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Gold Pan Pete Design
Alex started Gold Pan Pete Design in 2012. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Gold Pan Pete Design?
After graduating from Saint Louis University and teaching for two years in the St. Louis area, I decided to pursue my rugby career in London, England. While in England, I met my now wife, Paula, who is from New Zealand.
After we got engaged, we took a trip to New Zealand. The area where she is from was a huge gold mining area back in the 1800s. I found the history of the area very interesting and found out that there is still a lot of gold around...if you could find it! I made it my goal of the trip to find enough gold to make my wedding ring.
My best piece of advice for anyone who is interested in starting their own business and has a good idea would be to just go for it. Take things in baby steps and gradually get bigger and bigger.
After countless hours of gold panning in local streams and rivers, I was able to find about 1 ½ grams of gold. This was quite a bit short of the 20 or so grams I would need for a full ring. On returning to London, I spoke with a jeweler who had made some of our good friends’ wedding and engagement rings about using the gold I had found in my wedding ring.
In our conversations, I was immediately interested in the process of making the ring and found out that the jeweler also taught jewelry making at a university in London and also privately out of his home workshop. I choose to take the classes at his workshop every Saturday morning for three hours for about a year and a half.
It was also during this time that I read Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Work Week* *and Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity. Both of these books really resonated with me because I was going through some burn out with my teaching career and wanted a change, but didn’t really know what to go into. The jewelry making became a creative outlet.
I literally had no experience at all with any type of metal work, but I did quite enjoy art, ceramics, and sculpting in high school, which comes into making jewelry a little. However, it was after I started making jewelry that I found out from my grandmother that her grandfather and great uncle were both jewelers and had two jewelry stores when they settled in St. Louis from Germany in the 1800s.
When I first started making pieces of jewelry it was really just to practice the skills I was learning. Then I started to make pieces for my wife. She really liked most of them, and then her friends started wanting me to make pieces for them, etc. This really helped validate my work and decided to start selling on the website, Etsy.
Like I said earlier, I was teaching full time, playing rugby, but was also building a career in acting. I had roles in some pretty amazing films and commercials, but it was definitely a career that was not a reliable income source. Although I loved it, I wasn’t fully prepared to go ‘all-in’ on acting and not know if I would have an income from week to week.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater