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Katharine McPhee has been in the limelight ever since she rose to fame as the runner-up on the fifth season of American Idol in 2006. “Singing and acting has always been something I knew I wanted to do from when I was a little girl. It was always a focus of mine. But when someone would say, ‘What are your hobbies?’ I thought, ‘I spend hours in the closet playing dress up and decorating my fingers and wrists with necklaces and bracelets.’ Playing with jewelry has always been part of my creative expression,” the 38-year-old exclusively tells GRAZIA USA.

As the singer got older, she began buying special pieces of jewelry for her mom, sister and close friends. “I always believed that if you invest in pieces that are real gold, they will hold their value and you’ll remember who gave it to you,” she explains.

The actress then decided to embark on creating her line, which is when KMF Jewelry — which is handcrafted by master jewelers that “use only the finest stones, diamonds and metals,” per the website — came into the picture. “It happened because of a couple of things: convenience. Instead of buying other people’s jewelry, I can now get it from my own personal line — or if I don’t have something, I can create it. I have the ability to create what I want. I also love to spend time layering and styling necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I have a chain earring that can be looped or someone can wear straight down depending on what the outfit is. Everything is versatile.”

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“I love to give people gifts — and jewelry has always been the thing I give to people. It reminds me of my childhood and when my mom would give me something from my great-aunt. It was something I looked forward to wearing,” she adds. “It’s very nostalgic for me and really fun.”

In November, the star, who shares son Rennie with husband David Foster, launched the website, and immediately the feedback was positive. The brand features necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets starting at a price point of $249 and comes in a variety of materials. “I was shooting for fine jewelry like solid gold and real diamonds,” she shares.

Whether McPhee is playing the lead in Broadway’s hit show Waitress or releasing new songs, she’s clearly made a name for herself in Hollywood, but she’s excited to now be running a business that means so much to her. “I feel very empowered. It’s a lot of busy work — answering emails and being on the computer. It can be daunting to try and make sure everybody is doing their job. Regardless, it’s so fun. Every day I focus on the little details,” she says. “My husband said, ‘If it was easy, everyone would do it.'”

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“I am just trying to trust my instincts and learning along the way,” she adds. “I’d love to see more collaborations in the future. I would also be interested in having a storefront! The possibilities are endless. I’m open to anything. It’s also a creative process — more so than I ever thought. I am already thinking, ‘I want to make changes to this piece.’ My creative juices are flowing from this experience. I am looking forward to creating more things. What’s the next hoop going to be? What is the next version of the heart going to be?”

Of course, Foster’s kids Erin and Sara are so excited for McPhee’s latest endeavor, especially since they have a business of their own: Favorite Daughter. “I talked to their younger sister Jordan in the early stages when I said I wanted to create my own jewelry line. I would show her pictures of stuff and she would say, ‘That looks great!’ They’ve all been so positive and supportive of me,” she notes. “They also kept telling me we’d learn a lot from the consumer.”

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Ultimately, McPhee hopes her line continues for many years to come. “It’s premature to give advice to someone starting a business because I just started, but talk to me in a year!” she quips. “I’ve told myself: it’s either going to work out or not, and you’re trying to do something that is going to bring joy to other people — and yourself. If it doesn’t work, you’re going to learn things. There’s not as much pressure in some ways for me because I have other passions that I do simultaneously, but it’s still scary. I’m learning to be patient.”

For more on McPhee’s collection, click here.