Orange Moon was Founded by a Detroit Native
Buying amazing jewelry is one thing, but buying jewelry that is handmade and that has meaning is a whole ‘nother story. Orange Moon Ltd. was founded by Detroit native Auriele Boulware in 2016. Boulware, who grew up on the east side of the city, always had a knack for art, and would make and sell jewelry in elementary school using the bead sets that her family would get her for Christmas.
Fast-forward to present day, Boulware has taken her jewelry-making to the next level, and now crafts stunning pieces using wire and special healing crystals. After her accessories proved to be a hit, Boulware decided that she wanted to venture off into making homegoods, so she added zodiac candles to her repertoire.
Once the candle-making process had been mastered, Boulware and her likeminded BFF Lavonne Ellis, owner of Tealing & Co., decided to start an event series called Astrolotea, where guests can sample their products and enjoy astrology-based cocktails made with Ellis’s tea.
Like most creatives, Boulware is good at many things, and she definitely knows her stuff. Through her tone and energy when talking about her products, there’s no doubt in my mind that she is passionate and excited about what she’s done and what’s to come.
DFN: Your company, Orange Moon Ltd., provides customers with handmade jewelry and accessories made from precious metals and crystals. What inspired you to start your business?
Auriele Boulware: At the time, two years ago, I ran into my best friend Lavonne [Ellis], which is my partner with Astrolotea. This is my best friend from elementary school. She moved away when we were in fourth grade, and I hadn’t seen her since [then], and I ran into her two years ago. One of her first questions that she asked me was, “Do you still make jewelry?” I had completely forgot about that because obviously so much life had occurred since then. She really reminded me like, “Damn, I used to be really artistic and good at [making] jewelry.”
At that time, I was in massage therapy school and I started to learn about healing crystals and how to heal people who couldn’t be touched – people that had broken bones, people that had been in car accidents, etc. Growing up, my mom always had crystals in the house and astrology books; those were really the first books I learned how to read. Really the timing of those events really birthed the idea of me making crystal jewelry.
With the candles, I wanted to bear off into home products. I was trying to think of what would be the easiest way to incorporate my crystals and my ideology about healing and metaphysics and all that.
DFN: Was the name of your company inspired by Erykah Badu’s song “Orange Moon” by any chance?
Auriele Boulware: It was, actually! It’s so funny because everyone asks me that, too. Orange has always been my favorite color. It’s the color of healing, transformation, creativity, joy and enthusiasm … I know the song is old, but I heard that song for the first time two years ago when I came up with all those ideas. I woke up in the middle of the night and the song was playing and I sat up and listened to the words. Spiritually, the woman represents the moon and the man represents the sun, and the woman and the man are a pure reflection of each other, which is why the moon turns orange and it’s the essence of pure love. Everything is created from that. I was like, “Yeah, I definitely have to name my company after this.”
And the “Limited” (LTD) part came from me wanting my consumers to feel that every piece was made for them, specifically. It’s limited; it was made specifically for you. Nobody can have your piece. Even when I advertise the things on my site and people ask for them and it’s back-to-back, I have to make the same order for somebody … no crystal is the same, no wiring is the same. That’s the picture it’ll be modeled by, but it’s going to be different.
DFN: What’s your design process like? Do you sketch out your designs and then go from there? Or do you just dive right in and see where your creativity takes you?
Auriele Boulware: That’s exactly what happens! I literally buy everything in a lump sum and I just start wrapping and see where it goes. If I love it, then cool, I’ll put it on the site. If not, I’m gonna undo it and come up with something else. I actually don’t sketch because I feel like if it’s predetermined, it kind of takes away from the authenticity of it.
DFN: Can you talk to me about your candle-making process? How long does it take you to make each candle?
Aureiele Boulware: It took me about six months to finally decide on all 12 scents. I had to play with a few things before I finally said, “OK, this does go.” The crystal idea came natural because I already make crystal jewelry. I already knew that I wanted to include each sign’s birthstone in the [candle], just so the consumer could feel like, “This was made specifically for me.” I make four of each every time I make candles, so I make a batch of 48. It takes me about four hours to do between wicking and labeling and doing each scent. It’s really the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life! I thought it was going to be so complicated, but it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done. And it’s literally the most fun.
DFN: What makes Orange Moon Ltd. different from other brands?
Auriele Boulware: First and foremost: customer service. With all my packages, I always send a handwritten note describing what the stones mean and thanking my consumers for even supporting me in any kind of way. If there’s any discrepancy with their order, I’m always willing to say, “Let me do this extra on the side.” I’m always willing to give things away to people just to make sure that I’m giving 200 percent. I will also say my creativity alone – my products don’t look like anyone else’s. There’s a lot of crystal jewelry that’s out here, but I feel like my products stand alone. Especially my candles. I researched that to a T before I even made a candle. Even with me putting a crystal at the bottom of the candle for people to have as a keepsake, me putting my candles in reusable jars, and how I researched the plants and fruits that are harvested at that specific time of the year, which is how I came up with each specific scent.
DFN: You briefly mentioned that you and your best friend Lavonne started an event series called Astrolotea. Can you tell me more about that? What kind of projects are the two of you working on within the company?
Auriele Boulware: We came up with the event like, three weeks before it happened. The original idea was that Lavonne was coming out with summer flavors of her relaxing and energizing tea line that she has out right now. I was wrapping up my candle-making process, and we were both trying to come up with ways that we could present these interpersonally, and not just on Instagram; we wanted to give people a chance to sample our products. We don’t have artsy, metaphysical-style parties in Detroit; they’re very rare and hard to find … We wanted to create that avenue for people. The astrology part obviously came from my candles and my crystals. I have to give praise to Lavonne for coming up with the name, because it’s so sweet. It literally molds us into one entity.
On July 26, we’re partnering with Hart Grub and Groove. We’re going to have an outdoor speed dating event from 5 – 10 p.m. That’s going to be Astrolotea-based as well. This particular event is called “The Elements of Attraction.” So instead of us bringing people together by the 12 signs, we’re going to separate them by elements … We’re planning what we’re going to do for August right now. Astrolotea is strictly a summer event, so after August, we won’t be doing anything until next June.
DFN: Do you design custom pieces for customers?
Auriele Boulware: I actually prefer to do custom designs. Like I said, I always want people to know that I made that specifically for them. The pieces I have listed on my site, those are just pieces that have come from my mind. I would say I make more custom jewelry than the pieces that I sell on the site. I love for the person to feel like they had some input on what was made for them.
DFN: Can your pieces be purchased in any local shops or only online?
Auriele Boulware: Well right now, I do sell jewelry at the Detroit Clothing Circle which is in Midtown.
DFN: Running your own business can get hectic and sometimes overwhelming. What crystals help you keep your cool as an entrepreneur?
Auriele Boulware: I would definitely say clear quartz. Any of my white clear stones or the black ones. I would say black tourmaline keeps me grounded and protects you from negative energy. When you’re around negative people or absorb negative energy, it shields you from that, basically. It keeps you centered … and with me being an air sign, that’s sometimes hard for me to do. My clear stones, like clear quartz or selenite, those keep me connected to my clear mind so that nobody can really penetrate me mentally; I can stay focused on what I need to accomplish instead of being distracted.
DFN: Different crystals have different meanings and some can even help boost confidence, self-love, ease anxiety and promote happiness. What would you say are the main crystals that people should try to keep around or on them at all times?
Auriele Boulware: You need one for every chakra. The first one is clear quartz, for balance. The second one is amethyst, for intuition; you definitely have to have that. You have to trust yourself and learn to listen to yourself. The more that you don’t go with your first mind, eventually you’ll just kill that voice and it won’t come back. Blue calcite is for your throat chakra. It’s for trust and communication. It helps you convey your thoughts in a calm manner without getting upset with people that have opposing views. Definitely malachite. Malachite or rose quartz. Either one of those can be used for your heart chakra, which is for self-love and forgiveness of yourself and other people. The next one I would say would be citrine, which is associated with self-confidence, success and willpower. After that, I would say carnelian, which is for your sacral chakra. It’s an orange stone, so it [represents] joy, creativity, passion and drive. A smoky quartz is good for your root chakra, which is the last one. It means stability and foundation.
DFN: What would you say has been the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
Auriele Boulware: I would say having my grandparents and my great-grandmother come to my event and actually seeing my ideas come into fruition. A lot of people in my grandparents’ generation feel like you have to work at the plant or you have to have a nine to five. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a nine to five, just for benefits. But they feel like you have to do that; you have to be on paper in some kind of way to be validated or to feel like you’re successful. You have to do traditional things to be successful and happy and to have their idea of what a family looks like, etc. Our generation, we’re more creative. We actually go for what we want; we’re not stuck in reigns. For them to come to my event, and actually see the things that I’ve been talking about for two years, that puts the biggest smile on my face.
Stay in the loop with Orange Moon Ltd. and Tealing & Co. by following them on Instagram! @orangemoonltd @tealingco
Written by Evann Webb