Inspirational Designer Spotlight: Q & A with Gretel Going of Fortune & Frame

Gretel spent a year designing the intricate packaging. Pictured: Fortune Cookie Locket, starting at $165
Gretel spent a year designing the intricate packaging. Pictured: Fortune Cookie Locket, starting at $165

Fortune & Frame is an emerging jewelry, frame, and “other things that hold fortunes” line based out of NYC.  The founder, Gretel Going, has had an amazing journey to launching her collection and her story is thoughtfully reflected through each of her pieces. Launched this year, her debut 2014 collection titled “On the Mend” touchingly represents “all things rustic, broken, and put back together again….a nod to the torturous and solitary aspects of getting-better—a process with which fortunes have become synonymous.”

Each piece is handcrafted and intricately packaged in NYC and includes a fortune written by Gretel herself. We had a chance to get the inside scoop from Gretel on her journey and found her honesty, vulnerability, and rawness to be as beautiful and inspiring as her collection.

What inspired you to start your jewelry line?

Gretel: That’s a good question, and I’m not even sure I know the answer. This whole project started out more than two years ago when a fortune I’d held onto kept falling on the floor. I’d become kind of attached to the thing–it was happy, I was sad–and I realized I didn’t have a good place to put it. So that’s what gave me the idea to design the initial frames and lockets. From there, it was like the line took on a life of its own and I was no longer running the show. Next thing I knew, my whole first collection, On the Mend, had emerged. When I stood back and looked at it, I thought, ‘Well, yeah, I guess this whole theme of breaking yourself down and putting yourself back together again is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, so it’s not totally odd that this all presented itself, but it’s almost like I wasn’t even involved, even though I did a massive amount of work to bring it to life.’  I feel pretty confident that’s the weirdest answer you’ve ever received to that question, but that’s what I’ve got!

You obviously put a lot of heart into every design but what’s favorite piece from the collection?

Gretel: The jagged + hammered fortune locket is my absolute favorite, followed by the Broken Wishbones. I struggled with the idea of the wishbones because I’m adamantly opposed to animal cruelty in any way, but clearly they’re metal so I decided not to take the allusion too seriously. Plus, they have a different meaning to me (which I’ve described on the site). As for the lockets, I plan to introduce a number of different designs as I go, but I love how the jagged + hammered one offers just a peak at the fortune. It’s kind of a teaser that’s there for conversation if the wearer wants to engage, but also let’s her keep it private if not.

gretelWhat are the rewards and challenges of being a jewelry designer?

Gretel:The biggest reward so far has been how much I’ve learned–not just technically or design-wise–but about life. I find that I learn the most about life when I’m 100% immersed in something I love. I’ve tried to immortalize some of the things I’ve learned along the way in the stories I have on the site, as well as in the fortunes. The biggest challenge has been learning how to be vulnerable, which is necessary when you’re putting yourself out there for the world to critique. For about a month before I launched the line, I was balled up in fetal position, terrified of what was to come; I was just a mess. But it has all made me realize that I’ve always done things that I know I’m good at, even if I didn’t love them. That’s way too safe and not as fulfilling as doing something that I love, even if I have to struggle my way through it. Yet another lesson I’m learning, I guess…

It’s amazing how you personally write every fortune. What’s your favorite?

Gretel: My favorite fortunes, in general, are ones that are a bit biting–less arbitrarily optimistic, and more insightful. My favorite so far is “You’re a good mindreader, but remember: when you interpret the silence, you only hear yourself.” But I find that the ones that are most popular are a bit more directly positive, such as “You haven’t lived until you’ve learned to let go.” and “Resist the urge to resist temptation.”

Tell us a little about your background. What did you do prior to starting your line?

Gretel: I have a totally mixed background. I’ve always somehow been involved in the arts, but in a million different formats. After school, I started up an edgy literary magazine out in California, wrote a couple novels (that I never published), wrote some anonymous blogs that got a lot of attention, designed mosaic wall hangings and furniture that I used to show in galleries in Chicago, hand-carved wood tables, and the list goes on. Six years ago I had kind of a life break down and decided I needed more structure in my career. I had three plans of attack: I’d try to get the city of New York to commission me to do mosaic tile designs in all the subway stations that don’t have them, I’d pursue publishing a novel I’d written based on one of my blogs, or I’d start a communications agency. I was desperately craving stability, so I chose the latter and it’s still going strong. But I’ve realized along the way that with stability comes antsi-ness for me. Hence, poring myself into this jewelry line, which is totally unpredictable and scary–two adjectives I now know I need in my life.

You can view and purchase Fortune & Frame online at



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Desiree Rabuse

Desiree Rabuse is a social entrepreneur and founder & CEO of StyleFox®. She's a devout bookworm, a fan of "Dad" jokes, and an apparent INTP. She loves snowboarding, philosophy, traveling, martial arts, coffee, and helping people lead healthy, happy, more efficient lives.

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