Meet the Maker : Anne Marie Strohbeck from Notch + Fletch

Our first Meet the Maker is the beautiful Anne Marie from Notch + Fletch custom and small batch handmade jewelry brand. Our aim with this site was and is to bring more ladies who are doers and makers to the spotlight, so all of you can love them as we do. Or more like wish our bank accounts would have no limits and we could use all of our money to their products ;) ! I, Mirka, for sure wish I could do just that when it comes to Anne Marie's pieces, not only are they insanely amazing and well made, her way of doing business is something of a joy that warms your heart to the fullest! I've been lucky to own one custom ring of hers, which unfortunately got lost at the Copenhagen airport when I was rushing to get to my flight, yes tears are still running down as I type that. That ring, and all Anne Marie does, have this certain kind of powerpiece effect to your life. So let's get more familiar with the amazing lady that is the master mind behind Notch + Fletch!

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Name: Anne Marie Strohbeck

Location: Buffalo, New York

Age: 32

What's your occupation? If you're not lucky enough to to be working it now, what is your dream job?

I'm incredibly fortunate to be a full-time metalsmith and jewelry designer for Notch + Fletch. Running this company and managing every aspect of it has been incredibly fulfilling and exhausting, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I've made meaningful connections with so many amazing individuals and makers because of this venture; I'm so grateful for it. I still have so much to learn and this brand has a lot of growing left to do, but I look forward to waking up every morning to work on new projects, which is eons away from how I felt about work a few years ago! 2018 is the first year I've gone without a side job to supplement my metal work, which has been as challenging as it's been rewarding. I hope to continue on this journey for quite some time.

How did you find your personal style?

My style has always revolved around comfort. Growing up in San Diego and then spending many years in San Francisco heavily influenced how that comfort manifested. Moving from an easy-going, beach area, where I was driving everywhere, to having no car in the hilly, always-60ish-degree-weather of SF meant there were a lot of changes to my wardrobe. Almost immediately, that meant my flip-flops and heels were out, and replaced by boots and shoes that were comfortable to walk in daily. The move also placed me in vintage and thrift store heaven. I'd always been attracted to bold prints and colors, and the fit of vintage clothing. SF being the amazing city that is it, I felt a sense of freedom in being able to wear whatever I wanted, without feeling judged or "too out there". I also went years only wearing black high-waisted jeans because it meant I could ride my bike and work as a barista without ruining my clothes with bike grease and coffee stains. Only recently have I begun to introduce light colors and light denim (gasp!) back into my wardrobe, thanks to crazy humidity and heat of summer in Buffalo, New York, where I currently live. My personal style is ever-evolving but has been, and will likely always be, defined by comfort and my inability to keep coffee from landing on clothes!

What is playing in your radio/ headphones right now?

I'm a huge fan of true crime podcasts, I listen to them non-stop when I work, so it's likely My Favorite Murder, or Case File. 

As for music, the David Bowie spotify radio, Ryan Adams, and Sugar Candy Mountain have been on heavy rotation lately.

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If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

My mom's chicken adobo and rice!

What's your favorite way to spend your free time?

Hanging outside of a coffee shop on a nice day with friends just chatting about life, people watching, and petting passing dogs.

I also enjoy going to smaller live music shows when good bands roll into town.

Tell us one thing that makes you "you"? :)

The ability to see the good in things, even in really terrible situations. 

Where did you get the idea to start your own brand? Your "why" behind the brand?

I've had an interest in jewelry and making it for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my grandma had encouraged my love of arts and crafts, and eventually I started making my own purses (poorly, I might add), modifying/making my own clothing and making my own jewelry from beads, shells and metal components. In college, I took a metalsmithing class to fulfill an art requirement and was hooked! I'd always had an idea that I wanted to start my own business or at the very least, work in a creative field, but it wasn't until years after college that I had an idea of what I wanted that to be.

Starting Notch + Fletch began as a way to distract myself from the stressful desk job I'd had at the time. It was my creative outlet and didn't take up much space, which was important, since I was living in a small room in a flat with 5 other people. As with my other creative hobbies, it started out with me needing to channel my creativity and also to make something that I wanted, but couldn't find or afford. Slowly, it morphed into an obsession and something I needed to do.

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How did you come up with the name?

This is something I've struggled to put into words for some time! For brevity's sake, I was making jewelry for a few months, and getting a lot of encouragement from coworkers and friends to start selling it, but I couldn't decide on a name. Eventually, I decided I just needed to choose one; if I needed to pick a new name in the future, so be it, but choosing a name was the first step to setting up an Etsy shop, getting business cards, etc. 

"Notch" and "Fletch" are both nouns and verbs. "Notch" was me making the first step of choosing a name - "notching" this task off a long list of things to do to get this business off the ground. A "Fletch" is the stabilization device at end of an arrow, typically made of feathers or thin plastic. By adopting the name of Notch + Fletch, I was accomplishing the first step of committing to a name and now my arrow was fit with the fletching of a business name and work I stood behind; I just needed to pull back and let the arrow fly. 

What are your goals when it comes to your brand?

Bringing happiness to others has, and will always be, a driving force behind my work and my brand. 

I want my customers to be smiling ear-to-ear when they open their packages.

I want them to feel beautiful and powerful when they're wearing their pieces.

I want the work to outlive the wearer and be worn by many generations down the road.

The idea of someone treating themselves to a piece of my work as a gift for an accomplishment or in celebration of a life event, means everything to me, and I aim to accomplish these things with every piece I create!

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Who is your brand made for, who you see wearing your pieces?

Notch + Fletch is for anyone who appreciates the amazing material that the earth gives us to work with. Whether you work in an office or spend all day working with your hands, my work is for anyone who needs/wants a reminder of the love and beauty that exists in the world, even when things get difficult.

Thank you so much for letting us share your awesomeness Anne Marie! <3 

Now all of you, go follow her on Instagram @notchandfletch and obviously buy all of the pieces! Or check her site https://www.notchandfletch.com/