Renowned internationally for her interior design, Kelly Wearstler's jewellery line is a reflection of her work. Wearstler’s jewellery is striking yet minimal and uses material in ways that no other jewellery maker has before, taking a classic design and creating a piece of art.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS KNOWN RIGHT AWAY YOU WANTED TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS DELVING IN DESIGN?
Absolutely. I always wanted to be a designer. My mother was an interior designer and took me to antique shows and auctions as a child. It was a world I was entrenched in and drawn to from an early age.
WHAT WAS THAT FIRST YEAR OF BUSINESS LIKE FOR YOU?
I started my company straight out of design school with only one client. I was hired to redecorate one room. My business evolved and grew gradually over time, mostly through word of mouth. I had put myself through school waiting tables, and those first few years, continued to wait tables on the side. In hindsight, it made me a fantastic multi-tasker. It also honed my focus. My entire company was wrapped up in one room. One client. It was about taking something singular and small, and making making it count.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACED IN YOUR FIRST YEAR?
Juggling two jobs and the patience required for growing a client base. I am a very curious gal. Since I did not have big budgets to work with, I acquired as many skills as possible on my own. I installed the hardwood floors in my first apartment. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. I learned style is not synonymous with spending. Sometimes cleverness trumps expense.
HOW DID YOUR JEWELLERY LINE COME ABOUT?
Fashion and jewelry has always been of great inspiration to my process as an interior designer. I experience my spaces as sculpture. Creating bespoke pieces for clients educated my eye on everything from metal smithing to fine stones and minerals. Jewelry seemed a natural extension of those skills, as well as my home accessories line. It carries the same passion for hand crafted, mixed metals, the same love of vintage coupled with a fresh, contemporary voice.
THE JEWELLERY BUSINESS IS ONE THAT IS EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE AND SATURATED, HOW HAVE YOU BUILT UP SUCH A STRONG BRAND?
My studio is incredibly diverse, with many departments housed under one roof - from furniture to new hotels. The different mediums fuel one another constantly. A piece of hardware on a chair might inspire a necklace, and vice versa. The collections stem from a singular point of view. The jewelry line stood on the shoulders of everything people had come to expect from our interiors brand. It is sophisticated and raw, with attention to craftsmanship, bold color and rich textures. The brand's aesthetic is well defined, yet always with room for reinvention and an element of surprise.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BUSINESS’ GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Building an aesthetic and a brand around the idea of taking risks. The ability to continue to take risks in my work is my greatest love. I want to constantly challenge myself as an artist and a businesswoman. I feel enormously fortunate to do what I love every day. Building upon each experience, maintaining forward momentum, staying curious - that is where I am most fulfilled.
AND WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS TO?
Being a great listener. My clients are my biggest teachers. My job is to run their vision through my filter. Without fail, the best projects prove to be the ones in which the client has had a strong hand and distinctive point of view. It informs the collaborative process and makes everything personal and resonant.
IF YOU WEREN’T DESIGNING, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I'd love to be a chef. Taking a different ingredients and combining them in new ways to create something that gives people joy is how I approach my work. Translating that to cooking sounds like a fun risk.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS?
Learn to listen. Have a distinctive voice, a clear vision and a great team. Finding the right people is key. I love the advice, "Surround yourself with people smarter than you." Seek out individuals who can give you honest feedback and contribute to the dialogue in a meaningful, unique way.
Images Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler