Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Shortly after getting married in 2014, Lexie Rundquist discovered a sharpened focus for her handmade jewelry business, propelling her towards a statement-piece-style and passion for natural forms.
Using her initials in combination with “original work,” Rundquist rebranded her business to AEROW. After discovering a technique called electro-forming while up late exploring the world of internet crafters, she taught herself by trial and error how to transfer copper molecule-by-molecule to a conductive surface.
“Right after I started electro-forming and rebranded I just found my purpose,” said Rundquist. “I felt like this is what I was meant to do. I really feel happy when I’m doing this, so being happy and motivated behind something, people can see that.”
Born to a family of artists, Rundquist shared in the joy of creating with her sisters from a young age. While creativity was always an important facet of her life, it wasn’t until college when she realized she could make most of the accessories she was seeing in stores. With the help of her sister Chelsea Thorson, Rundquist set up her first Etsy shop in 2010. Since then, she’s thrown out the rule book when it comes to redefining her style and designing loud pieces that make a lasting impression.
“I think for a really long time I was creating based on my ideal customer, and this past year I’ve decided to go away from that because I feel like if I’m creating for myself, people will naturally find an interest in it,” said Rundquist. “Even if it doesn’t sell right away, there are some pieces that I’ve held onto for a while that haven’t found a home yet, but I feel like those are a true part of myself. I’d rather focus on something that’s unique and one-of-a-kind.”
While her designs are known for utilizing organic forms and traditional techniques, like the ancient art of Japanese braiding called Kumihimo, she’s also harnessing the potential of technology to connect with customers and collaborate with other creators, stating, “It’s completely different now than if I were doing the same thing 20 years ago.”
Like Etsy and her website, Instagram has been another tool Rundquist uses to market her brand and connect with people who inspire her. In fact, Instagram was the source of a connection that will bring AEROW national coverage on the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”
“I sent a box of my jewelry to the costume designer and my jewelry is going to be on the next season,” she said. “It doesn’t feel real yet! It all started when I tagged her in one of my photos on Instagram and within a minute-and-a-half she messaged me and said, ‘Send me your stuff.’ Then she messaged me as she was dressing Lily Tomlin, Frankie’s character, for the day and said, ‘Lily loves your rings.'”
With a similar style to Tomlin’s character on “Grace and Frankie,” Rundquist’s free-spirited style was a natural fit for Frankie’s bohemian aesthetic. At it’s heart, AEROW’s compelling peculiarity is a lifelong development that’s always been a part of Rundquist.
“There’s a baby photo of me where I have sunglasses on and rubber boots inside just kicking it,” said Rundquist. “So I’ve always been one of those people who wears crazy outfits since I could dress myself.”
Working out of the new studio and retail space at 17 8th St. S, as a part of Make Room, Rundquist designs a wide variety of pieces featuring gems, crystals and found glass. In addition to her one-of-a-kind designs, she also welcomes commissioned pieces inspired by stones that customers want set in a unique accessory like no other. AEROW designs can also be purchased at Unglued in Fargo, Kindred People in Alexandria and Make Room following it’s new location debut in the fall.
Read related articles about Fargo-Moorhead makers at fargomonthly.com/tag/made-in-fargo.
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