Interview with Theresa Furr of Rippin' Wristlets
We wanted to start off our first box of the year with something a little different, so instead of featuring a city or region of Alaska, we wanted to focus on Alaska's heritage and unique culture. Our first interview is with Theresa Furr. We chatted about her start in bracelet making, other things that she's branching out into, and more! Here we go. :)
Tell me a bit about yourself, Rippin' Wristlets, and how you got started.
Well here’s a little about me. I was born in Florida, then moved to North Carolina in 2002. I then started spending my summers in Alaska in 2014. I realized a year ago, September, that I could not handle the heat anymore. I bought a house and moved to Alaska full time on April 20th, 2019. Three years ago I started making polycord wrap bracelets in the campground where I lived in Sterling. After, I realized people really liked my bracelets but had made mention that they would rather have a single bracelet. I then started making single bracelets, with different color and style hooks and also with fun charms. I didn’t really have a name for my business until two years ago. My friend Melinda said what about Rippin’ Wristlets. I loved it so that’s how Rippin’ Wristlets came about.
This is my first time hearing of polycord. Can you tell me more about it and how the process differs compared to other bracelets?
Polycord and parachute cord are the same. It’s very sturdy. The cord I use is 550 cord. My bracelets differ because I basically make them to fit anyone. The sliding knots I use were easy enough to learn.
What made you ultimately decide on bracelets/jewelry?
It started as a small hobby. And just something for fun and to make a little money. I really liked working with polycord and I’m a fisherwoman so I loved the fish hook idea.
Were there certain skills that you had to learn when you first started making your bracelets?
The only thing I really had to learn was how to tie the sliding knots so that the bracelets or necklaces would adjust on both ends. This way they can fit almost anyone, no matter how small or how large their wrists are.
Ah, that makes sense regarding the sliding knots. Was that pretty hard to learn or was it more about just looking it up and practicing?
My friend that I fish with in the summers helped me learn the knot. Now it’s just second
nature to me.
Your designs are so cool! What's your process like when coming up with new designs?
When I’m making my bracelets, I try to be objective and cover everyone's likes. Although I could probably make 10,000 and I wouldn’t have one that everyone likes. *laughs* I do take orders if that happens. If someone asks about a certain charm, I try my best to find it online. Some of my new ones include an otter, alligator, several mermaids and a few different styles of fish.
Everyone's tastes are definitely unique! If you were to make one for yourself (Or I'm sure you probably already have!), what would be your perfect design and why?
For me, I like the single bracelets. I usually put the bigger hooks on mine and they will have a fish, octopus or something nautical on them. The why part is easy. I love to fish and love the sea.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting?
My biggest challenge is making too many at one time. Probably 300 or so. *laughs* I give myself a blister from tying the knots so tight, but then the blister busts. It doesn’t feel too good. But when I get started it’s hard for me to stop. I enjoy making them so much.
What's your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is Top Gun. My favorite TV show is Grey’s Anatomy.
Nice, Top Gun's great! Are you planning on seeing the sequel that comes out later this year?
Yes, I'm hoping to see the Top Gun sequel. I’m not sure when it’s coming out.
Anything new on the horizon that we should keep an eye out for?
I’m not sure what is next for me or my business. I do make some other items, like necklaces, keychains, and my original Alaskan photo coasters, along with some bear and eagle pictures. They are also a lot of fun. Maybe one day the Bear Box will see them too.
What made you want to be a part of The Bear Box?
I wanted to be a part of Bear Box as soon as my friend Chelsey told me about it. LeeAnna had purchased her stickers, so I messaged her right away. It actually took a few messages to get her to say yes. I love Alaska and I wanted to be a part of something that people could enjoy from our wonderful state. I think Bear Box is a GREAT idea.
Do you have any inspirational quotes or any words of wisdom that you'd like to share?
My only words of wisdom are: Everything happens for a reason. Life is Great, enjoy every minute.
Is there anything else that you'd like to add or mention that you haven't had a chance to yet?
I don’t really know what else to add, except I really appreciate this opportunity to share my bracelets with other people that love Alaska as much as I do. I think the Bear Box is a GREAT idea.