Dorothée Herry, founder and designer of Eclipse Handmade Jewelry, molds each of her beautiful and unique pendants, bracelets, and rings by hand. This #girlboss has created an incredible business from her love of nature, and her passion to bring its beauty into everyday life.
Growing up on the idyllic coast of Brittany in France, Dorothée spent her childhood summers exploring different parts of the region with each parent: splashing down the Côte d’amour’s pink granite coastline on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean with her mother, and stargazing through the forest in Mont-de-Marsan with her father.
These two elements, nature and the cosmos, would serve as inspiration for her very own jewelry line a decade later – she just had to jump continents, learn a new language, and fall in love first.
Touching Down in TO
Dorothée arrived in Canada in 2009 on a year-long working visa hoping to improve her English and gain some work experience. Canada had been her second choice – Australia’s warm weather, enticing beaches and lively atmosphere had caught her eye – but the opportunity to stay with a family friend in Toronto proved too good to pass up.
On her first night, that same family friend suggested she introduce herself to their neighbour – he was about her age and had been talking about improving his French – a perfect match.
After a few months of friendship, they realized just how perfect that match really was. On their first date, they both had mini dictionaries to help with the language barriers – and to this day still go back and forth between English and French in conversation!
When her year was up, the pair decided to travel back to France together – where they were married less than a year later. Newly married and with her entire life ahead of her in a new country, Dorothée landed back in Toronto and started planning for a future in Canada.
A (jewelry) Business is Born
Inspired by Toronto’s incredible art’s scene, energy, and many opportunities, Dorothée started trying her hand at jewelry making, starting with hand beading, then moving on to a loom – going from store to store selling her pieces. Then about a year ago she decided to take a technical class in lost wax casting.
This process consists of hand carving wax molds, then working with a caster to bring it to life – the mold is destroyed in the process, so each piece is one of a kind. When certain pieces prove particularly popular – like her best-selling small moon pendant – she can re-create the mold using the sterling silver pendant itself.
She’s since switched gears and now focuses exclusively on the textured, lost wax casting designs instead of the beading. Initially she struggled to find a cohesive theme to build a business around:
“When you start, you’re trying lots of different things, seeing what people like, and it’s kind of like practice – but the more you do, the more you’ll see themes. From one piece [the moon pendant] I realized, that’s it.”
“After it was so clear – the moon is something that everyone can relate to. It was always in me, it just needed to come out.”
She leaned on her childhood spent exploring the coasts and cosmos alike and found inspiration for an ever-expanding line of handcrafted sterling silver jewelry – Eclipse Handmade Jewelry.
“I want to share my vision. And I feel like it [nature & cosmos] is something that everyone has in common – the moon, the sea – everyone has some connection or memory.”
Her line is currently available on her website and at select shows and festivals around Toronto. She’s hoping to partner with boutiques, both locally and internationally, in the near future.
“Moving to a different country, you’re more on your own, more than just physically. It forces you out of your comfort zone. I needed to be here for more than just my husband. So that pushed me to create something.”
Dorothée has built an awe-inspiring life and business here in Toronto, and her new city comes together perfectly with annual trips back to Brittany to continue providing inspiration.
Though she did say the French cuisine (especially the pastries) aren’t quite the same as home.
You can find Dorothée at @eclipse.handmade, at the Trinity Bellwoods show on October 21st, and find her pieces on her website here.