For most of us, garages are for cars, bikes, and all kinds of dusty, forgotten treasures. But for some, they are the headquarters of a dream. Think Apple, Amazon, Disney, and Google, all of which began in a humble garage. And right now, something similar is happening at BackCountry with resident Carrie Schafer’s jewelry business, Original Hardware.
Ok, maybe we’ll wait and see about the world domination part, but Carrie’s wholesale business has happily expanded to the point that she will be moving into a retail shop in downtown Littleton on September 1. But faithful readers don’t have to wait for opening day. Shop her website now and get a 20% discount on your entire purchase using the promo code Backcountry at checkout!
And what can you purchase on the Original Hardware website? Handcrafted jewelry with a rustic aesthetic, ideal for layering with other pieces. You’ll find earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings in silver and mixed metal, with diamonds and other stones. Carrie and her team of two other designers use handcrafted components, ethically-sourced materials and 100% recycled sterling silver in an effort to “tread lightly on the planet.” So far, the jewelry has been sold in 100 high-end boutiques and the prestigious Sundance catalog.
BackCountry open space provides excellent photo ops for product shots like this, taken just outside the Sundial House.
“Everything is made in my BackCountry studio,” says Carrie. “Once the Littleton space is ready and we’ve moved in, I plan to keep the garage studio for a bit. I like to get up early in the morning as the sun rises and work on new pieces in there.” (Her garage studio does have some creature comforts, like a chandelier.)
Carrie’s career shift was dramatic. “I was working as a VP for a global software company when a coworker came into the office with a bracelet she’d made,” says Carrie. “I’ve always been fascinated with rocks and metal, and in some way my life has had some creative energy to it. Once I bought a few stones and jewelry supplies, I was hooked.” Beyond some basic metalsmithing courses, Carrie is entirely self-taught. She says that “everything else has been learned the hard way and I have the scars and Band-Aids to prove it!”
Carrie started the company in 2003 and she and son Evan, 9, have lived in BackCountry since 2008. “I’ve lived in Highlands Ranch for 20 years and I knew when BackCountry was starting to develop that it was something special,” she says. “And it really is. There’s nothing like it in Highlands Ranch.”
Also shot in BackCountry. Carrie and Evan, with significant other Chris McGinnis and daughters Grace and Abby.
Carrie loves the trails, where she mountain bikes on her lunch hour, but she says that more than anything it’s the people that make it special. “I’ve made so many great friends here,” says Carrie. “There are many creative entrepreneurs that live in BackCountry, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. What I love about this community is the genuine support I’ve received.”
Continue that support, BackCountry residents and friends, with a visit to the website, or in September when the Original Hardware shop opens at 2336 W. Main Street in historic downtown Littleton.
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