In a continuously evolving fashion world, finding personalized jewelry with sentimental value feels like an impossible task. Second-year psychology major Cara Hiroyasu noticed this disappointing trend and thought outside the box—or rather, the kitchen drawer.
Hiroyasu, at the age of 16, started a business called All Things Utensils which makes jewelry from repurposed silverware. Now 20, Hiroyasu continues to give her customers a unique, one-of-a-kind experience.
Hiroyasu started her journey of making jewelry for those in her family and close friends as a hobby, not realizing that she would one day start her own business. After Hiroyasu moved from Arkansas to the Pacific Northwest she realized that she could make this big hobby into a small business.
“I’d give them to, like, my grandparents, and they loved it. And then with my sisters, and then I’d give them away as birthday presents to friends, and that was super cool,” Hiroyasu said. “Eventually, my friends would wear them, and then their friends would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, cool! Where’d you get that?’.”
Just as every piece is different from the next, the experience that Hiroyasu gives is unique as well. While personally putting together orders, Hiroyasu makes sure that all packaging matches up to the excellent quality of her pieces.
“I’m involved in every step. I not only make the rings, but I’m the one who messages my customers, and I write a letter to every customer when they order and then personally do the shipping,” Hiroyasu said. “I get everything, and I’m involved in every single process.”
As well as putting hard work into creating all the pieces, Hiroyasu also makes each one with lots of love and dedication that cannot be bought by big-name brands. Being able to find sustainability hand-in-hand with customizability can be a big win for customers and this is exactly what Hiroyasu provides.
“Of course, it’s fun to buy from big brands, and [they] are really great brands, but you don’t know the face behind who made that shirt,” Hiroyasu said. “A lot of small businesses are really focused on, like, sustainability, which is what I try to focus on with these utensils that would sit in a thrift store and end up in a landfill if no one buys them.”
Big businesses usually cannot provide the same opportunities for customizing gifts and personalizing orders as small businesses like All Things Utensils. Hiroyasu offers chances for her customers to bring in their own utensil finds, such as those that have been in their families for years.
“No one would normally look at a spoon or fork and be like ‘Oh, that would look so good on my finger’,” Hiroyasu said. “People will send me a utensil that they find, whether it’s one that their grandparents gave them from their wedding or a spoon that they felt, like, had a key frame. There’s just so much of a story there.”
When it comes to Hiroyasu personalizing All Things Utensils, she makes sure that each individual customer receives a great experience from the small additional treats and handwritten notes she adds to each one of her orders.
“I’ve been able to incorporate a few of the collections I’ve done, so a portion or even sometimes all of the profits will be donated towards really great causes. I did one for Black Lives Matter, where I donated to a couple of different organizations. Another really personal one for me was to stop Asian American and Pacific Islander hate,” Hiroyasu said. “I was able to donate to them, and just being a minority myself and an Asian, that one was super-duper personal to me.”
While creating lots of meaningful pieces, Hiroyasu has also made a wedding ring, shipped orders to 21 different states and even crossed international borders with her jewelry, which she holds very dear to her heart.
“I’ve had one international order from a person I don’t know at all. His name is Nico, and I’ll never forget him because he’s my first international order. He lives in Spain and found me through a friend, and he DM’d me and asked me if he could buy one,” Hiroyasu said.
Each of Hiroyasu’s pieces differ with the quality and conditions of the utensil, which can also affect the amount of work that will go into making the jewelry. All while providing high amounts of quality, Hiroyasu offers affordable prices that can be within a college student’s budget.
“Normally, a collection is about 20 to 30 rings,” Hiroyasu said. “Pricing depends on the different metals that I can use because some metals are nicer than others. But then also detail; a lot of rings are super detailed. So depending on the design you’re getting, you’ll get different pricings ranging anywhere from like $25 to, at most, $50 or $75.”
Many small businesses follow their heart. Hiroyasu sees All Things Utensils as another part of her life that she will keep for as long as she can, all while planning on passing the skills to her future family to carry out a vision she has created with hard work and commitment.
“I have this brand that I have a lot of love for, and the legacy I’ll pass down to hopefully my children,” Hiroyasu said. “All the interactions with so many people mean a lot to me. If it weren’t for the great people that support me, I wouldn’t be where I am with the business,”
Follow All Things Utensils on Instagram @allthingsutensils or contact [email protected] for further inquiries.