Mackenzie Williams, the founder and artist behind, The Sercy Studio sat down with DDS to discuss her inspiration, creative process, and the rapid growth of her company. It is very appropriate that The Sercy Studio was born from her first sercy of blessing beads, which she gave to her friend in 2012. Just a year later, she opened her studio in Atlanta and let others bring these cherished goods to their loved ones.
What inspired you to start The Sercy Studio?
Back in 2012, my aunt Ruth was sick and received prayer beads as a gift. She really loved the gift, and I loved the gesture! I soon designed my own version and called them "Blessing Beads". Ruth, also used the term 'sercy', [a southern term to describe a little unexpected gift], and was the queen of giving little gifts just out of love. Plus, she was an artist! She was a big influence on my business for all these reasons.
What was your initial vision for your designs? How did you decide what materials would be best?
I knew I wanted my blessing beads to be one-of-a-kind and handmade. Making each pendant out of clay and hand-painting the beads made the blessing beads feel special.
What are you favorite materials to use?
I use wood beads, clay, twine and lots of paint! I buy everything from US vendors.
What makes your process different?
Lots of love and attention goes into one strand of blessing beads! They are a true labor of love. Some steps along the way include, hand painting each bead, forming pendants (crosses and hearts) out of clay, firing the clay, and dressing everything in gold leaf. Once all the parts are made, we use twine to string everything together.
Are you working on any exciting new goods?
Yes! I love Valentines Day, and it is the perfect holiday to give a sercy. I am working on a few Valentines projects. I will also have new blessing bead styles to share in 2016.
How was your first trade show experience? What did you like about it or dislike? How many shops are now carrying your line from the show?
I was both overwhelmed and excited with the idea of scaling up my business. The show was lots of fun! Our booth looked amazing (thanks to Jessica and Ashley of DSS) and being part of Deep South Social was a great way to show at the Atlanta market. Before my first trades show in July 2015, I had about 10 wholesalers carrying my sercies. Now, I have about 85 amazing stores that sell blessing beads. I would say the experience was a success!
Is there anything further that you would like to share with us?
I have so many people to thank for supporting me and encouraging me. It took me a while to believe that someone would want to buy something I made! Thank you DSS girls for introducing me to the wholesale world and supporting me along the way.
Mackenzie Williams' sercies are the perfect example of bringing classic charm to our present day. Each strand and ornament is laden with adornment and devotion reflected to the receiver of such a gift. We certainly cannot wait to see her progress in the New Year.