We’re overcome with emojis talking to the New York City–based designer behind Alison Lou
Who says statement jewelry has to be oversize—or overpriced? Not Alison Lou. The brand has made a name for itself, so to speak, with words, letters, and emojis, all playfully rendered in colorful enamel and solid 14k gold. “Our customers have a strong connection to the jewelry,” says creative director and designer Alison Chemla, who’s also caused a stir with her candy-colored Lucite hoops (dubbed, cleverly, Loucite). “They purchase emoji pieces that represent themselves and gift others that represent their friends. I love that.”
Number of years in the biz: Six
Number of employees you oversee: Four. We are small but mighty.
Family and pets: I am one of three girls. My younger sister just got a Yorkie named Yoshi that I am the on-call babysitter for—she is the best.
Describe your personal style: I like to say I am modern vintage. I love to mix vintage finds with newer pieces. I keep my style pretty simple; most days you will find me in old Levi’s and a T-shirt, and as expected I accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
First piece you ever designed: I drew seven of my Emoticore faces at once, and the first to be produced was the Mwa! kiss face with ruby lips, which is still one of our most popular pieces.
The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: My one-of-a-kind He Loves Me ring, which resembles a daisy with an 11 carat yellow sapphire center, pear-shape white diamond petals, and a green enamel band.
Best piece of advice you ever received: “You have to spend money to make money.”
First job ever: Working at House of Waris.
How did you get started designing jewelry? Growing up, I would ask for a piece of jewelry each year for my birthday. I love that jewelry can capture a moment. I knew when I started my own line it would have to be different, and at the time emojis were how everyone was communicating. After texting with an old boyfriend back and forth solely with emojis, I realized this was it—this was the start of Alison Lou.
If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? I would make a good talent agent.
Emoji you can’t live without:
Jewelry you’re wearing right now: I am really into our custom font personalized pieces right now. I have on about five pieces that say my name or initials just in case I ever forget! The Custom Word Huggy, custom nameplate necklace, mini Word bracelet, and my favorite pavé white diamond initial pinkie ring. If you go onto my site, you can type in any name, word, etc., and see what the piece will look like before ordering.
Five items on your desk right now: A water bottle, a pair of Loucite hoops, my stationery, a notebook for sketching, my millimeter gauge.
Five songs on your playlist: “Everywhere,” Fleetwood Mac; “Best Friend,” Rex Orange County; “Breathin’,” Ariana Grande; “Can’t Say,” Travis Scott; “Love My Way,” the Psychedelic Furs.
Exercise regimen: Punch Fitness and yoga at Sky Ting.
What did you have for breakfast? Always black coffee.
Guilty pleasure: Twizzlers and watching Shark Tank; maybe I even purchase a thing or 10…
Drink (daytime/evening): Coffee/Casamigos with soda and lime.
First website you check every day (not your own!): Net-a-Porter…to check on my stuff!
Scent: Her by Narciso Rodriguez.
Favorite movie: I Love You, Man.
Who would play you in your life story? Penélope Cruz…obviously.
Personal motto: “Say it, forget it; write it, regret it!”
(I Love You, Man: © DreamWorks/Everett; drink: Eddie Berman/E+/Getty)