Meet Heidi, the stunningly creative, leather and gemstone adorned warrior princess of handcrafted jewelry.
The creator of the “live light, be light” lifestyle for yogis all over NJ – and far beyond.
Yogis often assume “virabhadrasana” simply translates to “warrior”, since it is the sanskrit we hear as we move into the Warrior poses. But when you break it down, this is what you get:
“Vira” is: “Brave person, or hero”
“Bhadra” is: “Blessed, prosperous, fortunate”
And when you meet the owner, founder and creator of Aha Crafted, Heidi Dametz, you fall in love with how she began building the Aha Crafted brand, like a creative warrior on a mission.
Heidi is a blessed, beautiful and brave woman, who took a chance and believed in her creativity.
The dream for the business began taking shape long before Heidi had a name for it or even a fully formed concept. She designed her own handcrafted jewelry and sold it during college, setting up shop anywhere and everywhere – from boutiques, consignment shops and craft shows to festivals, concerts and even her beach towel at the Jersey Shore.
Heidi humorously described her pop-up shops as “Shakedown Street” but in truth, she was building a foundation for what is now a flourishing business, a dynamic brand and a creative endeavor infused with life, love, intention and compassion.
On why she became a designer
Owning my own business has been a dream of mine since I started working as a teenager. I’ve had a few other endeavors before Aha Crafted, doing things that in theory were really great ideas, but that I just wasn’t very passionate about. I naturally tired of them all. Designing jewelry has been something I’ve done for fun for as long as I can remember. The magic happened when I finally realized that the key to owning my own business was to merge it with something I was passionate about and had a natural talent for. That is how Aha was born and, I suppose, how I landed the official title of “Designer” (which I love the sound of, by the way).
On her design aesthetic
We want women to feel our earrings effortlessly add to anything they wear and are an extension of who they are. We don’t have a specific style niche and that is one of the elements I love so much about our product. Our earrings truly compliment any style and any outfit. Whether its a gown, t-shirt and jeans or kick around work out/yoga clothes; you can put on our earrings and they will work with any ensemble. Our combination of luxury with natural earth elements creates a bold yet soft statement. The varying shapes and sizes also allow for women to more fully customize their look: do they want a loud statement piece? Or a delicate accoutrement? We’ve got options, which I love!
On her point-of-view
Aha Crafted grew straight from my hunger and love for jewelry making and the need to create, so my point of view around the brand has always been one of connecting myself, my beliefs and my interests to the brand and designs. Our leather earring collections are built from the surroundings, activities and people my partner Jamie and I personally fill our lives with. We gather inspiration from the surf community, nature, art, yoga, musicians and mysticism in daily life. Anything I see that inspires me is liable to end up in my work somehow.
On her muses
It’s difficult to pin point specific, unwavering muses, because to be honest I’m a little all over the place! Every day I find myself inspired by or drawn to different designers, creators & artists. Using social media, I’ve found a constant flow of different idea stimulus; even just a quick scroll through Instagram will lead me to a dozen designers that I quickly become obsessed with. If I had to really narrow down a few that influence my passion and general vibes, I’d say Jen Rossi from Jen’s Pirate Booty (her unique, bohemian gypsetter designs are truly inspiring) and Ally Hyneck, creator of Nena & Co (she’s created a unique business model that has changed the lives of many Guatemalan artisans.) Both ladies leave me feeling I’ve something to aspire to! In general, I seem to be drawn to artsy, powerful lady entrepreneurs!
On growing a business
When we first started I had extremely big dreams for the brand (and still do). While I think it is great to think big, there is so much that goes into building a start-up business, that you really need to narrow your focus on a day to day basis. When my thoughts get overwhelmed by everything that has to be done to bring the brand to the place I envision, versus focusing on daily tasks and small obtainable goals, I can end up feeling frozen by stress. It really requires taking things day by day, minute by minute. Over the last two years I’ve learned you can dream big while at the same time focusing in on the smaller details that ultimately make the brand what it is. It can be easy to get off track, which is why having a mission statement and very clear view of your brand is paramount. I take a lot of deep breathes throughout the day and remind myself “it’s okay, in time, everything will get done.” It’s a constant act of surrender!
On work-life balance
Ahhh balance between work and life… that seems to be the ultimate goal, right? When you own a business – balancing life and work can be really tricky. Since so many start-ups are created from a singular passion, there is this grey area that exists between what is work and what is play. A lot of the times I find myself working late into the night and justifying it by saying things like “this is my passion,” or “I love what I do, so it’s okay that I’m working till midnight tonight.” I didn’t think that way when I worked for someone else. It is much easier to draw clear boundaries with other people. It is much harder (and more important) to draw hard boundaries for yourself and be able to stick to them. We all need to turn off and grab downtime to produce our best work. It’s important to remember too, that we are more than our work (even when your work is fun for you.) You have to remember to go experience other aspects of life to be truly fulfilled in a more well-rounded way. Go on vacations! Fall in love! While doing the work you love is a true achievement, it can’t be your whole life. I have to remind myself of this all the time.
On her roots in the Garden State
I moved to New Jersey when I was 17 years old for college and I knew right away that the Garden State was my new home. Living so close to the shore changed my life and was one of the greatest inspirations for the Aha brand. Our ties and proximity to the surf community led to the Aha Signature Earring Shape © being modeled after the surf board. Recently Jamie and I set up shop for parts of the year in Southern Cali and became Bi-coastal. Spending parts of the year in Cali has only grown my love for New jersey in a deeper way. There is something so unique that people from our state have. It’s hard to put in words, but when you step back from it for periods of time you recognize it more. Though Cali is a beautiful state, New Jersey will always be my home.
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