By: Courtney Dabney
Step inside the showroom/studio at Mustard Seed Jewelry near Fort Worth's Ryan Place neighborhood, and your spirit instantly lifts. You exhale. You know that you’re somewhere special. It feels like a beach washed over with soft ocean foam, scattered with sparkly treasures waiting to be found. Glimmers of hidden surprises peek out from a palate of fluffy white textiles, shimmering gold, and light-as-a-cloud design. Pops of turquoise and gray ground the free-floating vibe in the open, ethereal space.
“I really wanted it to feel like a sanctuary when people walked in,” shares Marcie Finney Ditto, the artistic mind and hardworking hands behind Mustard Seed Jewelry. “I wanted to create a space that was relaxing, soothing, almost spa-like … a space that reflected the beauty of the jewelry.” Little things matter at Mustard Seed Jewelry, which is handcrafted with organic mustard seeds, eco-friendly resin, and an abundance of bling. Ditto’s jewelry line is inspired by a beloved Bible verse:
“For truly I say to you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20
Faith has played a large part in Ditto’s endeavors, from launching her business to designing her new studio. “I really believe in baby steps,” she says. “The biggest visions that we are given for our lives usually don’t happen overnight,” says Ditto. “For me, they didn’t. I just kept moving forward even when I didn’t necessarily have the answers. I didn’t even know how to make jewelry. Creating this space was a huge leap of faith, so it’s fun to see how excited people are about it.”
Gold leaf chandeliers give off a warm glow as delicate paper flowers drift across the wall. Mirrored trays full of necklaces, bracelets and earrings are tucked into cubbies and nestled onto tables. Geodes, books and vases double as displays.
“We spaced out the jewelry so it’s like a treasure hunt,” says Ditto. “When you come in here, you don’t just see it all laid out in one place. You have to walk around. It’s meant to be an experience. You get to come in, learn our story, talk to us, see what we do, and then actually see the jewelry.”
Airy and bright, the 1,500-square-foot atelier has plenty of room for creating, shopping, midafternoon snacks, and yoga breaks. There’s even a teepee and a TV tucked into a corner where kids can hang out. “I have a 5-year-old daughter that is with me a lot, so she needed her very own space over there. We needed her to have that space too,” Ditto says.
White shiplap stretches across the walls, some fully painted and some whitewashed to reveal the wood’s grain and texture. Furniture with clean, modern lines balances the dreamy roomscape, including two long gray tables for making jewelry. Natural light streams in from two high windows and a triple set of sliding glass doors, which were added during the remodel.
Originally built in the 1940s to house the neighborhood’s fire engines, the workshop was dark and gray before the renovation began last fall. “We could have easily torn it down and started over, but we loved the structure,” says Ditto. “We hired Steve Tornga of DK Construction to help us; he’s a master craftsman and an incredible guy. I just can’t say enough about his work. You dream it, and he can do it.”
By summer, the space was completely transformed. Decorating took just one week because Ditto had been collecting special pieces for months. She designed the interior herself, creating a comfortable, yet elegant ambiance that echoes the style of her jewelry.
Custom-built white shelves fill the back wall of the showroom, where baubles shine beside driftwood, crystals, and colorful stone birds. Your eyes are drawn to an image of a woman walking toward the sea, the piece of art that inspired the entire design of the back wall. “I just fell in love with her. I thought she evoked the exact feeling I wanted. The ocean really speaks to me and has a certain calmness to it,” says Ditto.
Joyful surprises are hidden around every corner, even in the bathroom. The vanity, now topped with quartz, was made from the desk where Ditto’s grandfather crafted wedding rings and jewelry for 35 years. Ditto says he was an amazing artist. “I feel blessed that I have that in the genes.”
Gratitude infuses Ditto’s business as well as her words. Her jewelry comes sweetly wrapped in a goodie bag of treats, including a set of cards for writing notes of encouragement and $2 in “seed money” to give away. “We’re not just jewelry. We give 30 percent of our gross profits back to the community. Within the last year, we gave almost $47,000 to over 50 different Fort Worth charities,” Ditto proudly notes.
Originally from the Plano area, Ditto has lived in Fort Worth for six years. She says the city has been a conducive setting for her business, which started at her kitchen table in August 2015. “I love it here. Fort Worth is so special because it feels small, but you have a lot of movers and shakers … amazing people that want to see you thrive. That’s a special thing. The spirit of the people is what makes Fort Worth so different. I’ve been very welcomed. And people do love bling in Fort Worth, I’m not going to lie. We like our bling here. We don’t mind a feather or two.”
Mustard Seed Jewelry is growing rapidly, and Ditto is at her work table from morning to night. In 2016, she single-handedly produced almost 10,000 pieces by hand — that’s a 5-pound bag of mustard seeds. By October of this year, she had already reached that mark. The company recently signed a national contract with Woodhouse Day Spa and has plans to be in all 53 of their locations nationwide by the end of 2018.
“The No. 1 comment we hear when people walk in is: I want to live here.”
You can visit Mustard Seed Jewelry’s studio and showroom by appointment only; call 844.330.5668 to arrange your visit. Find Mustard Seed Jewelry for sale in Fort Worth at Woodhouse Day Spa, located at 1621 River Run. Other Texas retailers include Jordan Taylor & Co. (Southlake and Weatherford), Bay Area Aesthetics (Houston), and Hamilton’s (Brownwood).
By: Courtney Dabney