You can be a Louisiana-based small business without screaming “LOUISIANA,” but Mimosa Handcrafted roars with pride — telling the story of our people, cuisine, flora, fauna, and more; with unique hand-designed jewelry. With a new location in Mid City, the Baton Rouge-based company gives locals, transplants, and folks who’ve ventured outside of Louisiana a little piece of home, wherever they go. The Visit Baton Rouge team sat down with owner Madeline Ellis to learn about her love of crafting jewelry, and how the experience of shopping with Mimosa Handcrafted has grown to mean so much more.
VISIT BATON ROUGE: What made you want to start making jewelry?
MADELINE ELLIS: I come from a maker family — everybody’s either a seamstress or some kind of crafter. My mom always let us have access to all of her tools, so it was very normal to have a big mess of making things around you. One of my grandmothers crossed-stitched with little seed beads. I learned to sew, and then one weekend at her house in Houma, I grabbed a little Tupperware full of seed beads and started making necklaces with fishing wire for my friends. And I never stopped — anywhere we’d go, I’d collect beads from different stores. My tackle box grew bigger, and when I traveled to places like Costa Rica and China, I’d just keep adding. I got a regular job, but after work, I’d sit and make jewelry. Eventually, I joined the arts market downtown, but I never thought, “I'm going to be a jeweler.” I don't even come from a family of people who wear a lot of jewelry! To me, it was about the making, the crafting, and the accessibility to say, “I can't necessarily afford all of these things, but I could make something!”
VBR: How long have you been in business?
ME: We’ve been in business since 2008 — so this is going to be our 15-year anniversary!
VBR: How would you describe the in-store experience at Mimosa Handcrafted?
ME: It’s not just a jewelry shop—it’s a place where you can come in and actually learn, because every little display and cabinet tells a story. It's not just a retail store; it's also a little museum. Through our pieces, you can better understand Louisiana culture. For example, you might see an open book with a paddle and garfish scales, and that tells a story without us even having to say anything.
VBR: What techniques do you use to make your pieces?
ME: We use lost-wax casting, which is similar to an ancient Egyptian technique. We cast in bronze, silver, and 14-karat gold. We make everything like bracelets, cuffs, and all kinds of rings—rings with stones, rings without stones—cufflinks, tie pins, necklaces, studs, hoops, belt buckles, and even lapel and tie pins. I love the carving part—taking it from a sketch to 3D. But I also love when we cast it for the first time and it turns into metal.
VBR: Where do you get inspiration for your pieces?
ME: I like the Egyptian art-deco vibe — there's a lot of metal sculpture that came out of that era. I’m also inspired by architecture and the minimalism of stripping down an object in nature.
VBR: Do you have a favorite piece or one that’s the most meaningful to you?
ME: I would just say the Pelican, because it lived in my mind for a really, really long time. And it was one of the first things we cast.
VBR: What does it mean to you to have your Louisiana-inspired jewelry shipped to other states?
ME: I think it's an honor. It means everything. 50% of our sales are to other states! Many of those folks are ordering because they miss home, and it's such a good conversation piece to talk about home. Somebody's like, “What are you wearing?” And they're like, “Oh, it's a crawfish!” And then they get to say the whole speech.
VBR: What do you want visitors to know about Mimosa Handcrafted?
ME: It makes a really good keepsake. Collecting our pieces can feel like a wearable sampler platter of Louisiana iconography.