LINDA Bustos never dreamed her jewelry would be featured in gift bags that are given to MTV award nominees.
The West Vancouverite hopes that having her product distributed to celebrities in the days surrounding MTV's Video Music Awards Thursday will bring her new customers.
"I would love to have my stuff circulating around in the Vancouver area with people choosing to wear it and loving to wear it," says Bustos.
Bustos was invited to make 40 necklaces for award nominees, 20 for men and 20 for women. The necklaces exude her gothic Victorian style.
Bustos says her necklaces will be included in gift baskets sent to nominees' hotels or their management by a company called Hollywood Baskets. And while these are not the official VMA swag bags, Bustos does hope to see some social media buzz on Facebook or Twitter about her jewelry and her online store on Etsy.com called Robin Hood Couture. Etsy is an online shopping website focused on handmade or vintage items where sellers create an online boutique.
Bustos would most like to see songstress Lana Del Rey in the galaxy-and-star themed necklaces she made for female nominees. "She's like an indie fashion princess," says Bustos, who thinks of Del Rey as a style icon.
Once the gifts are given out, Bustos says, "I'll be watching the magazines and keeping my eye out for what's around their necks."
Bustos makes all the jewelry herself and sees it as an enjoyable way to relax after work. She has a bachelor of business administration from Capilano University and works for a software company, Elastic Path, writing their blog.
The idea for an online jewelry store came to Bustos in September 2010. She opened her Etsy store in November that same year. "The reason why it's called Robin Hood Couture is that you can't find a lot of Old World, medieval, Victorian looking things in the mall.
"I'm not a trendy person, I have the kind of things that I like to wear so I was making things primarily for my style," says Bustos. "I like to use black roses, filigree, I like to play around with moody looks and try and make them pretty."
Prices range from $18 to $36 on Etsy. Bustos's jewelry also sells in boutiques in Victoria and Siberia and have appeared on the runway at Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week.
The fashion entrepreneur also designed a special necklace for a Children's Heart Network fundraiser.
Bustos says one of the most rewarding parts of her business is interacting with customers and hearing their stories.
She mentions a recent commission for two necklaces, each with an angel wing and a small pearl. The client, who had just lost her mother to multiple sclerosis, customordered the necklaces for herself and her sister. The wings represent the sisters at their mother's bedside while the pearl was their mother's birthstone. Bustos says, "she told me, you have no idea how healing the process of picking out memorial jewelry was."