Alexandra Steinbauer loves the ocean. She really loves it! And even though she lives in Austria she found a way to carry the ocean along with her at all times. Her jewellery brand called “a pinch of salt.” is for all those ocean suckers out there. Most of her materials are treasures of her travels and have traveled across the globe.
In a recent interview she told us everything about her label, her philosophy behind and how everything got started.
1. Hello Alexandra! Can you tell me what makes you salty?
The ocean :)
2. And what is your label ‘a pinch of salt.’ about?
‚a pinch of salt.’ is jewellery inspired by the beauty of the ocean. Everything is handmade in Graz/Austria. The idea behind ‘a pinch of salt.’ is to carry the ocean with you in form of jewellery (bracelets, rings etc) or sand bottles.
In the past years I realised that it is really hard to find high quality jewellery, which lasts longer than a couple of weeks and at the same time looks good … not like all these super cheap bracelets that you can find basically at every beach.
I make all these little treasures by hand with high quality materials and want to share my passion with other ocean lovers and people suffering from ‚Meerweh’ (a deep longing for the ocean).
3. Beautiful idea! Where and how can we buy your products?
4. What is the philosophy behind ‘a pinch of salt.’?
To create beautiful handmade jewellery and give oceanlovers more than just ‘another’ cheap bracelet or another necklace with a short lifetime. I want my jewellery to be a part of your life and bring you closer to the ocean, no matter where you are.
5. Nice! When and why did your start your brand?
I always loved to create with my hands and I tried tons of different things over the last years, but somehow I always ended making bracelets.
I once came across cowrie shells in an ocean themed deco kit in a crafting store in the center of Graz. And I had the immediate urge to create nice necklaces and an anklet of it. So I tried. But I didn’t expect what came next. On a sunny afternoon I started sanding my first cowries without any tools… just sanding paper! And it turned out that cowries are not easy to work with due to their hard shell. It took me ages until I finished sanding my 30 cowries. The result: I had thick bladders on both of my thumbs and my fingers were hurting for days.
And how did I get started with my label? I am obsessed with the ocean and the beach gives me this feeling of pure relaxation. That’s why I was looking for some special, handmade christmas gifts for my friends in 2013. I ordered handcarved lotus (Balinese inspired bracelets) beads from Bali, where I had just been for a surfing trip. But somehow my order never made it to Austria. Maybe the post send it to Australia instead*. I waited and waited and christmas came closer and closer, but still, no lotus beads. But the friendly Australian lady from the shop in Ubud send me some more beads, which just arrived in time for christmas.
*3 months later the lotus beads arrived
I still have a similar bracelet in my shop, it’s the ‚enjoy the little things’ bracelet you can find here.
Afterwards, I kept on creating, but I didn’t think of starting my own label yet. The support of my friends and my endless thrive to create jewellery made from the ocean were the reason for launching ‘a pinch of salt.’ last spring when I went online on my Etsy shop. It was a tough year, but I am deeply happy I made it and that people from everywhere can wear my ocean-inspired jewellery. It absolutely delights me to see that my label is ordered from beautiful places all around the world and I am absolutely happy that I had the guts to start ‚a pinch of salt.’
6. Thank you for your lovely story. Can you also tell me what inspires you?
The world. The people around me. And of course the ocean, the beach, traveling and nature.
7. If you go on your next trip, which are the three most important things that you would take along with you?
My camera (which can either be my iphone or my digital SLR), a pair of sneakers and lots of small boxes and bottles to store my beach discoveries, such as cowries or sand. My lovely boyfriend Philip normally ends up having a full suitcase packed with my stuff. Luckily men always travel light-weighted :)
8. Your favourite surf spot in the whole world?
Good question. I love surfing in Bali, as I always find some perfect waves for my intermediate level, the only thing with Bali is that the lineups are always way too crowded. But actually it doesn’t really matter where you are – for me the ocean is such an inspiring place, even when there are no waves I still love to paddle out and soak up the energy of the place.
9. Are you more the coldwater or sunshine surfer?
Definitely surfing in the sunshine with a bikini! I kind of hate cold water and wetsuits. I am constantly freezing during winter time in Austria and am longing for the sun. I love the mountains and snow but I wouldn’t mind to have 35° Celsius all year round. Summer can never be too long for me!
10.Your most salty moment in 2015?
Probably the time when I ended up in the impact zone of a big set of waves in Bali and got a properly washed up. This was indeed very very salty :)
11. And last question. Can you tell me where you would rather be right now?
On a beach somewhere in New Zealand! I am absolutely in love with Hahei, which is located on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand. This beach has the most amazing sunrises and the most adorable sand I have ever seen.
Photo credits: Philip Platzer