I'm very excited to post about this incredibly driven boss babe, Alyssa Tanchajja of Rose Wolf Collective, who I've known for years from being in the same music scene! She makes gorgeous rings, necklaces, rollers, and other jewelry from gemstones and crystals inspired by Mother Earth. They are made in Brooklyn "where city rawness meets jungle beauty." I did this interview several months ago but have been waiting for the grand opening of CULT PARTY- a new collaboration store in Bushwick that features a whole geek girl gang of makers (vendor/ party info underneath interview)!
Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi there! Born and raised in NYC but have lived in two other countries
and I have seen 2/3 of the world. Attended Parsons School of Design as
a photo major. Worked as a roadie for bands which allowed me to
travel. Then was involved with other projects in hospitality that
taught me a lot about running a business. If I am not exploring
another town or city I am wandering museums or hanging out at a show.
My #1 homie is my dog, Andy. She keeps me company when I am working in
the studio and when I get free time we like long walks by the water.
Now I run a crystal and gemstone jewelry business called Rose Wolf
Why did you decide to start your own business, and is it your
In 2015 I was living in the jungles of Guatemala and at the time I
wasn't working while I was there. I realized I am the kind of person
that needs to be creative and busy or my mind goes off track. Most of
my days started by walking down to the river and hanging with the dogs
who would show me where to explore. You can find stones and crystals
on the land. Some of the locals would make their own jewelry and
believed the stones were good luck and protection charms. It was a
magical place for me at the time. With no jewelry making skills
whatsoever I asked friends of mine to sit down and make some jewelry
with me. It was a fun experience to learn from the other ladies and
give each other advice on what to make. In June 2016 I moved back to
NYC with some jewelry pieces and designs along with a bag of stones
from Guatemala. The next month I started selling my jewelry. Now it
has been almost a year and I am very fortunate to say it is a
What is your most popular item vs your favorite?
These really beautiful and sparkly cobalt blue druzy rings are my most
popular. Once it hits the sunlight- boom, it's sold. The colors are very
intense and each one is unique. Or the bullet jewelry. Made with
recycled 9mm bullet casings with a crystal point inserted. They have
been featured in Teen Vogue and TimeOut NY. My favorite item is the
quartz pendant. Each one is handmade by myself. Detail is very
important in making the pieces while I lay crushed stones on top of
the quartz. It is an original design of mine and I find it is what
makes my jewelry stand out the most compared to other designers.
Owning a small business is incredibly rewarding but can sometimes be
viewed through rose tinted glasses. What are some challenges you face?
Do you have any advice for others thinking of starting their own?
It definitely is a 24/7 seven days a week occupation. Something not
many people quite understand if they do not own or manage a business.
So it can take a lot of energy and time out of a person. Personally, I
love running my own business and being my own boss. Sometimes it's
hard to not hang out with loved ones and put your work first, but the
success and happiness you receive from customers are rewarding. The
most challenging part for me is understanding the importance of rest
and self-care. If you want to stay strong to keep your business
running you need to learn to take breaks once in awhile!
What gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?
Two things. My customers and using my creative drive to help me with
my depression and PTSD. Something that has been a part of my life
since childhood. When I started making jewelry it became a stress
outlet for me. Whenever I felt sad and started crying I got up and
made a piece of jewelry. My motto became turn pain into power. It has
become a very empowering process for myself and when I share my story
with my customers they feel empowered as well.
Where is your favorite place to vend?
I have only sold in NYC but all the Bulletin markets have been great.
Lots of awesome vendors and Alana and Ali who run it are badass.
Brooklyn Maker's Market is another fun one and the venue space is at
the Williamsburg Saving's Bank which is epic!
Do you have any plans to start making nerd culture inspired pieces?
Yes! Thanks to my friend Bill from Strange Flavor who put on Steven
Universe the other day. Some customers in the past had recommended it
but I never looked into it. It's a rad show and I find it interesting
with all the cross references of crystals. On the show, Steve is Rose
Quartz and he has healing properties. Rose Quartz, the stone
represents the power of love and positivity. It is often recommended
to those who have been emotionally hurt and need healing.
What comic book/ nerd culture character do you identify with the most and why?
Xena Warrior Princess. Funny enough when I was allowed to watch
television that was the show that always would be on. Something must
have sneaked into my mind because one time at Comic Con someone
thought I was dressed as her when I wasn't in costume at all. Similar
to Miyazaki's female characters I am drawn more to strong female
characters that have little to no dependency on a male character.
Why is it important to you to support other women in the industry? Name drop a favorite boss babe that isn't Little Petal.
One of my favorite experiences in Rose Wolf Collective is meeting
other women who also run their own business by themselves. It's very
empowering in a world that is very discouraging of women being
independent free thinking boss babes. We all have each other's backs
and the support is endless. Debbie Allen from HISSY FIT CULT rules! I
always feel love and power from her and you can definitely see it in
In fifty years, if the world could remember any one thing about you
and your business, what would you want it to be?
A goal of mine is to create a business model that gives back to the
community. I would like to teach other's how to make the jewelry and
show them they can sell it at markets and online. It would be nice to
return to Guatemala and build a community center for makers. After all
I owe my success to the place that started it all and I believe you
must give back when you are doing well!