Episode 05 | November 24, 2020
In this episode, we talk with Jennifer Stringer about when her life suddenly changed, and how she's thriving in the face of adversity by setting boundaries and refusing to give up.
Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no (in all its forms) so you can become the authentic and empowered person that this world needs.
Quick disclosure: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way a replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professional. If you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.
Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start: psychologytoday.com
Introducing Jennifer Stringer
Jennifer Stringer makes original hand-crafted, wire-wrapped jewelry using semi-precious gemstones, beach glass, and metal. She sells her jewelry products online, in local galleries, and at art festivals. She started her business, Eyespire Designs, in 2015 after a major turning point in her life.
One morning in 2014, out of the blue, Jennifer woke up and noticed something was wrong. Her vision was off, and in a matter of hours, she was completely blind. One can imagine how this would be life-altering for anybody, but for her, it was catastrophic.
Jennifer had worked professionally as a graphic designer for over two decades. In her early years, she attended Cleveland State University on an art scholarship, and her student work in drawing and printmaking was recognized when she was named an “artist to watch” by The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Now in her 40’s, she was a single, working mom – the sole breadwinner for her family – and suddenly her livelihood was gone.
It turned out her blindness was caused by a rare reaction to a medication. When it first happened, she lost all vision. Since then, about 20% of it has come back, though she is still legally blind and cannot see most colors.
One day, sitting on her front porch, she started playing with some beach glass and a spool of wire. She remembered how much she enjoyed making her father a miniature bicycle out of wire when she was about 9 years old and thought it would be fun to try something with wire again.
Gradually, using her sense of touch and internal creative vision, she learned how to create jewelry from wire she had on hand and some beach glass from the nearby shores of Lake Erie. Her father saw what she was making and suggested she try selling them at a local art fair. She gave it a shot and sold everything out in that first show. “That was my big ‘Ah-ha’ moment,” Jennifer explains. “I realized that I’d found the way to rebuild my life.” Eyespire Designs was born.
The name Eyespire came from combining her problem with its solution: “Eye” derived from the blindness issue + “spire” because she aspired to create again, just in a new way. In the past few years, friends, family, and customers have told her they thought “spire” came from inspire because her story has inspired them to never give up.
Listen in, as Jen shares more about her story and how she’s found the strength to adapt to her new reality and is thriving in spite of adversity.
Shop Eyespire Designs:
- Etsy – Click this link and use Promo Code “HARDNO20” to get 20% off anything in the Eyespire Designs’ Etsy Shop through 12/31/2020
- Amazon Handmade – Some of Jen’s jewelry is also available on Amazon
- Instagram – @eyespire_designs
- Facebook – EyespireDesigns
- EyespireDesigns.com – Website coming in 2021!
Resources & Recommendations
- Book – Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo (Amazon link)
Credits and Thanks
- Special thanks to Reanna Karousis of Collective Reach and the Social Distance Happy Hour, who inspired and challenged us to start this podcast and helped us produce our first episode.
- Thanks also to our families and friends for all their encouragement and support, and to you, our listeners, for joining us on this adventure.
- That’s a Hard No is a joint production of Clever Girl Marketing and Purposeful Growth & Wellness.
- Logo design by Angela Giaco of A Pink Sunset. You can find her at apinksunset.com.
- Music: “Whiskey for Lunch” by GG Rigs. (Don’t judge us, you guys. We just like the song.)