Monday, February 14, 2011

Burnaby Now Article

Star power: Alyson Johnson, a custom jewelry designer from Burnaby, is going to the Oscars with her work.

Many people dream of making it to the Oscars, but one lucky Burnaby resident will make that dream come true this month.

Alyson Johnson, a custom jewelry designer based in the Forest Grove neighbourhood, has been invited to showcase her creations at the pre-Oscar Baby Boom Boom Room event.

"I'm super excited," she says.

The suite is set up for celebrity parents attending the Oscars prior to the Academy Awards.

Johnson's company, Aly Dahl Designs, was invited to be involved by the event's host Jayneoni Moore, whose assistant follows Johnson on Twitter and contacted her.

"Social media can pay off," Johnson says, laughing.

The opportunity is the kind of thing she dreamed about. When she was just starting her business, she had a conversation with a friend about how great it would be to feature her wares at an event with celebrities.

"I never expected it to happen," Johnson says.

Her one-of-a-kind jewelry features fingerprints (and, in the case of pets, nose and paw prints) set in silver.

While she originally had the idea of marketing the jewelry for new mothers, to preserve baby fingerprints, she's had a lot of response from parents of older children as well, she says.

Husbands and wives also come to her for anniversary gifts, best friends exchange her pieces, and pet owners get jewelry made from imprints of their dogs and cats' noses, according to Johnson.

She attended the self-employment program at Douglas College in New West in September 2009.

She had been in finance for 15 years, she says, and felt dissatisfied after returning to work after having her son. So when the recession hit, she took the opportunity to go back to school and learn how to run her own business.

Johnson had been making jewelry as a hobby for 10 years, using the fingerprint concept in her designs.

But some people still have difficulty envisioning what it will look like, she says. She hopes her foray to Los Angeles for the Oscars will change that.

Johnson heads to Hollywood on Feb. 22.

She is taking her two children with her, she says, and they'll be staying with their grandmother in Palm Springs.

"They're so excited," she says of her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.

"Normally they get pulled along for mom's work, and it's so boring, Johnson says, "and now they get to go to Disneyland."

She plans to showcase samples of her work and give out 250 impression kits at the Boom Boom Room in Beverly Hills on Feb. 25 and 26.

The Boom Boom Room is a pre-Oscar marketing and gifting suite where Oscar contenders and attendees who are new parents can peruse merchandise and sample gifts.

See for more on her work.

Taken from the Feb 12 On line version of The Burnaby Now

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