How do we love thee, Jennifer Meyer? Let us count the ways.
One: your delicate pieces of jewelry are the ones we reach for every morning (they’re basically grafted to our skin). Two: despite your booming business, picture-perfect family and, ahem, heartthrob husband, you remain charmingly modest (except about your charades prowess). Three: Barneys is your “epicenter of cool” and that makes you pretty cool yourself in our eyes.
We could go on, but we’ll let you get to know this talented L.A. native for yourself. Below, Jennifer tells us everything we want to know about starting a jewelry line from scratch, balancing work and family, and what she’s craving from Barneys New York for summer.
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What inspired you to get into jewelry design? We read that your grandmother played a big part.
My grandma, Edith, was one of the true loves of my life. She taught me at a very early age the art of jewelry making. There are so many things in the collection that are inspired by her. I have been doing a lot of lapis lately and that you can trace directly back to her. She made the most amazing rings and earrings using that stone.
What were the early days of your business like?
The early days were crazy! I am not formally trained and had no mentor so it was a lot of knocking on doors and trial by error. I had a very distinct vision as to what I wanted the jewelry to look like; I just wasn’t totally sure how to execute it. It has always been an adventure and a labor of love. In the beginning I did every detail myself: the designing, packaging, FedEx-ing, etc. It was the best learning experience of my life.
Do you have any memorable highs or lows when looking back at how you built you business?
My biggest memory is of walking into Barneys and seeing my jewelry in the case for the first time. Barneys was, and still is, the epicenter of cool to me, and to be a part of that was pretty amazing. As for as lows go, there have certainly been obstacles throughout my short seven years of having this company, but I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. It has been in those times that I have learned the most. I think the hard stuff can ultimately be the most valuable.
What was the moment you felt you had “made it” as a designer?
Do you think I have made it?? That is so flattering.
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1. My custom cut turquoise and diamond earrings. I love the color of these. They feel just perfect for summer!
2. My diamond pave V ring. Rihanna bought one from Barneys recently and I love how she has been wearing it on her index finger. She can do no wrong.
3. My custom cut lapis heart necklace. A little bit of color with a sweet sentiment. I love layering this in with my letter necklaces (I always wear an R and an O for my babies).
4. A.L.C. Sera Tux Dress: This is the perfect dress for summer.
5. I’m a die-hard fan of Stella McCartney. A little something for my daughter Ruby (Stella McCartney Kids sleeveless embroidered dress (8)) and a little something for me (Stella McCartney Selma dancing chemise)!
6. Current/Elliot white star stiletto: I love Current/Elliot and these pants are my latest favorite. They are so comfortable but also really cute.
7. Smythson Oh La La notebook: I like to carry around a little notebook wherever I go, as you never know when inspiration will strike.
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How would you say your collection has evolved since it started? And where do you see it going next?
It has been such a great, natural evolution. I am very excited for this latest chapter as I am stepping out of my comfort zone and doing a lot of color. Lapis, emeralds, rubies, sapphires… I love them all! It has been a blast to get to play with unexpected combinations.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known then?
I think there are things I wish I had known that I know now about the day-to-day of running your own business. While designing is such a rewarding and fun element to what I do, it is really the business aspect of it all that takes up the most time. There is so much that goes into taking a design concept and translating that to a finished piece in the case and that is challenging but so rewarding.
How do you juggle being a mom, wife and designer?
Carefully! Family comes first for me always. As long as I keep that straight, I feel like everything else works out. I am a big planner so i map out our week and try my best to fit in lots of time with the kids, time for work, moments with my friends and family and of course time with my husband.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love a good game night and will challenge anyone to a great game of running charades or celebrity.