Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jewelry gives Temple native good career

Telegram Staff Writer

Her jewelry bears the brand of Dirty Librarian.
'It's kind of a joke,' said the artist, Temple native Susan Domelsmith of Brooklyn, N.Y., promising that there's nothing X-rated about the pieces she designs.
'I had a friend who worked at a record store, and he had a crush on me,' she said, giggling as she explained. 'That was his secret pet name for me. I wore glasses and always had my hair in a bun.'
She learned about the term of endearment through a bit of gossip with a mutual friend.
'Once I found out, he go so embarrassed,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'I teased him and teased him. It's a great memory.'
No romantic relationship came from the interlude, but the 1998 Temple High School graduate didn't have to think twice when it came time for her to develop a brand for her jewelry.
'Dirty Librarian Chain - it's a catchy name. DLC for short,' she said. 'There's humor, and I love the old vintage library image it conjures.' Her jewelry chain is young, less than a decade old, but it's already seen quite a bit of success. DLC has been featured in several magazines, including People Style Watch, Texas Monthly and Teen Vogue.
'And celebrities have bought my jewelry,' she said, referring to Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson.
Miss Domelsmith didn't get to meet the actresses, but she has the receipts of their purchases. And that's 'awesome enough.'
'I've seen photographs of them wearing my pieces,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'To me, that's a great accomplishment and huge compliment.'
The jewelry designer sells her work online at and at various style shops in New York, including a showroom she runs a group of friends.
'They're clothing designers,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'Everything comes together in our parlor. Our styles really meld.'
When shipped, all DLC pieces come wrapped in pages of old books.
'That contributes to the vintage library theme,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'The books are used and well worn. They have pages ripped and notes written everywhere. I like to read too much to tear new books up.'
The designer's current goal is international sales.
'The chain is getting really popular in China and Japan,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'The Internet makes business quicker and easier.'
The revenue she earns is enough to pay the bills. She no longer needs to work a day job at a retail store to make ends meet.
'The jewelry's a passion,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'I strive to create the unique. Each piece is one-of-a-kind.'
In necklaces, she enjoys experimenting with shape: 'The crossing of the lines, I love the tangling of the chains.'
It's about art - and that has always been a part of her life.
'I've always liked to draw,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'And I've always been intrigued by how lines intersect.'
Her parents, David and Linda Domelsmith of Temple, say the talent came at an early age.
'When she was a toddler, she never was content to just play with dolls,' Mrs. Domelsmith said. 'She made books for the dolls. To the eye, the words were pre-schoolish, but when gave the books to her dolls, they came with a story she told them.'
And in the art classes that followed, first preschool and then at high school, Mrs. Domelsmith said the art teachers always sent home reports full of praise.
'They said she was talented,' Mrs. Domelsmith said.
When it came time for college, the choice of study was obvious.
'I went to the University of Texas for art,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'But I also studied psychology because I was interested in it, and I thought it would be easier to get a job in that field.'
Neither daughter nor mother can remember precisely when the jewelry making started.
'First there was the Play Dough jewelry, and then there was the plastic jewelry we made at birthday parties,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'In some way or another, whether as a game or hobby or job, the jewelry has always been there.'
And she's glad for that. When she graduated from college, psychology internships were hard to find.
'It didn't matter if they were paid or unpaid,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'So I worked at retail stores.'
But she made jewelry at home, on the side.
And with some luck and hard work, she became a self-sufficient entrepreneur. By 2006, Miss Domelsmith had the skill and confidence to move to New York and launch DLC.
'I don't know where she gets that drive,' Mrs. Domelsmith said. 'She's such a hard worker.'

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