Meet the Maker
Hey hey! I'm Emily - it's so nice to meet you!
If you've clicked this page, my guess is that knowing the back story of a small business means something to you. And in which case, I'd like to say thank you! If you're family, an old friend, or a new Instagram buddy, welcome to this new world I've created over the last few months. It's been quite a journey so far!
You may or may not know that I've been making and selling jewelry since I was in middle school, but it was always just a hobby. When I moved to New York City for College I studied Visual Merchandising and never looked back. Jewelry became an after thought or a fun project when friends and I were bored. I usually only made jewelry when I wanted to gift something handmade or personalized that I couldn't find in a store.
Fast forward to Summer 2019, I became so burned out in NYC Corporate America, I knew I desperately had to make a change. After taking some time to myself and explore what I truly wanted, I knew three things for sure:
- I wanted to be creative everyday
- I wanted to work for myself
- I wanted to build a company that would give back
Even though I am still working through these points to hone in on "my purpose" I knew there was more to Monday - Friday working 60+ hours at a desk, feeling guilty for taking a water break. Not okay. Even though I was really good at my Corporate job, I felt like less and less like myself with each passing day. In the back of my head, I knew I was doing myself a huge disservice building someone else's dream.
In order to fulfill my #3 obligation, 11% of all profits will be donated to a charitable organization. There will also be opportunities throughout the year to raise money, donate, and participate in similar efforts.
So, that's where I am today and a brief synopsis of how I got here! If you're in a similar boat and want to connect, I'd love to exchange stories!
A Serendipitous Name:
You might also be wondering about the name, 11 & Thoms. Any guesses why it's significant?? Some friends and family may know the back story, but for my new pals, here is how the name came to be:
11: This has been my "lucky" number for many years. I would repeatedly see this number during really important life moments and also when things got tough. I am convinced this is my Grandma's way of saying hello and giving me a sign that all is well.
My favorite example is during a 2018 trip to my local NYC deli, only a few days leading up to my wedding. About a month or two before my then-fiance (now husband) and I got hitched, it started to hit me that my Grandma wouldn't be there to see me as a bride. She had passed away in November several years earlier. While I had processed her passing, it was still tough knowing she wouldn't watch me walk down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. The Monday before our Saturday wedding, I realized there was nothing planned for dinner, so I ran to the prepared food section at the nearby grocery store. Without thinking, I grabbed deli a number from the ticket machine. Distracted as usual, I finally put my phone down long enough to realize my number was 11. "Huh, cool coincidence!" I thought. At this point, seeing 11 here and there was common. I ordered my half pound of chicken salad and headed to the register.
After waiting for a few minutes, I had made it to the front of the line and lane number 11 was calling "NEXT!" for me to step forward. "Oh weird..two 11's in literally ten minutes of each other", I thought more convinced this was a sign than a coincidence. I pay for my food and leave, again distracted, probably texting my wedding planner. As I get one block away from my apartment, it dawns on me to check the receipt for another 11. Sure enough, there it is... 11 cents on the total and paid on the 11th minute of the hour. "WHAT THE F*%k?!?", my mind was freaking out.
In that moment, it was so clear to me that the number 11 was a sign from my Grandma up above letting me know she would be at our wedding. Before and since that deli adventure, the number 11 has consistently reappeared, most often when I'm not even looking. When naming my business, I knew "11" had to be incorporated as a way to honor this serendipitous sign from my Grandma.
THOMS: Back in February of 2014, I was out on the town with some girlfriends in NYC. My one friend had recommended that we stop into a bar called Professor Thoms in the East Village. It was a sports bar and one I had never been in before. I figured this would be a quick pit stop on the way to a more "formal" establishment -we were in heels for goodness sake! But as fate would have it, this is where I would meet the love of my life.
Let me back up a little though, I'm getting ahead of myself. When we walked into the bar, there was a group of maybe six or seven guys a few feet away from where we ordered drinks. Our girl group minded our own business for a bit but then noticed they had ordered loaded tater tots....omfg. We had to talk to them. One of the girls in our group recognized one of the guys and shouted, "HEY, didn't you go to Florida??" and almost immediately the two groups began mingling. It turns out they had mutual friends from College, or two degrees of separation. TOTS HERE I COME!!
As I'm preoccupied trying to figure out how I can mooch some free food, a few guys come up and talk to me, but being newly single, I wasn't interested. Then, I start talking to a guy with dark hair in a black polo who doesn't believe me that I am half Cuban. WHAT?! How rude. We change subjects and hit it off talking about Lacrosse, New York, and what types of light beer he recommends for someone who only likes Blue Moon (lol at 23yr old me). He was so sweet and really easy to talk to. I had a great time getting to know Peter that night.
When the night was over and the bar lights came on, Peter asked for my number so I agreed and got his number as well. I passed him my phone so he could enter it himself. As he handed the phone back to me... WAIT, WHAT??? HIS NAME IS CHRIS?? .. OMG I am so embarrassed. Just blame it on the alcohol, right?? True story, my friends.
What turned out to be a not-so-random night, changed the rest of our lives. Since the night we met, the rest is history! CHRIS and I dated for three years, got engaged in December of 2016 and married in May of 2018. We are forever grateful for Professor Thoms allowing a space for our two worlds to collide in such an unexpected way. We will never see meeting at Professor Thoms as a chance encounter, we truly believe it was fate. I thought there was no better way to recognize this monumental moment in my life than giving my business a piece of it.
So, there you have it! I told ya, 11 & THOMS has so much more meaning behind the name and it perfectly summarizes the fortuitous events in my life. I hope you've learned something new about me and will forever think of 11 & Thoms is a very different light!