After living in Wyoming for three years, Courtney Fleming came back with the inspiration she needed to start her own jewelry-making business, Rocking C Designs.
Her pieces on display Saturday at the annual Flowery Branch Fall Festival were inspired by the country and Western aesthetics she saw daily, and some of the supplies she uses are from the state.
The name spawned from the way farmers brand their livestock. She also learned how to work with leather from a saddlemaker in Wyoming.
“I’m a one-woman company,” Fleming, 32, said. She does everything herself, from sourcing materials to creating the jewelry and running her Etsy shop.
Fleming said she would pick up deer antlers in the woods, which she now uses on her necklaces.
“Every one of my pieces are one of a kind,” said the Lawrenceville resident.
All of her supplies are upcycled. She buys long leather belts from thrift shops like Goodwill.
“I stop anywhere that says ‘thrift’ in the window,” she said. “It was my love of thrifting and upcycling that got me into the (jewelry-making business).”
Fleming then cuts the belts into three or four cuffs, where she will then attach a metal plate with song lyrics, Bible verses or other phrases etched into the plate. Each letter is individually pressed into the metal with a riveting hammer.
“I do it all by hand,” she said.
Fleming also offers a customization service, allowing a customer to pick the type of leather and what they want etched into the cuff.
“You can get anything you want — it’s pretty wide open,” Fleming said. She has sold customized cuffs with family initials, for example. They sell for $35 apiece.
Another part of her Western inspiration is apparent in her use of a more affordable yet durable type of turquoise, bullet casings, leather fringe and old brass cow tags.
“Spending time out West inspired me to create (the jewelry),” Fleming said.
Carlie Walters of Flowery Branch picked one of the long layering necklaces with a purple cut-out stone.
“I like the fact that she uses all the rustic type of stuff,” Walters said. She also especially liked the stone, which she said was a unique piece she couldn’t find anywhere else.
While Fleming has been crafting for years, she just opened her Etsy shop in March. You can buy her other items, which include longer necklaces, on her Etsy page.
Fleming also plans to sell her items at festivals. She chose the Flowery Branch fall festival as her first-ever to “get her feet wet” before she tried selling anywhere else.