Annie at Wholehearted Empire

What did you wholeheartedly love to do when you were a child? I loved being silly, dressing up in costumes and putting on dance recitals in my living room. I loved gymnastics so much that I could not sit through a family dinner without getting up to do handstands and cartwheels. I even got in trouble once for doing cartwheels between clothing racks inside a Target. 

I also wholeheartedly loved creating. I was not the “best” artist in class, but I was the only one who begged my art teacher to let me take my art projects home so I could have more time to work on them. He was perplexed (apparently this was not a common request). He gave in to my request a few times, and then I proceeded to bewilder my parents by insisting I stay up late at night to finish the project. What teenager voluntarily gives up sleep for the sake of an art class assignment?

I did not know it at the time, but the enthusiasm I felt (the electric energy coursing through me and lighting me up from the inside out) while I danced, sketched, sculpted, painted, photographed, played the guitar, performed that monologue for theater class… that enthusiasm for creativity was my calling.

It was only after spending more than a decade doing many non-creative things (enlisting in the military; receiving both a Bachelor and Master of Science; becoming a healthcare provider, a researcher and a project manager) that I realized how much I missed creativity in my life. More accurately, I needed creativity to feel like myself.

So, I set aside all the excuses and self-judgment, and I gave myself permission to play with creativity once again. I let myself get messy and imperfect and try any creative thing that sparked my curiosity. If I wholeheartedly loved it, I kept doing it (like painting). If I was not crazy about it, I did not do it more than once (like candle making).

The researcher in me looked at this creative journey as an experiment. If I followed my heart, my joy, my curiosity, my enthusiasm… where would I end up? Would my worst fears be realized, and I’d end up jobless and homeless and starving? Or would I find a way to make a living through my creativity—the very thing that lets me feel most alive?

So far, my experiment has brought me here—to Wholehearted Empire!

Wholehearted Empire is a set of online shops where I sell my handmade earrings. I did not begin this experiment with the intention of creating a line of remarkably lightweight, hand-painted earrings. The first pair of earrings I ever made were actually created on a whim from materials I had on hand for other creative projects. But, I loved everything about them, and lucky for me, so did my Instagram followers. So, I made more…

You may be here simply for the earrings—nothing wrong with that! But, if you’d like a little more, here are some other things you can check out:

  • Browse the shop on this website for inspiration. I use my product descriptions to offer empowering, encouraging and inspiring messages.

  • Sign up for my email list below. I’ll only send a few emails per month and you’ll get first pick on new styles as well as chances to win exclusive discounts or prizes.

  • Follow Wholehearted Empire on Instagram and Facebook so that we can get to know each other and you can meet the rest of the community!

Welcome! I am so glad you are here!