Lisa Gum, founder and designer of The Artful Sojourn, does more than make beautiful jewelry: she’s a visionary with a mission to relieve the suffering of impoverished children in India, and she does this all the way from her home in Virginia. The story and passion behind Lisa’s business is well worth learning about (and supporting!)
I met Lisa two years ago at my (soon-to-be) sister-in-law’s wedding. My fiance’s family has been close friends with the Gums for many years, and it only took a few minutes with Lisa and her family to feel like I’d known them my whole life, too. Lisa has a gentle, heartwarming personality that immediately places one at ease, so it made total sense to me when I learned that her jewelry business, The Artful Sojourn, is partnered with Big World Project.
Lisa began The Artful Sojourn just before starting college five years ago, making jewelry to raise funds for a mission trip. Lisa quickly realized how much she enjoyed working with her hands and began to develop The Artful Sojourn as a business, while at the same time searching for a missions-focused charity that she could support with her profits. One Sunday, the founder of Big World Project came to deliver a sermon at Lisa’s church, and she felt immediately that this was the ministry she wanted to support.
The Artful Sojourn’s jewelry style has evolved since its beginning, reflecting Lisa’s taste and lifestyle over the years. Lisa laughingly describes her style as “a little Bohemian,” but you’ll also find that her pieces are minimalistic, easy to wear, and highlight Lisa’s favorite natural elements like tumbled gemstones and hammered metal.
As both an artist and a missionary, Lisa shared that she’s about to embark on “living the real sojourner life.” During the fall of 2016, Lisa began to feel called to make a gutsy move: to buy a van, pack up her shop, and travel nationwide to participate in missions work and expand her range of craft shows. Though Lisa is still searching for a van, she’s pursuing this vision full of faith, booking craft shows and making plans to leave her much-loved hometown.
Lisa was able to take on The Artful Sojourn as her full time job back in 2016, so I asked her what she found to be the hardest part about running a small business. Laughing, Lisa immediately responded that motivation is oftentimes the most difficult aspect. Beginning a business is full of excitement, but not everything is glamorous, exciting, or immediately rewarding. But Lisa was quick to add that she absolutely loves what she does, and finds motivation through faith:
“I think the biggest thing is continually remembering that this is not about me. Every day, I’m giving The Artful Sojourn to the Lord and saying ‘Okay God, this is for you. Whatever you want to do with this, it’s in your hands.’ That’s the biggest motivator and encourager.” -Lisa Gum
The Artful Sojourn brings an entire new meaning to jewelry that is both beautiful and functional; not only is Lisa’s jewelry conducive to an active lifestyle, but it’s functional in the sense that each piece of jewelry works toward rescuing children in need in India. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and have fun browsing her beautiful jewelry through Etsy or her website!