Local designer and crystal enthusiast Leanne Gruending of Byond The Looking Glass Gems shares a reflection on her brand and her place in the Saskatchewan fashion community. Each jewellery piece is handcrafted by Gruending with care. She describes the process as, “an exercise in mindfulness”. This unique brand has a compelling story behind each creation and combines crystals with jewellery in a way that is personalized for everyone.
The best way to set the tone for this interview is a short insert from the designer’s website: “I want to cultivate kindness in my work life, and in my creative life. I want that kindness to spread like confetti. I believe my jewels, and their energy can do that.
Gruending displays many admirable qualities that make her brand truly stand out. This interview gave more than just insight on her brand, it also provided a platform to spark conversation for what it means to be truly invested in your brand and to be proud of what you have created. Gruending certainly has a wonderful line of product that deserves to be highlighted. Her interview can be found below.
1. Why did you become involved with SFDF?
To me, SFDF stands for acknowledging, promoting and celebrating local talent. It's a fun event that let's me live in the world of designers and fashion, which is so incredibly different from my day job of being a principal where my fashion decisions are based on, "Can I run in these shoes?" or "What's the chance this material will get ruined with paint, dirt, blood or spilling food on myself while eating my lunch on supervision." Although intimidating, it's inspiring to be surrounded by people to truly "get" fashion.
2. What are you most looking forward to during the festival?
I love interacting with people when they come up to my booth. I get so many ideas just by seeing what other people are wearing, talking about or wanting. I find so much inspiration in the conversation! I also love the fashion show. It's exciting to see local talent being showcased in such a real way!
3. What inspired you to share your love of crystals?
The long story is that I've always had an obsession with gems, ever since I was a 5 year old with heavy pockets full of rocks bringing home my treasures (yes I had a rock collection and my own tumbler). What really inspired me to share my crystal love, was when I broke a little myself. I love my day job, but with the energy that flies around in a school with students and staff and how incredibly emotionally demanding and draining some days can be, I needed balance. Crystals and intention helped me find balance and my true Boss Babe potential. It's incredible how much better you are at being a boss, or even just a good human when you feel like you're solidly rooted. After I realized what my work was doing for myself I couldn't help but feel it was selfish not to share. Also, my sister believed in my vision and she dared me to do it. I couldn't turn down the dare....
4. How would you introduce healing crystals to someone who is new to them? What advice would you give?
The beautiful thing about crystals is how easy and intuitive they can be. They WANT to work for you. If you're just starting and know nothing, be around stones and pick one. There's a reason you picked that one. Reflect on it. If you're wanting to work towards a specific intention- do a little research and then hold that intention every time you look at your jewelry. The physical reminder of the gems on your skin will not only create space for your intention, but it will keep calling that intention back to mind every time you look at it or feel it.
If you're really just beginning, just pick something pretty- which is what my brand is all about. Wearing something gorgeous that actually works FOR you and creates space for your intentions.
5. How does being apart of the Saskatchewan fashion community impact you and/or your brand?
Honestly, just being called a designer inspires me to be better. I still remember the first moment when someone used that word referring to me. I replied back with, "Well I think I'm actually more of a hobbyist... I'm not a designer like these amazing people." To which I heard back, "You are. Own it." That moment was ground shaking for me. Being a part of the fashion community gives me a chance to give life to something I'm incredibly passionate about and creating connections with people who know much more about the industry than I do.
6. What about healing crystals, continues to interest you? Where did this curiosity come from?
I'm always digging deeper into combinations and how gems can be used. I began by creating purposeful jewelry and now I'm branching into some home decor involving crystal gridding. It's such a dynamic field and the pool of knowledge is deep. I love that as I'm learning more I'm also growing in my own personal awareness journey. Every time I learn something new about a crystal, design or book where I pull my mantras from, I learn something new about how I'm reflected in that piece. It's almost like journaling through design; as my collections evolve so do I.
7. What do you feel makes your brand unique?
I think there's a lot of people out there that are much more fashion forward than I am, but I think my brand's focus on connecting gems embedded in on-trend designs with souls who are searching for something more than basic isn't really seen anywhere else. I love that there are over 50 ways I can create a design like my Wildflower Necklace. I love that I can personalize pretty much any piece to match intent. I love the positive energy and light that I work into every handcrafted piece. To me, my line is all about giving fashion soul and wearing your intention on your sleeve (so to speak). Can you imagine a world where when you put your Rose Quartz around your neck, you think to yourself.
"Today- I will love myself. Every time you look in the mirror and your eyes fall to your pendant.
Today- I love myself. When the end of the night comes and you take your necklace off- I had an amazing day.
Today I actually love myself."
What if we spent the same amount of time repeating our mantra that we do using fashion to hide flaws or picking apart our reflection in the mirror? A simple change, with powerful results. I hope I can be a part of that journey.
Find Byond The Looking Glass Gem at SFDF this fall!