Superpower on the Side is a series that features WeWork team members and how they spend their time when they’re not at work.
Occasionally while at work as a community associate at WeWork’s Hong Kong office, Nicole Law gets a nice reminder of her other job. A colleague will walk in wearing a pair of the earrings Law, 23, spends her nights and weekends handcrafting and—without Law having to say a word—someone else in the office will recognize them.
“They’ll say ‘Oh, those are Nicole’s earrings, right?’” she says. “It makes me really happy that they can recognize my work. It’s not just a pair of mediocre earrings. They’re ‘Nicole’s earrings.’”
Law, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, started making jewelry when she was 15. Her creative mom has always done DIY projects, including making Law’s baby clothes. So it was natural that Law would follow in her crafty footsteps, experimenting with gemstones like rose quartz and green fluorite.
“I started making jewelry with gemstones because I find it quite spiritual,” says Law. “People believe each gemstone has different energy and power. I, personally, also believe in that.”
She began selling her jewelry in 2015, under the moniker FREAK KID, just a few months before she left for a summer internship in Sydney, Australia. That trip inspired and informed her designs; she became especially interested in indigenous Australians, who wear leather jewelry. She added that to her arsenal of materials once she returned home to Hong Kong.
“The first jewelry I created after my Australia experience was leather and gemstones,” she says. “I painted on the leather to make it look like Australian Indigenous art.”
To sell her pieces, Law started an Instagram account (@freaki.store), where she posted photos of items. Customers would contact her through WhatsApp—but manually tracking her orders and inventory and responding to customers’ questions quickly became time-consuming. So she took a hiatus from the business in January 2016, when she left for a semester exchange program at Hawaii Pacific University, which was followed by another semester-long exchange program in San Francisco.
The time away did her some good. When Law arrived back in Hong Kong in early 2017, she felt newly inspired. “In Hawaii, I was greatly inspired by the cultural understanding and the encounters with different people, as well as the nature,” she says. “I created another collection with a lot of natural content.”
She decided a rebrand was in order. First, she built a website so she could more easily track her sales and present all of the information about her products in one place. She also shortened the brand name to FREAKI.
“I wanted to show that this is something not very normal,” she explains. “It’s something that might be strange. My belief is that good things come from imperfection.”
Her new collection focused on earrings, another inspiration from her mom: The biography for the FREAKI account reads, “And mama said, never go without earrings.”
“My mom always says earrings are the best accessories,” Law says. “When people first look at each other, it’s really their facial part they notice at first. Earrings can really enhance how you look and make a statement.”
Law has moved away from gemstones in favor of materials like brass and copper, which are more affordable and align with the raw aesthetic she prefers. She recently started working with wood, and is also learning to make ceramic pieces. Her signature style is a half-moon shape that she uses in several of her earrings.
“The moon shape I love particularly,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s just because of my sign, Cancer. Cancer is quite emotional and easily affected by the moon.”
Law says the most satisfying part of her jewelry business is interacting with customers. In addition to selling her jewelry online, she sets up a booth in some of the markets around Hong Kong and is planning a series of pop-ups at local coffee shops.
“I find it satisfying to showcase my jewelry in public,” she says. “I can talk to people in person about my story and they can see my emotion, feel my excitement about my jewelry brand.”
Law’s passion for forging personal connections led her to her job as a community associate at WeWork.
“Here, you have to talk to people every day,” she says. “It’s cool that you can really get to know your members. They can share with you about their personal lives—their happiness as well as their fear. So the human part is something that really keeps me motivated and inspired. Every day there are new challenges, so every day feels fresh.”
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