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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Oddball Earrings inspires confidence through quirky jewelry

Article Originally Published by Hannah Johnson on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Hannah Johnson on North Texas Daily

Surrounded by a plethora of pliers, wire cutters, beads and other supplies, a 22-year-old broadcast journalism student works on her newest design for her business, Oddball Earrings.

Started by Becca Burke in December 2019, Oddball Earrings sells handmade earrings, necklaces, hair clips and other jewelry items.  The idea for the business began when Burke worked at an after-school program at an elementary school in Denton because she received compliments on her earrings from students.

“I wanted to wow the kids,” Burke said. “They were my inspiration.” 

Burke found her students were at the age when they began to struggle with insecurities. She often encouraged them to lean into whatever they found weird or odd.

“It’s okay to be weird,” Burke said. “The kids would say I’m weird and I’d say ‘heck yeah.’”

As a child, Burke was self-conscious of her ears, but wearing earrings made her want to show them off and feel more comfortable about her insecurity.

“It made me feel empowered and good about myself,” Burke said. “I wanted to be able to give that to other people.”

Oddball Earrings’ name came from Burke’s desire to make each pair of earrings unique. 

“I don’t like making a whole bunch of the same earring,” Burke said. “I like every single one to vary even if it’s one single tiny bead or the placement of a flower. Every single one is an oddball.” 

Not being scared of the unusual has influenced Burke’s art. She said she takes inspiration from things she sees in nature or online, then turns them into art. Through these earrings, she hopes to spark confidence in those around her.

“If you like rainbows, you can wear some rainbow earrings,” Burke said. “If you like knives, you can wear knife earrings. I’d love for everybody to feel good about themselves even if it’s with a little jewelry.” 

Burke incorporates different mediums in her work, such as resin, clay, wire, gemstones and most recently, glasswork. She also uses upcycled materials in an effort towards sustainability.  Oddball Earrings’ packaging is another outlet Burke uses to make her business stand out.

The placards she uses on the earrings are seed paper, an eco-friendly material embedded with seeds for flowers such as bird’s eye, black-eyed Susan, sweet alyssum and several others. This gives customers an opportunity to plant their cards to grow into flowers instead of ending up in a landfill.

The earring cards were one reason tech theatre and math senior Miki Orrantia-Kotowski was drawn to Oddball Earrings, which she found through Salvage Shoppe, a Denton business that specializes in secondhand clothing, accessories and home decor. 

“Two things I feel really set Oddball apart from other small businesses is how lovely the artist is and how eco-friendly the packaging is,” Orrantia-Kotowski said. “Each set is so unique and fun.” 

Burke wants to explore mental health awareness in future pieces. Throughout her own life, Burke has faced mental illness and finds making jewelry relaxing. 

“It is a therapy in some way for me,” Burke said. “I don’t view it as work.” 

Owning a business on her own takes up a large portion of her time, but as of now, Burke does not know if she wants to bring more people on board. She said the enjoyment of owning her own business is working on everything herself, but she recognizes that may be part of the downfall. 

Haslet resident and Burke’s boyfriend Noah Davidson helps her with some of the behind-the-scenes work for Oddball Earrings, such as bringing merchandise to pop-up shops and lending a helping hand when times get hectic.

“Sometimes, I feel like a little stress ball,” Davidson said. “I’m able to help out where I can, but I’m not the meticulous type. I can’t sit down and do what she does.” 

Burke is unsure about the future of Oddball Earrings. Her eventual goal is to travel across the country in a remodeled Toyota 4Runner and use what she finds in antique shops for her jewelry.

She also wants to use wildflowers she finds in each state for her jewelry.  Ultimately, she wants Oddball Earrings to be an inspiration and make her customers feel happy or good. 

“I want to bring joy in any way possible,” Burke said. 

Featured Image: Creator of Oddball Earrings Rebecca Burke sitting with her product board on July 1, 2021. Image by Laura Nunez

Source: North Texas Daily

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