+ 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 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.

+ 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, but in the sense that it has established my pricing for me. It is because I sell in physical shops (in addition to Etsy) I must match the highest price tag of my current stockists. To offset this increase on certain items, I DO NOT charge for the shipping of those said items and offer a reduced shipping rate for international orders. However, with that being said, every Etsy transaction costs money, for both you and I. I pay Etsy the listing fee, they take a percentage of the sale, and if you pay through direct checkout (or paypal) I pay either company a percentage for that purchase. The more and more I play business, the more and more I learn!

+ 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?

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

+ How come your earrings aren’t waterproof?

Grey Theory Mill earrings are not waterproof because they are handmade. They are not being made by a factory with machines, each one is hand assembled by me :) However, there is some wiggle room with this...the brass 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. The emojis and wooden earrings are 100% NOT WATERPROOF. The emojis’ color will run and the wood will soak up the water and pull away from the post.

+ 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 my store is 100% unique. I am unique as a person, we all are, but as far as handmade stores go, I am a huge proponent that there is nothing new under the sun. Sure no one had thought to do make emoji's into earrings on etsy yet (as far as I am aware), but I in no way designed emojis, just the idea of making them wearable. Not many people decide to use Grade A titanium so their earrings can be worn by anyone. Yes, I designed the dream big logo and put it on a shirt, but that is not a new motto that is unique to Grey Theory Mill. 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. I think what makes handmade stores unique is that you actually decide to go for it. You decided to go to the river, take some water and in turn, put some water back. The uniqueness is the doing. Not many people “do”.

+ Do you take custom orders?

Yes! On most items. Earrings, necklaces, and prints. I believe shirts are the only items that are “as is”. Turnaround time varies, but usually items can be completed within a week and shipped promptly upon their completion.

+ Where is Grey Theory Mill based?

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