Cristina Nicole is the founder of Sole Charm Boutique. Cristina tells us: “I’m originally from The Bronx; I’ve been living in Astoria since 2014. I love it here! I created Sole Charm Boutique three years ago when I stumbled upon a pink Barbie high heel shoe from childhood – I thought it would make a cute piece of jewelry. Since then I’ve enjoyed creating fun, colorful charm jewelry and accessories. I love that I get to connect with the local community through my craft. When I’m not making jewelry, I’m a licensed social worker. I’m also an eclectic witch and tarot reader.
QS: Did you have formal training in jewelry making or are you self-taught?
CN: I’m self-taught – I dabbled in jewelry making when I was in my early twenties. I was intrigued by the way in which hardware could be linked together to make a piece of jewelry. One of the first necklaces I made was for my mother. It was a simple chain with a heel charm I found at a bead store near Herald Square. I didn’t realize it then, but that would become the actual blueprint for Sole Charm Boutique.
QS: Tell us about the creative process – how does a piece of jewelry go from concept to finished product?
CN: I love browsing eBay for vintage Barbie shoes and accessories. When I see a certain color or style, I become hooked. Once the tiny items arrive, they get a good wash, as they’re “pre-loved”. I then air them out and get to work. I lay the goodies out on my blue vanity desk and piece everything together. As I create jewelry in small batches, the shoes and accessories I purchase have to speak to me. I love to say that each piece is made with a little magic.
QS: Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
CN: When I was little, my mother and I collected Barbies. Some remained in their boxes and others were played with. I adored Barbie’s shoes, accessories and her little food items. My mother wore lots of gold jewelry in the ‘90s so that has always been in the back of my mind and I feel it in my work. I like to think of my mother as a Barbie in her own right.
QS: A lot of your earrings are Barbie-inspired. I have to ask, did you see the Barbie movie? And if so, what did you think of it?
CN: The Barbie movie was definitely an experience! I went to see it opening weekend with my girlfriend and my bestie. We ordered a bottle of sparkling wine and didn’t know what to expect. As we sat there, I found myself laughing and crying. I looked over at my bestie and noticed she was in tears too. We were captivated from beginning to end. I felt my inner child watching through my adult eyes and it me back to that carefree feeling I had when I played with my Barbies. I loved every minute of it.
QS: In your downtime what are some of your favorite places and or things to do locally in Astoria?
CN: I have so many favorites! I love the French onion soup and drinks at Chez Olivia. A good experience is always guaranteed when I go there. The Pomeroy and The Bonnie are neighborhood staples. They’re perfect for a date night. Rivercrest is awesome too! Their food is amazing. I also really enjoy getting gelato at Figo and taking a walk down 23rd Avenue to Astoria Park.
For more on Cristina, her Jewelry and Accessories, check her out at: www.solecharmboutique.com