Every Thursday during the pandemic, we’re checking in on members of the jewelry trade in an attempt to glean shareable tips and tricks for doing business—and living as well as possible—during the COVID-19 crisis.
Today we hear from bicoastal fine jewelry designer Anna Sheffield, who celebrated two decades in business this year, to see how she’s holding up.
JCK: Where are you based right now?
Anna Sheffield: Los Angeles at the moment.
What was the lockdown like for you and your family? Were you in New York City?
I left New York City on March 15 to be with my husband in our house here. The first few weeks were really frightening, with all of the uncertainty for the health and wellness of our family, my team, and, really, the whole world. And of course, I was worried for the business.
But we all just worked to make the best of what was good in the time—like being home to cook all of our meals, getting farm fresh vegetables from the local CSA, and trying to [create] some healthy habits like reading and going for walks.
It’s a tumultuous time—what issues are occupying your thoughts right now?
Clearly (as I write this on October 30) the election is at the fore. Also, this impacts my feelings about our care for the planet and other sentient life here. I find what’s happening with the wildfires—and even the last-minute changes to policy this administration is making—heartbreaking on a deep level.
But then we have amazing stories like [Netflix documentary] My Octopus Teacher coming to light, and I feel equal parts hope and poignancy in the power of beauty and connectivity.
Have there been any silver linings for you during this tricky time?
So many, honestly. I have been able to prioritize some aspects of both personal and professional life. I’ve made a really special effort to stay connected with those I love, and focus on my work with Future Heritage Fund, honing my leadership skills, and also expanding my cooking skills.
What kinds of looks and styles are your shoppers drawn to in your collection right now—what’s selling well?
We launched our Talisman collection earlier this year, and it’s just right for the moment. I wear one of the Serpent pieces every day! It just feels good to have something symbolizing transformation on me at all times, as if I absorb some of those qualities.
Has the pandemic changed how you’ll be moving forward in your business?
Honestly, aside from going a little more slowly, our plans and trajectory remain the same with regards to the business. It’s my 20-year mark, and I feel like this is just one of so many challenges and changes. There will be blessings in it; we might just have to be on the other side to see what they are.
What have you been doing to relax and have fun during this time?
We have a 1999 Eurovan, which is one of my favorite things. We got it so we can be free to roam, and to easily set up camp in a tiny house kinda style. It also means I can go home to New Mexico [where Sheffield is from] more safely and easily. That’s been a treat beyond description.
Have any book/podcast/TV/movie recommendations?
Watch My Octopus Teacher! It’s seriously phenomenal. I love a good podcast too—I keep TED Radio Hour, On Being, and Broken Record on regular rotation.
Top: Anna Sheffield in her home in Los Angeles (all photos courtesy of Anna Sheffield)
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