When I see different stones, it’s not that I choose them, but they choose me. There are certain ones that just attract me really fast. When I first started, the part I liked the most was mixing and matching.
After I graduated from school, I worked at a jewelry shop as a designer for five years. My sister and I had both quit our jobs in Taipei and decided to renovate and make our grandma’s old place into a hostel by ourselves with the help of our friends. A lot of people wanted to see it and we were even in the newspaper. But, we realized we couldn’t make enough to live off of, and there were a lot of our grandma’s and mom’s old clothes that I decided to mix and match and take a lot of cool pictures of, so that’s how Fyntage started (Fyn+ vintage), selling vintage clothing and accessories.
When I traveled in the US, I liked shopping at second hand shops and I would buy whatever I liked to bring back to sell, too. It was going pretty well and I was happy that I had guests at the hostel that I could interact with, and then go to the markets and meet different kinds of people and customers or other vendors selling vintage clothes, too. It was really fun and I was meeting a lot of people and just felt like the whole world opened up in a different way. Working before had been the same routine, repeating the same thing every day, but then it became a whole different world and I loved this lifestyle. I would wake up in the morning filled with energy and very active with the new things I wanted to try every day. It’s crazy to think about it now, that I would wake up to make different outfits so I could take pictures in the morning light all by myself. After I do these things, and when people see it and have some kind of response, or feel happy when they wear something, I feel like I helped someone, so it gives me energy to keep doing it.
Later, my husband (my boyfriend at the time) was in Japan and suggested that we move to Hawaii to try and live. I decided to go and that’s when I started getting into raw crystals because I had a friend that introduced them to me. I thought they were really cool and pretty. There were some markets in Maui with a lot of handcrafts and jewelry and it looked really fun, so I wanted to try. I was familiar with jewelry design, but not actually making it, so then I started watching a lot of tutorials on YouTube. I started buying materials and when I traveled, I would always pick out stones. I was still buying vintage clothes too, and Fyntage never stopped, but it started turning more and more towards jewelry because vintage clothing is expensive to ship and pretty tiring to sell.
I came back to Taiwan and really focused on doing Fyntage jewelry for two years, going to a lot of markets and I was selling very well. Then, I decided to go to New Zealand for a working holiday. I couldn’t move everything over there, but I knew I couldn’t completely stop Fyntage either. I focused on stamping and making customized things. I didn’t sell as well as before, but at least it didn’t get to zero. I think if you get to zero and want to get back up, it’s very hard. So, I wanted to have something still there, like to keep something burning and not let the flame completely die.
I’m back now, and it’s a little hard to get back up. I think the environment makes it hard, too, like the markets in Taipei are different than before, so everyone gets affected. I still have a lot of crystals and a lot of ideas in my head, but then it takes a lot of time to make them. Even if I have an idea, I have to try and test it and it will fail many times, which is annoying. And I get lazy. My husband will just tell me to take a break, so we can go out to a waterfall or hiking or something to exercise or be with people. One day, you will wake up and feel like doing it, and will go and do it yourself. No one can make you do it; only you can tell yourself to do it.
Honestly, I haven’t felt very inspired recently. Keeping it up is tiring and a little hard. I try to think a lot about it, but then it doesn’t matter if we think a lot about it. I started to care too much and it affects others around me, like my husband will be stressed out if I’m stressed out. I have to remind myself that there’s nothing to be stressed out about; this is how it is. It doesn’t matter if it gets better or worse, because bad or good, everything passes. We only live a short life.
I’ve been learning a lot of philosophical things that I can relate to, and now I feel like Fyntage has an even bigger mission. Since it’s already a brand, I can use it as a platform to share ideas. I’m working on Anatta, which is not-self. Another is 空, or emptiness. You can be nothing, or everything. It’s not that you’re nothing, but in the present. It helps me see things as more open because everything changes. You keep growing and each second, you are different from the second before. And if nothing is consistent, it means everything is possible.
I want to use Fyntage to share these and slowly incorporate them into my marketing because I felt like if I just make things that look good and people buy them and that’s it, it’s shallow, or without a deeper meaning. I want to bring something that inspires people. I don’t have enough wisdom to explain these things, but I hope in the future, I can express them through what I create through Fyntage to let people know what I want to say.