Makers share stories of meaningful projects


Tim Sway

“Love” was all the subject line on the CustomMade request board said. Intrigued, I read the listing and found a bride-to-be looking for a special gift for her groom. Something made with “love.”

The bride and I ended up designing a really original, little Scotch cabinet for his “man cave” using reclaimed walnut and pallet wood. It has lights, glass, metal, wheels and their anniversary carved in it. It has everything!

It shipped a couple weeks before their wedding. I even made a “making of” video to go along with it. They were married, went on their honeymoon and I never heard how they liked it – but I wasn’t too surprised as this was all done in the final weeks of their big day.

A few months later, after the whirlwind of the wedding settled, the couple took the time to write me a thank you and said they absolutely loved the custom scotch cabinet. The bride even found me on Facebook and posted to my page a picture of it in her home.

My mission statement is “I make nice things for nice people…” Mission accomplished.

Nicole Ibey

The idea for this starfish necklace project sparked from the most adorable Halloween costume.

My customer wanted this necklace created for his 4-month-old daughter.  He and his wife were dressing her up as a mermaid for Halloween in a hand-crocheted costume, and when I saw pictures of that costume I knew the bar was set high! He gave me only these few guidelines to work within: the pendant had to be ocean themed, include the baby’s June birthstones (pearl and alexandrite) and be made of sterling silver. He wanted a piece of art that she would be able to wear forever that would be from him and would always be close to her heart.

When I sent him the final picture to let him know his piece was ready to pick up, he wrote back, “I love it! I appreciate that you got it done in such short notice for her to have, and with my thoughts and your creativity made it perfect and precious for her to enjoy forever!”

I love when people look at jewelry as a lifetime piece of art – something created in a meaningful way that evokes memories every time they look at it, wear it, and touch it.

Austin Moore

I can remember every single project I have done on CustomMade – all 144 of them (to date). That said, the most memorable project that comes to mind was a wedding set I completed recently for a couple in Southern California.

custom engagement ring

Maker Austin Moore creating a custom engagement ring.


The project involved creating four rings from scratch not using any of my current portfolio designs. They sent me an heirloom piece of jade to use in the engagement ring ngagement ring engagement ringg bands. Right away I liked their style since I love doing non-ton-traditional engagement rings. Who says diamonds are a girl’s best friend? They were a pleasure to work with the whole way through and when the set was done we were all pretty blown away. Every so often I finish a ring and just sit there and admire it for a while.

What made it so memorable, however, was that when the set was done, they decided to make a road trip up through my area just so they would have an excuse to stop by and pick the wedding rings up in person. This was exactly the kind of meeting that I was speaking of earlier. Joy all around. They had even brought me a handmade vase which the bride-to-be had made herself as a gift. It still sits on my dining room table as a reminder that each piece I complete has the potential to be in someone’s life for a very long time, and that each person I work with is a real person, living, loving and dreaming, just like me.

Paul Bierker

You know, literally, I remember each job. The one thing that is really moving my soul is all the work I’ve been doing for the guys in Afghanistan.

I just did an engagement ring for a guy from Texas. He’s in Afghanistan. He [had the ring sent] to his mom, he came home, popped the question – it was perfect. That’s great and those jobs always stand out. Here are people who are in harms way, they utilize us and then they trust us to execute it for them.

Maker Paul Bierker explains why creating custom jewelry is so special to him.

The story’s an integral part of it and that’s the key – you’ve got to connect with each customer, one at a time and emotionally. I really do feel that I’m leaving a mark on somebody’s soul each time I make a piece, and [them] on mine, too, by sharing with me what they want.



CustomMade is an online marketplace connecting customers who want one-of-a-kind creations with professional and passionate makers of those goods.

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