise their prices. All that being said, it is always my goal to keep every piece of jewelry affrodable and under forty dollars.

+ Why haven't I recieved any correspondence about my order?

Our shopify is set up to send out all correspondence automatically upon order confirmation & once your order ships. We've only noticed problems with gmail accounts. Gmail is SO good at filtering potential spam, that sometimes our shopify automation is flagged as such. Give you promotions tab OR spam folder a quick look and see if our emails have been going there. Regardless, sorry about that and we hope you LOOOOOOVE your new jewelry :O)

+ How long till I receive my order?

We ship out orders as quickly as we can, but typically items are shipped within 2-5 business days (sometimes the same day!) It all depends on our current order load and if the item is ready to ship or needs to be made. Once shipped, it depends on the method of shipping chosen. First class in usually 3-5 business days and priority mail is 1-3 business days.

+ I am placing my order from outside the USA, why is there a chance that I may have to pay more when it gets to my postal office?

This question is geared mostly towards UK customers. A VAT charge is what the Royal Mail charges for items over a certain dollar/GBP amount. Being in the USA, there is no way we can account for this cost/collect it at the time of purchase because the VAT (or the like) does not exist in the States. The postage you pay through Etsy/Shopify accounts for what the platform thinks it costs/typically costs, but all countries may have differing customs that incur costs that are paid directly to them. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it is truly out of our control. We’ve only encountered this issue with customers in England, but there are so many countries that we cannot pretend to know everyone’s postal and tax procedures.

+ How come your earrings aren’t waterproof?

Grey Theory Mill earrings are not considered waterproof for a couple reasons. They are not being made by a factory with machines, each one is hand assembled by myself--Jonnie--or my right hand gal, Monica :) However, there is some wiggle room with this...the brass/silver plated earrings won’t disintegrate if water touches them. If you forget to take them off before getting into the shower they’ll be fine...just don’t make it a habit! The oxygen in water oxidizes the brass to a dark color quickly and over time the water temperature could compromise the integrity of the bond between earring post and earring piece.

+ What do you mean when you say your earrings are hypoallergenic?

Grey Theory Mill earrings are made with 100% Surgical Grade A Titanium earring wire. Titanium is one of the only truest hypoallergenic metals as it contains NO traces of nickel (the most common sensitive skin allergy). Grey Theory Mill earrings provide comfortable all day wear with no itch!

+ How can I get my brass to look like it did when I first purchased it?

Easy! You can shine it up with jeweler’s cloth, like this one or a bit a lemon juice!

+ Why did you want to start a handmade business?

I don’t think I set out to start a business, I just think my subconscious knew all along I still wanted to major in art (I freaked out when I was about to transfer to an art program with the thought, “I can’t major in art!! What will I do when I graduate?!”) so I tethered myself to the idea of having an art store. I loved the handmade movement and even more so the idea of being able to create practical art and wares for others (my favorite kind of art). It has evolved many times since its initial creation and I couldn’t be happier!

+ Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

I think the more appropriate question is, where don’t you get inspiration for your work? With that being said, I think I have inspiration ADHD. I am inspired by so many facets of living that it’d be hard for me to say just one. I wish I could just say “nature” and be done with it, but I think for me, human culture is my biggest muse. I love science, I love words, I LOVE books, I love learning, I love dynamics of relationships, I love watching, I love dreaming (and have been given a few ideas in my dreams!) I always keep a notebook on me because I never know when inspiration will hit.

+ What makes Grey Theory Mill unique?

Well, I don’t believe that Grey Theory Mill is 100% unique. I am unique as a person, we all are, but as far as handmade brands go, I am a huge proponent that there is nothing new under the sun. One of my most favorite art professors once said that she sees art as a river. You add to the river and take from the river, but it is still a variation of said river water...maybe some rocks..maybe some sand, you get the idea. With that being said, I think I come up with some pretty clever, unique-ish items, and try to steer clear of the items that are densley saturated in my field.

+ Do you take custom orders?

YES, but to an extent. We do not melt metal and we do not necessarily venture out too far from our current line. Anything stamped is 100% customizable and neckalces can be made shorter/longer per request. More questions? Drop us a line at hello@greytheorymill.com

+ Where is Grey Theory Mill based?

Currently, Grey Theory Mill is based out of the sunny San Diego, California!