Friends Provide Unique Handmade Jewelry That Benefits Local Organizations
Hang ups usually make you think of a prank call by a teenager or a quirk, but Carolyn Adams and Kristi Jurgensen have a different kind of hang up—jewelry made mostly from vintage and repurposed materials.
The two friends, who are originally from Canada and California but now call the Northland home, met about eight years ago and started taking classes together—first on soldering, then wire-wrapping jewelry. From there, their business started.
“Back in the beginning, we were brainstorming names and poking fun at ourselves, which we frequently do. We were talking about all our ‘quirk’s’ and ‘hang ups’ and since our jewelry and ornaments actually hang, we thought it would be fun to call ourselves Hang Ups. The ‘in KC’ was added to identify ourselves as local to Kansas City,” Adams says.
There are many places to buy jewelry locally, from craft stores to chain stores, but Adams feels their business has a unique approach.
“We repurpose/upcycle – which is an amazing movement that has become very popular over the past several years,” Adams says. “We try to use ‘ingredients’ that are unique in our jewelry. I think the quality and originality of the pieces that we make really stand out. We are very passionate about our Hang Ups and have a ton of fun every step of the way. We laugh and say that we can make jewelry out of just about anything. I think our passion and fun spirit shines through. We make friends wherever we go and pride ourselves in sharing with other entrepreneurs instead of viewing them as competitors.”
That passion for jewelry merged with wanting to give back to the community, and two non-profit partnerships were formed. Adams is the daughter of a librarian and a substitute librarian, and reading is important to her, so a partnership with Literacy Kansas City felt natural. Both Adams and Jurgenson have children who are orchestra musicians. They feel very strongly about keeping arts in the schools, and a partnership with Our Band of Angels fits that. A portion of the proceeds goes back to these organizations.
“Our non-profit partnerships are what truly inspires us and gives us our focus/purpose,” Adams says. “Our Literacy Kansas City Collection is dedicated to the joy of reading and comes in the form of inspirational words and quotes. It includes everything from stamped pewter and silverware to typewriter key jewelry. Band of Angels is a program designed to collect used musical instruments for kids in need so that they can join band & orchestra programs. Our Band of Angels Collection consists of jewelry made from retired musical instruments that cannot be repaired. We have made jewelry from flutes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, violins, violas and cellos, to name a few. Working with these instruments is really fun and is quite uncommon.”
Adams and Jurgenson have found a way to mix being entrepreneurs with their creative spirit, and their friendship into a fun company.
Hang ups usually make you think of a prank call by a teenager or a quirk, but Carolyn Adams and Kristi Jurgensen have a different kind of hang upâjewelry made mostly from vintage and repurposed materials.“We definitely walk to the beat of our own drummer,” Adams says. “We have no desire to ever mass produce. If we are not passionate about something, we don’t do it. I think that’s why we’ve been able to make this partnership and small business work – we stay true to our values and our vision for our local handmade business.”