I was honored to be featured in VoyageLA last year - better to share late rather than never, right? :)
Today we’d like to introduce you to Audrey Gaddis.
Audrey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve wanted to be a designer for as long as I can remember. I love unique pieces and stand-out classics that allow me to express myself through style: wearable art. Over the years I attempted to create clothing pieces, but my lack of technical skills prevented me from producing the level of quality I would be proud to show off. I’ve been thrilled to discover just in this past year and a half that I have a talent for embellishing pieces, and I’ve begun to emerge as a “Bling Artist.”
In early 2016, I bought a motorcycle as my sole transportation (a major upgrade from the bicycle I had been riding for the previous three years!) As I slowly overcame my fear of riding thru LA traffic with my daily commute & the occasional weekend ride, I started to curate my motorcycle gear collection. I started thinking about blinging out my helmet to make my riding style more femme – more ‘Motorcyclista.’ I happened to meet a woman with blinged out headphones at a ‘Deep’ party on the Standard hotel rooftop in July 2017.
I wish I knew her name so I could give her credit – but she’s the one who told me which glue to use & how to make the rhinestones sparkle like crazy! I started working on my first helmet about a week later. When I began riding around with it (unfinished, totally a work-in-progress), I discovered that wearing a head full of sparkles has the *very* pleasant side effect of drawing inspired & inspiring people to me. These interactions have lifted me up & helped me feel connected & have inspired me to continue perfecting my art & creating new pieces.
Honestly, it was all of that encouragement that inspired me to create my second helmet – especially so soon after completing the first one (only a few days!) From that point forward, I’ve been focused on creating wearable Bling Art pieces that I want/need/love – and I’ve had the privilege of creating pieces for some really amazing & talented clients.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve experienced so much joy & satisfaction from the freedom that I feel from expressing myself creatively that I have genuinely enjoyed the entire journey so far.
I was much more focused when I started working on my second helmet & was able to produce a much more polished design with much higher quality materials (Swarovski) in a shorter period of time. When I was about halfway finished, I decided that I was going to create an Instagram account and start putting myself out there as a Bling Artist – which is when I branded my work as ‘Goddess Armor.’
I wanted to offer Tooth Gems as well since I’ve been wearing them for years. So I connected with the Tooth Gems expert Lori Linzmeir, aka Foxy McSugah, based in the Bay area to go through her training program & become an affiliate.
With my helmets & my tooth gems I signed on as a vendor at AllRight Collective in June 2018, a maker’s market featuring LA-based designers & makers & artist formerly located in Mid City, now at 3208 West Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake. I was nowhere near prepared to be a vendor at that point – but I loved the vision & energy that Chelsea Hughes had & I knew that if I became part of AllRight, then I would be forced to make consistent steps forward with my business.
I felt the need to offer a more ‘shoppable’ product at AllRight Collective & I wanted to create something that I would personally use because I feel like that’s a major part of building an authentic brand. The Bling Pasties idea came to me while on vacation in Hawaii a couple of weeks later. I realized that the pasties I had been wearing with quite a few of my outfits could be dramatically improved with the addition of Swarovski crystals.
As soon as I got back to LA, I started designing & working with different materials to create a Bling Pasties that are comfortable & easy to wear as well as sexy & glamorous. I created a few pieces for myself so that I could test them out & started wearing them out to pool parties and under sheer tops going out to shows.
Within a couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to do a photoshoot with Rome da Luce for a project he was working on. He captured such amazing shots – the first ever with both the helmet & the pasties – and made me look like such a badass! I was able to create custom Bling Pasties for a few performers & the feedback that I received was so overwhelmingly positive that I had the confidence to put my designs up on Etsy & in the AllRight Collective shop.
Toward the end of 2018, I was feeling a bit stuck & unsure of what my next move should be – but when 2019 hit I was approached with several really exciting opportunities to create custom pieces for clients & to showcase Goddess Armor in a more formal setting – so my next steps have been presenting themselves so far this year.
I don’t always know exactly what to do or how to do it, but I’ve gotten pretty comfortable being outside of my comfort zone & have discovered that doing SOMEthing is more important than doing the PERFECT thing. Also, I’ve been super fortunate to make connections with people who have been successful in their ventures & they’ve been willing to share their wisdom & guidance with me.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Goddess Armor – what should we know?
Goddess Armor is a provocative and seductive brand of wearable art designed for the intrepid, daring and confident woman in the tradition of fashion mavens. Celebrating glamorous, femme allure in the form of wearable bling art pieces that are both enticing and stunningly provocative to the eye while empowering their wearer. We are defining a seductive, powerful aesthetic for the modern woman. Each Goddess Armor product is one of a kind, glamorous art installation in itself – each commission demanding a significant investment of time and expertise.
We create Swarovski Crystal covered accessories including sleek motorcycle helmets. Our clients provide us with the accessory they would like to have customized, and we create their personalized design to their specifications. We begin the design process with a consultation which can be requested thru our website.
Our Bling Pasties are soft, self-adhesive Swarovski Crystal encrusted nipple covers that uplift your bra-less or sheer style with a comfortable, natural feel. Each set is individually designed with a blinged out, luxe art treatment using only Genuine Swarovski crystals & are reusable 30+ times with diligent care. These pieces are available ready made at AllRight Collective in Silver Lake or through our website, although custom orders are preferred.
Along with our collection of blinged out pieces, we also offer Swarovski Crystal Tooth Gems. We use high-grade dental adhesive for each gem, lasting up to 6 months or longer without compromising your teeth. Toothgem placement is available by appointment via our website. Locations are available in Silver Lake as well as Mid City.
Goddess Armor is more than a brand, it’s a philosophy – a life statement and a rallying call to women to embrace their strength, their power, their natural beauty to live life on their terms.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Becoming part of AllRight Collective (@allright.collective) has propelled me further than I ever could have gotten on my own. I’ve had built in motivation & accountability with a community of makers & creators & designers in addition to a platform to build my brand. Chelsea Huges (@cheallnotchels) has shared a wealth of expertise & guidance as well as website wizardry & photography skills.
Katya Krause (@katyakrause), my friend & Pilates instructor, was one of my first models and one of my biggest cheerleaders. Regina Santos (@matterbyregina) for being such an amazing life coach and laying the foundation for the confidence it takes to stepping into all of this in the first place. Jillian Merritt (@jillianmerritt) for inspiring one of my favorite designs & rocking them so elegantly as a model, & assisting me at my first event.
Cathy Merenda (@cathymerenda) for so enthusiastically photographing the first shoot I ever put together. Carrie Sedor (@carrie.fnf) for imparting her knowledge & guidance that helped me create a polished showcase. Kayla Tange (@coco.ono) for being my very first custom client & encouraging me everytime I see her wear them. Errin Acuna, aka The Slutty Chef (@erinn.in.the.raw) for requesting the craziest custom pasties to date: meat! (so I made her ribeyes & salmon steaks) & wearing them with Vicki Chase (@vickichase) in her Health.E.Raid episode.
Jordan Kensley (@jordankensley) for being so damn loud and proud about her bling pasties & sharing them with so many performers!! Jake DuPree (@jakedupree) for giving me the honor of creating pasties for his huge debut at Tease if You Please. Jeremy Shelton (@jeremyturbo) for gifting his Personal Training clients with my Kettlebling pieces.
So many friends & colleagues have given me advice and encouragement that I’ve appreciated immensely. I continue to be fueled & inspired by all of the kind words of people who stop me in the grocery store or on the street to admire my motorcycle helmet. I’m so grateful for everyone who has encouraged me so far, it truly means the world to me & I hope to be in a position to pay it forward.
- Bling Pasties starting at $100 per set ready made; starting at $150 per set custom
- Tooth Gems: $45 – 1st gem, $30 – 2nd gem, $20 each gem thereafter
- Website: GoddessArmorBling.com
- Phone: 424.744.6355
- Email: Audrey@GoddessArmorBling.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goddessarmor/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goddessarmor/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoddessArmor