Interview with Kristi Sagrillo of Bugaboo Jewelry, Part One

Kristi Sagrillo

Bugaboo Jewelry Specializes in Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Jewelry

Kristi Sagrillo is a self-taught jeweler who opened her Etsy shop, Bugaboo Jewelry, in 2009.

In addition to running a business, starting up the Bundles of Hope Foundation and being mom to her two sons and daughter, she is a volunteer member of the M.I.S.S. Foundation (which provides support to families who have lost a child). Her third son, Alex, died three weeks before his due date, and much of Kristi’s efforts in her work life and spare time, including Bugaboo Jewelry, are done in his memory.

Kristi specializes in designing personalized silver pendants, bracelets and keychains. What makes her work special, however, is her unique focus on creating customizable, one of a kind memorial jewelry for families who, like hers, have lost a child.

In Part One of my interview, Kristi shares some of the background of her Etsy store and why she created a memorial jewelry business.

In Part Two we discuss the technical aspects of Kristi's designs, which items are best loved by her customers and her Etsy store's far reaching success to date.

In Part Three, Kristi talks about her memorial Christmas ornaments, the nature of perinatal grief and how she works with her clients to create unique and one of a kind customized memorial jewelry.

Kristi's Toolkit: Stamps and Bench Block

Eternity Washer Pendant

Part One

Nicole: Hi Kristi!

Kristi: Hi Nicole.

Nicole: Thank you again for taking the time for my interview.

Kristi: No problem, I'm very happy to do it.

Nicole: Would you mind telling me a bit about yourself and your life before the loss of your son and before Bugaboo Jewelry? Who were you? At what point did you decide to create jewelry for people who, like you, had lost a baby?

Kristi: Before my son died I guess you could describe my life as “perfect”. I had a great job, great friends and family and a very naive look on life. It wasn’t until my son died that that all changed in an instant. I had made beaded bracelets before my son died but only for myself or for family members.

After Alex died I found myself looking for memorial jewelry to wear in remembrance of him, but just wasn’t able to find anything that represented my loss or who I had become since his death. So out of that frustration I decided that I would make my own jewelry. And then I found myself making jewelry for other moms who had lost children.

It wasn’t until a friend suggested that I open a store and sell these to other families that have had a loss. I thought about it for awhile but really didn’t decide to take on the challenge until I started my non-profit, Bundles of Hope. I donate a portion of my profits from Bugaboo to Bundles.

Nicole: Can you tell me about Bundles of Hope?

Kristi: It is a foundation that I started that is designed to assist couples that are in need of financial help for infertility treatments or adoption costs.

Nicole: That is wonderful. I will be taking a look at Bundles of Hope as well.

Kristi: It has been very slow starting up, but I am passionate about getting it launched.

Nicole: I wonder if we could talk about your Etsy store. Where and how did you learn to make jewelry? Did you already have experience running a business?

Kristi: Crazy enough I was sitting in my OB’s office thumbing through a magazine waiting for my appointment when I read an article about Etsy and how easy it was to sell homemade items on it. So I went home that day and opened it. A friend of mine taught me how to design beaded bracelets about 15 years ago. But creating sterling silver pendants was something that I taught myself.

When I first opened up Bugaboo Jewelry I only sold bracelets. Once I had enough money saved up to purchase all of my supplies and tools to make the pendants I dove right in. I took a lot of online courses but pretty much taught myself through a lot of trial and error. I had no experience running a business before.

Nicole: That is impressive. Do you have a dedicated space or a studio for your work?

Kristi: I use my home office. I am sure my family wishes I had a studio to go to because the pounding can get loud.

Daddy of Angels in Heaven Keychain

Nicole: How long did it take you to learn to work with silver, and then begin selling it on Etsy?

Kristi: I practiced for about a week and then once I had control over the metal I began selling pendants. I started out with a few pieces at a time and then as more and more clients asked for custom pieces I added them to the shop, with their permission of course.

Nicole: I am amazed that you taught yourself to work with silver and started selling pieces after a week of teaching yourself! I thought you were going to tell me that you were an art student, or a jeweler.

Kristi: I have always been very artistic. I can look at something and recreate it very quickly.

Nicole: You must have an eye for design...were you always creative?

Kristi: I do have a Fine Arts Degree.

Nicole: But working with materials that were foreign - you must have been very determined to figure out how do to do it.

Kristi: Yes, very determined. Once I get something in my head I have to figure it out.

Nicole: Does anyone assist you with creating your jewelry or running your business?

Kristi: Sometimes I wish I could get my kids to help but right now it is just me and I really prefer that. It's kind of like therapy for me.

Nicole: Do you work at Bugaboo full time? Or do you split your time with other work and responsibilities?

Kristi: I typically put in 20-25 hours a week making jewelry and then I work full-time as a web/graphic designer for a company in Denver.

I Can Make Life: Poems About Infertility and Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Birth

I Can Make Life addresses the impact of fertility treatments, pregnancy, miscarriage and birth as it re-traces the poet's long journey to her son -- and finally, to peace.
I Can Make Life addresses the impact of fertility treatments, pregnancy, miscarriage and birth as it re-traces the poet's long journey to her son -- and finally, to peace. | Source

About Nicole Breit

Nicole Breit's deput poetry collection, I Can Make Life, explores the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual impact of fertility treatments, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and birth. I Can Make Life was a finalist for the 2012 Mary Ballard Poetry competition. Her essay, “For Tristan: A Meditation on Loss, Grief and Healing” was published in The Sound of Silence: Journeys Through Miscarriage (Wombat Books, 2011). She is also the author of a number of online pregnancy loss resources.

Continue Reading This Interview

In Part Two of my interview with Kristi Sagrillo we discuss the technical aspects of her memorial jewelry designs, her best loved items, and her Etsy store's far reaching success.

In Part Three, Kristi talks about her memorial Christmas ornaments, the nature of perinatal grief and how she works with her clients to create unique and one of a kind customized memorial jewelry.

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