Designer Anna Sheffield, an early advocate of alternative bridal designs, spoke to JCK about how she built her business a decade ago.
What was your first passion in life in terms of professional pursuits?
This is it! I had never dreamed of being a jewelry designer or running a company (much less two!). But I had always intended to be an artist and to follow where the universe leads me. And that just happened to manifest as making jewelry. Though I learned the techniques while I was pursuing my BFA in sculpture, they have served me well.
Was there a moment when you felt, “This is really happening!”?
So many of those “pinch me” moments! It’s quite surreal and a tremendous luxury to [turn] a lifetime of rule-breaking into a career. I think one of the first real pins in the timeline was when [my costume jewelry brand] Bing Bang was picked up by Barneys and a bunch of other amazing stores from all over the world. That was…in fall of 2004.
For my fine jewelry, which I launched in 2008, the shining moment was when I added the ceremonial collection in 2010. We threw a fabulous party debuting the collection in a suite at the Standard hotel during New York Fashion Week. And seeing all these people I love and respect and have known through my years in NYC respond to the pieces so positively—it was a fantastic sense of accomplishment.
How do you think your background has shaped who you are as a designer and jewelry retailer?
I have quite a DIY approach to having the store and being a brand. I like to be involved in every aspect—from the window and store displays to the furniture, the flowers, the music, the fragrance (I just launched my own candle as a result!). It all feels so holistic to my mind in terms of that expression. It’s all about what I want people to feel when they encounter the space or try on the jewelry.
Serpent hoop earring in 14k gold, $1,550; Diamond Dusted coiled serpent coil ear climber in 14k gold, $875; Diamond Dusted serpent necklace in 14k gold; $1,500; Anna Sheffield; 212-925-7010; annasheffield.com