Artisans from around the country set up shop in the parking lot of the Oaks Mall April 13 and 14 for a two-day art festival that hosted painters, sculpters, jewelry designers and photographers.
One of the featured artisans was Gemologist Aimee Rivka, who grew up in Calabasas.
Rivka started her jewelry business twelve years ago and currently sells to boutiques and museums around the United States, including the Getty Museum.
“I always wanted to be creative,” Rivka said. Her passion for jewelrymaking came from her love of nature.
When she first started out in the jewelry industry, she said she did not have the best experience.
“When I worked for a big jewelry company, I actually hated having a boss,” Rivka said.
That’s when she decided to work hard, save up, and follow her dreams.
“It is more work than you think. You definitely have to put your all into it and you have to work morning, noon, and night,” Rivka said.
She received her graduate degree in gemology from the Gemology Institute of America in Carlsbad, California.
Her jewelry business, Arivka, sells hand-crocheted jewelry with 14 karat gold filled wire and sterling silver wire.
For anyone wanting to start their own business, she said they should not hold back.
“Take that leap and just jump because you won’t fall. If you have any fear at all, it will hold you back. So just be free with it and do it,” Rivka said.
When she started her business all by herself, Rivka had to commit to extremely long hours.
“It was so worth it. I wouldn’t rather do anything else,” she said.
Another vendor at the art festival, John Derrick, started his own business 30 years ago.
Thru the Garden Window is a fragrance company that specializes in potpourri products using, “fresh fruit, seeds, herbs, and spices.” He uses California Valencia oranges from Bakersfield and Washington Red Delicious apples.
Derrick, who currently lives in Las Vegas, used to be in the antiques industry. Derrick said he has sold about one million products, at $25 each.
His wife passed away seven years ago, but he still continues their business by doing 45 trade shows a year.
“She’s the one who designed all this and it’s the same as when she was alive,” Derrick said.
He said he enjoys being on the road and traveling all over the country. His next stops include Catalina Island, Northern California, El Paso, Denver and Salt Lake City.