After working in public relations for visionaries like Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani, the time finally came for mother, wife, and jewellery designer Jennifer Meyer to share her own creative vision – to start telling her unique story. More than just a business endeavour, jewellery making has been a part of Jen’s life since learning to make pieces from enamel at the age of six from her grandmother, California artist Edith Meyer.
As an adult, Jennifer created pieces to “mark significant milestones in her life; to celebrate friends, and remember family.” The brand started as a way for Jen to not only reconnect to her roots, but also pay tribute to the women who inspired her throughout her journey.
Describe your role.
Mom, wife, and jewellery designer. Also daughter, sister, and friend.
What would a day in the life entail?
My favorite way to start the day is breakfast at home with my two kids, Ruby & Otis. After getting them off to school, I head into the office and depending on the day, work on anything from new jewelry designs, to collaborations, and snapping shots for Instagram. There’s always something to work on, but whenever possible I like to take a break to have lunch together with my whole team. Taking that time to connect is important to me and keeps us all on the same page. After finishing up things at the studio I head back to my babies and husband, and spend time together as a family before tucking the kids into bed.
Did you always envision a future in design?
I always knew I wanted to do something design-related. My grandmother Edith was a true artist and the light of my life, and as a child I spent hours sitting at the table in her tiny kitchen, helping pick colors for enamel pieces she would fire in her kiln. Creating with her gave me so much joy.
Years later, my first job out of college was working in PR for Giorgio Armani and then Ralph Lauren, where I learned a lot about design and working with talent. The further I got into my 20s, the more I knew for certain I wanted to design jewelry, and I began saving money to start my business.
Tell us about your background, how did you establish Jennifer Meyer?
I’d put aside as much money as I could while working at Ralph Lauren. I was living with my then boyfriend, Tobey, who I ended up marrying, and saving on rent. One day he asked me what I wanted to do with that savings, and I said I wanted to try making jewellery but didn’t know how.
That was a pretty big leap at the time and I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be. He was nothing but supportive, and shared a Star Wars quote that has stuck with me, “Do or do not, there is no try.” From there I started knocking on every jeweler’s door in Los Angeles, and learning everything I could about gold, diamonds and fine jewelry. It took over eight molds to get my leaf necklace just right! I happened to run into a couple of my friends, Nina & Claire Hallworth, and was curious what they thought. They were on the way to fit Jennifer Aniston for ‘The Break Up’ and thought the pieces would be perfect for her character. Let’s just say from that point on it was all the power of Jen Aniston!
Describe your design philosophy.
The way I see it, jewellery is a true investment. It’s sentimental and meaningful, and I want women to love wearing their Jen Meyer pieces 20 to 30 years from now just as much as they do today. I always keep that in mind when designing.
What are your preferred materials and elements to work with?
18k gold and precious stones. They can be lived in and will last forever. I want you to wear your jewelry in the shower, while working out, at the beach, for a night out with your girlfriends or your significant other… You never have to take it off.
Where do you draw or hone your design influences?
There’s so much inspiration to take from beautiful California, and of course my kids. They’re always into something new and seeing things through their eyes will sometimes result in an unexpected idea.
Do you have more of an intuitive or analytic approach to design?
I like to design whenever inspiration strikes. I might be in the middle of twenty different things, but when I get an idea I drop everything and start sketching.
Has there been a favourite moment in your career thus far?
Being first runner-up for the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards was huge. The entire experience leading up to that night was one I learned so much from and will never forget. Also, there are special moments when I run into women wearing a piece of my jewellery and they share the significance with me – those moments warm my heart.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since creating your namesake label?
Every step forward has always come with a lesson. Each mistake or obstacle has been an opportunity to grow and improve. I feel really blessed with the progress of my company, and think that working hard and building a good team will always pay off.
Describe your customer in one sentence.
She is sophisticated, but not stuffy, cute but not cute-sy; she collects pieces she loves wearing today, knowing they’ll be heirlooms she’ll pass down.
How important is the international market to your brand?
I want every woman, regardless of where she comes from, to enjoy wearing my designs.
Do you feel business acumen is just as important as one’s design skill?
One-hundred percent. There are so many roads you can go down with a business. No matter how great your product, you have to know how to navigate.
Do you have a brand muse or mentor?
I am incredibly lucky to have one of the most amazing women on the planet as a mentor, Diane von Furstenberg. She inspires me daily and her advice is invaluable.
What is your personal philosophy (on life or style).
Always be kind, smile often, and work hard.
What advice would you give to an emerging designer interested in following a career path in this industry.
Go after what you want with your whole heart, and be nice to everyone along the way — you never know when your paths will cross again.
Which role does traveling play in your life?
I travel all the time but I try to limit work travel as much as possible. I’m all about a family trip and having my kids with me.
What is next for Jennifer Meyer?
Big things are coming! I’d tell you more but I don’t want to take all the fun out of the surprises we have in store.
What do you love about Australia?
The beautiful beaches and kind people, for starters. My family and I lived in Sydney for 6 months and had the time of our life!
SHOP JENNIFER’S STYLE:
You can find Jennifer on Instagram at @jenmeyerjewelry