There are fine jewelry stores, renowned stylists, haute joaillerie, and then there is Manika Jewelry. In my opinion, Manika combines the best of everything, including the amazing sense of humor of its CEO, Delphine Richagneux. As we’ll be hosting Richagneux at JCK Tucson this year, we had sent her a gift—a tiny succulent—to get her excited about her journey to our show set against the backdrop of the spectacular Arizona desert. She had us all laughing when she sent us a picture of a dead plant and a funny note. Not only does the retailer have an eye for detail and an incredible business acumen, but she also has a beautiful joy to her spirit which makes it easy to understand why her shop is so successful: She immediately puts you at ease and helps you look marvelous in one fell swoop.
Manika Jewelry was selected as JCK’s top independent retailer in 2006 and continues to be extremely successful. What factors do you think contribute to your success?
We are constantly looking for new local and international artisan designers to provide us with unique jewelry, and we focus on sourcing amazing pieces that you won’t be able to find at a typical jewelry store. We pride ourselves on respecting all the designers that we work with, and try to develop personal relationships with them. There’s such a vibrant creative community here in the Bay Area, and when customers come to the store they are always amazed at the quality of our pieces.
Could you tell us more about your background and how that influences your buying process?
There is a strong tradition of design and creativity in my family. My grandmother was a seamstress and my mother used to sew her own outfits. In my family, we have always enjoyed working with artisans to redesign our jewelry.
Modern twist on Tahitian pearls from Gellner
What is your favorite city—besides your hometown of Paris?
My two favorite American cities are Palm Springs and Venice Beach. I really appreciate the oasis feel and outdoor lifestyle in Palm Springs. I love hiking in the desert in places like Yucca Valley, 29 Palms, and Joshua Tree. The mountains provide an awe-inspiring backdrop. Venice Beach is one of those places that is bursting with creativity, where it seems like everything is possible. There’s a vibrant community of artists, stylists, and photographers. There are also some fantastic vegetarian restaurants! Paris will always hold a special place in my heart though; it’s the capital of elegance.
How do your styling skills translate into your sales strategy in the shop?
Jewelry is just one element of your image, so depending on the image you want to project to the world, you choose your jewelry accordingly. I think that my sense of style really resonates with our clients, and I always make sure I help people find the perfect piece for each occasion. When clients come to choose a piece of jewelry for their partner, I like to ask to see a picture of the person so I can match their style with our jewelry.
Do you have a designer crush at the moment? Who is a rising star in your opinion this year?
My crush of the moment is French designer Jean Grisoni for his avant-garde aesthetic. I love the way he plays with opposites—pairing rough with smooth, natural elements with mechanical ones. My other designer crush is New York–based Emanuela Duca, whom I met at the 2015 JCK Las Vegas show. Her pieces are unexpected and evoke ancient Rome. As far as 2016 rising stars, I have to go with Suzanne Felsen and Anna Sheffield.
Primitive yet sophisticated forms by Emanuela Duca
What are some things you’d like to see changed within the trade show format?
I wish that the booths would be a little more private—”boudoir” style. I would love to see more education or lectures on trends too. Also it would be great to invite more designers from Asia, especially Japan.
How do you contribute to the jewelry community?
Manika is focused on supporting local designers, and most of our jewelry is from the Bay Area. We also partner closely with the local design school, the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, and provide internships to help students get some real world experience with the business side of design. I am very active in the jewelry community, and always looking for new ways to contribute. I am a member of the WJA [Women’s Jewelry Association], and I am the president of the lifestyle division for the French American Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco. I also partner across several industries, such as spas and salons and frequently participate in trunk shows at hotels. In addition, I recently invited a local young fashion designer, Tokyo Gamine, to display her creations at the store.
I’m passionate about jewelry, style, and innovation, so there are certainly more projects to come!
Why are you excited to come to JCK Tucson?
I am very excited to meet new designers! Also, I love the hotel where the show is being held [the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa], as it’s very stylish and intimate.
The Manika store at 645 Market Street in San Francisco