Ava Miller combines her love for mountain biking and the environment to create Velo in a Jar.
Ava Miller, a Flagstaff high school teacher, jeweler, environmentalist and avid cyclist, found her niche by upcycling bike parts, including tubes and spokes into trendy earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
Miller says his business, Velo in a Jar, was inspired by his father’s love of cycling. His early years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin were all about bikes. “My dad rode bikes, so growing up we would go to a race every weekend.”
Miller began making jewelry in the basement of her family’s home. She tinkered with nail art, woodworking, painting, and Lake Michigan sea glass. “I was always experimenting but nothing ever stuck. When I moved to Flagstaff, I was living in an apartment with multiple riders and there were always bike parts lying around.
She started taking scraps and making earrings. “I didn’t think about it much, it was just an outlet at the time,” she said.
While working at Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters, her manager noticed her jewelry. “He thought the earrings were really cool and told me I should consider selling them. So I collected a few and customers started buying them.
“He’s an awesome product and his jewelry reflects his personality,” said Megan Van Pelt, sales associate for Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters, who worked with Miller. “The fact that Ava’s jewelry is made from all sustainable recycled products is so great. Her funky and unique designs pique the interest of our shoppers. When I explain that Ava is a special education teacher, they absolutely love it. hear about.Often buyers can’t decide which design to buy, so they buy more than one.
The name of his company is a nod to his past French studies, since velo means bicycle. She also thought it was interesting that her bicycle inner tubes came in a jar; hence, Velo in a Jar. Her earrings take the form of feathers, flowers and interesting shapes. Its bracelets are made from bicycle spokes. She says her designs reflect the two things she loves most, mountain biking and the environment.
“When people wear my earrings, I realize what we can do with repurposed materials,” she said. “And seeing the secondary purpose of things continually reminds me to evaluate how I use materials in my life.”
Along with Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters, Velo in a Jar jewelry can be found at Art Loft Collective, Community Market, Farmers Market, and Snow Mountain River (SMR). Beyond Flagstaff, Howling Cove Café in Bellvue, Colorado is another outlet.
“People are really excited about the idea of upcycling jewelry and it’s selling really well,” said SMR director Dylan Green. “To work in a bike shop and see how many tubes and chains we can go through, it’s cool that someone turns trash into something beautiful that someone can feel confident to buy and wear .”
These days, Miller spends more time commuting on her bike than on the trails and she can’t wait to showcase her work at the Bear Jaw Grin & Bear It Mountain Challenge on August 27-28. and I love to cook, garden and be in the woods. QCBN
By V. Ronnie Tierney, QCBN
For more information, visit Velo in a Jar at www.veloinajar.com, email [email protected] or call 414-943-2084.