Growing up, Alexa Allamano was always intrigued by the seaside.
"It's just a sense of calm and peace," she said. "I like to just feel water rush in and out, and there's this natural flow that there's something bigger."
After getting laid off from her banking and regulatory compliance job in 2008, Allamano started exploring ways that she could turn that love into a business of her own.
"I say I got fired, then I got fired up."
Enter Foamy Wader, her handmade jewelry shop that's now based on Whidbey Island. For several years, she and her husband Matt ran the store near Seattle's U Village. Not only does the move to Whidbey shorten their commute, its location by the water is proving to be more inspiring.
"I just love the colors and textures of the water, particularly the waves," said Alexa. "My signature shimmer texture is a hammered texture that looks like the surface of the water so you can see different reflections and sort of depths to it."
A newer addition to her line is nautical flag necklaces. Using a 10-ton hydraulic press, Alexa stamps symbols onto precious metals. Customers often request custom creations that reflect their initials or favorite words.
Running her own business that features handmade items is a calling that seems meant to be. Alexa comes from a long line of makers, including her Grandfather who was a gem-cutter.
"I have pictures when I was like four kind of peeking over his shoulder as he was cutting stones. Just like, 'What you got over there something sparkly?!'"
And her last name, Allamano, just so happens to be Italian for "by hand".
"My sister learned Italian in college and when she told me that I was like, 'oh that's like our destiny right? we are people who make things we are makers.'"
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