We had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Asis creator of Cadette Jewelry. Allison hand makes each piece from her collection in her Toronto-based studio using traditional metalsmith techniques. From drafting initial sketches, to using a fabrication or wax casting approach – Allison’s meticulous process allows her to create handcrafted, quality pieces that women can feel proud to wear and cherish.
Cadette Jewelry features contemporary designs that are largely influenced by Allison's love for modern art & design, nature, and the journey of womanhood. She credits her entrepreneurial spirit to her mother, Fay, who passed from cancer when Allison was 18. It was from her mother that she gained an unwavering commitment to live each day with passion and purpose.
Allison values the importance of full transparency between maker & wearer. She shares ongoing clips of her work process, sources of inspiration, and more, through her YouTube videos, Cadette Journal and Instagram channel. It's her mission to inspire followers & clients to make conscious purchase decisions and constantly question how and where items are made.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Allison.
Tell me a bit about yourself (name, where you’re from, what you do, what interests you etc.)
My name is Allison Asis, I was born and raised in Mississauga. As a teen, I longed to be in the bustling city, so as soon as I graduated from university, I moved downtown and lived there for several years. I currently live in Etobicoke and am enjoying being the ‘middle ground’ between the city and suburbia.
I’ve always has a truly creative spirit, ever since I was a child. I loved to draw, paint, create things and use my hands.
During university, where I majored in media & communications, as well as art history, I recognized a deep desire to still have a creative outlet. It was during those uni years that I kicked off a personal style blog (when blogs were on the rise), and ran my blog for several years, acquiring a great following. But soon after, I realized I had another calling – I wanted to create tangible items to put out into the world. Eventually, in 2013, I began making basic jewelry and quickly fell in love with it. Over the next few years, I took several metalsmithing classes on evenings & weekends, and gradually, Cadette Jewelry came to fruition.
Can you speak to how you got to where you are today? (Driving forces, mentors, gut feelings?)
The jewelry classes that I took were a huge factor to developing the technical skills & fundamentals I needed to become a metalsmith. But I definitely felt challenged during the early years – I had so many ideas but couldn’t bring them to life because my skill-set just wasn’t there yet.
I did my best to not be so hard on myself, and became focused on putting in the necessary hours to simply MAKE things.
I continuously crafted pieces, tweaking and refining my techniques along the way. I must say I’m proud of where I am today as a jeweler – the pieces you now see in the line are now aligned with my vision more than ever. None-the-less, I still am learning SO much everyday as I continue to make each piece, and there are still many other styles of jewelry-making that I’d love to learn.
It will forever be an ongoing process.. And I love that!
Truth be told, a lot of my mentorship has come from podcasts I’ve been obsessively listening to, or books I’m reading. They’ve collectively taught me SO much – from marketing, to researching, to techniques and more. It blows my mind how much information is readily available to us, online.
When I think of my main driving forces, I think of two straight away: My mother is the #1 force.
She passed from Cancer when I was 18 and didn’t get to see myjourney with Cadette when she was here, but I feel her guiding me now. She always wanted to open her own small business, but didn’t get the chance to, and I feel I’m doing it now for both of us.
My second greatest force is my calling. I’ve been listening to the voice in my heart more closely than ever, and it tells me that my calling is to create: to create pieces that empower women, and make them feel beautiful, confident and expressive. At the moment, those pieces are jewelry, but something tells me it may blossom into other forms of art in the future, as well.
Anytime I feel lost or doubt myself throughout this journey, I re-visit both of those forces, and they give me all the strength I need to keep going.
What project past, present or future has been most meaningful to you?
I must say just seeing each piece of jewelry go from a mere idea to a wearable, tangible piece – that is undoubtedly the most meaningful experience that will always be surreal to me.
When women respond, wear, and fall in love with a given piece, I get a feeling that is truly indescribable, and it honestly brings me to tears when I really stop and think about it. I feel so honoured each & every time someone chooses a piece of Cadette Jewelry, especially when there are endless options at their fingertips.
If you had to collectively name the message you are trying to portray through your work, what would it be?
I’m trying to show women that meaningful design and craftsmanship is important in this day and age, especially where there is just SO much being produced, in such excess. And that women deserve to have thoughtfully-made products in & around their everyday lives.
I share a lot of my handmade process on Instagram for that full transparency, to hopefully inspire the audience to question how and where things are made, more and more.
Every design within the Cadette Jewelry line has a sincere story or meaning behind it – drawing inspiration from the journey of womanhood, to the organic beauty of nature, to artwork that I connect with.
Cadette Jewelry equips the mindful woman with aesthetically beautiful pieces that also have a story, spirit & soul infused into them – ultimately, jewelry that women can feel great about wearing.
Are there any societal ideas about women you feel particularly need to be challenged?
Yes. I’ve become very passionate about the world of entrepreneurship in the past few years, as I push (as hard as I can) to continue to grow Cadette. And am aware that both societal perception and statistics indicate that male-run small businesses are more likely to possess the ‘gravitas’ to successfully remain in business for longer periods of time, than female-led businesses.
I am endlessly blown away by the fight, ambition, and strength I see in so many female entrepreneurs I’ve been meeting over the past while, and there is no doubt in mind we will see this perception and statistic change.
Who is one woman who inspires you?
My mother. As mentioned above, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her selfless acts of love & generosity to all those around her that I was so blessed to witness while she was here, that have influenced & inspired me to persevere and continue building Cadette, as well as to never lose sight of my calling, which is to create and share my art with the world.
As a creative finding your path, what words of advice do you have for the easy. Community?
Two critical pieces of advice that were given to me, and that I’d love to share, are:
1 - Life is short, do it now. It sounds simple, but many of us still get held back from achieving our FULL potential and dreams because of the pressures that society or other ‘forces’ put on us. We only have one life to live, and if a certain goal or dream that you want to pursue seems scary or risky, just start with baby steps – and watch those steps grow organically.
2 - You don’t get what you don’t ask for. In other words, be bold, have courage, go out and get what you want! I’ve had my struggles just idly sitting by, hoping & wishing things I wanted would come along. But that just doesn’t happen – you have to prove to yourself and the universe that, that ‘thing,’ that you seek, is MEANT to be yours – and you often have to make it happen yourself.