Abbie Kingsbury is a mother, partner, business owner and jewelry maker in Kitchener-Waterloo. Under the name Young Huron, Kingsbury makes hand stamped brass and crystal jewelry meant to inspire others to wear their truth with custom-made pieces.
The name Young Huron was inspired by the neighbourhood where Kingsbury lives in Kitchener.
Before Kingsbury started Young Huron, she was an English and art history teacher for seven years. With her career at a crossroads, and an opportunity to move from London to Kitchener, last year Kingsbury decided to pursue jewelry-making full-time by launching Young Huron.
Last November, however, Kingsbury was going to close down Young Huron. After the sudden passing of her mother, Kingsbury contemplated her entire business model and purpose as a jewelry maker.
“Through that experience, I realized [sic] how important custom pieces are. Up until that point, I was creating pieces for everyone else and I started creating custom pieces for myself with my mother’s name and her birthday. I started using amethyst, which is her birthstone,” Kingsbury said.
“I realized the power that that gave back to me when I would wear these pieces — and that was the moment where I said this is important. I need to keep doing this and I need to be able to give this feeling, even the smallest amount of solace and comfort, to other people.”
The experience of losing her mother and reconnecting her grief with jewelry really did change Young Huron’s business model.
“I just focus on the personal relationships that I can create with my customers,” she said.
“I am able to build those relationships because often the pieces I am making have a very special meaning to them.”
Kingsbury said that everyone’s order has some kind of story behind it.
“It’s really genuinely special that they allowed me to become a very small part or play a small role in their memory, new beginning, or [future aspiration],” she said.
Everything about Young Huron is rooted in KW. From starting the shop after moving to KW and counting success through regional and local markets, Young Huron is continuing to make strides in Waterloo Region by working with local community members and businesses.
“Everything, from my website to my branding photos, are all created in KW, utilizing the protected forest outside my house, appreciating all the beauty that surrounds us,” she said.
“What I love about this city is that everyone is ready and willing to collaborate in such meaningful ways. Every market that I’ve done has a connection to other businesses [in the community], even some businesses are totally different from me, but we work so organically,” Kingsbury said.
Young Huron has future aspirations of eventually moving into the vintage clothing business in order to continue the theme of repurposing and environmental sustainability.
“Vintage and second-hand clothing is very important to me. For almost three years now, I’ve gone entirely second-hand. I won’t buy anything new for myself and my two daughters, for not only sustainability, but for the beauty of vintage and secondhand clothing,” she said.
“I want to continue the idea of making the old new again which is an important aspect of Young Huron.”