By Liana Shlien
Photography courtesy of Jennifer Fisher Jewelry
If you have scanned any American fashion magazine over the last few years, you would have surely been exposed to the jewelry work of Jennifer Fisher. A decade of outfitting Hollywood’s finest on TV and film sets has allowed the designer to build a strong base of celebrity clientele, but this hasn’t slowed her down as Fisher continues to conquer the market.
LIANA SHLIEN: Before designing jewelry you were styling Hollywood actresses in movies and on TV. How did your previous work experiences lead you to where you are in your career today?
JENNIFER FISHER: Being a wardrobe stylist for so long definitely prepares you for any situation. You are trained to be very resourceful. When I decided that I wanted to create a piece of jewelry to represent the birth of my son, I used my skills as a stylist to source and create my first piece.
What prompted your foray into the jewelry business in 2006?
I had health issues for many years. After going through chemotherapy for a tumour in 1999, my husband and I wanted to have children, but my oncologist was very against me giving birth. I went through many years of fertility treatments and different options. After all that I ended up getting pregnant naturally. When Shane was born it was so significant, and I really wanted something to represent him properly that was made just for me and not mass-produced. I sourced a dog tag on a very long chain, a very simple piece, and people on set would ask me, ‘Where did you get that? Can you make me one?’ That’s really how the business started and it all evolved from there.
How did you establish your brand?
I think it’s really about staying true to who you are and not trying too hard to establish something. It happens organically. I started this out of my bedroom and never imagined it to grow like this. It’s really exciting! I think the key is to continue doing it if you love it, and not concentrate too much on making something out of it.
Your line has been seen on countless celebrities and in nearly every major fashion magazine, not to mention hit TV shows like Sex and the City. How did all this come about?
It was helpful to have some connections as a stylist: having worked with certain people and also through just word-of-mouth.
My work is personalized, conversational jewelry. Everyone wants something they can wear daily and something that isn’t necessarily a trend.
Is there still someone who you want to see your jewelry on?
Kate Moss. She represents what I do very well, being a mother. It’s been on pretty much everyone else I’ve wanted but her.
You say that elements in jewelry are drawn from your life. How?
I grew up in Santa Barbara, California, in a Hispanic community, so I definitely have a love for Spanish architecture and the street culture. I feel like my childhood really resonates with what I do now. I feel so lucky to live in New York City because there’s inspiration every time you walk down the street. I have piles of drawings on my desk that may not turn into anything.
What are the words that best describe or represent your jewelry line?
Custom – not one customer walks away with the same exact piece; bespoke; innate – it becomes a part of them to wear all the time; utilitarian – I like pieces to be worn day or night, through all seasons.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I’m very ‘city casual’ with a Californian vibe; not a dressy girly-girl whatsoever.
Who is your customer?
For my fine line, it’s women who are 25 to 50. For my new brass line, it’s more 20 to 45. The brass line is for a woman who wants to wear pieces that are chic but not ‘in your face’ trendy. It’s made from the true metal that will age naturally if the customer wishes, and the plate won’t wear or crack off.
What piece of jewelry could you not live without?
My necklace that I wear every single day that has 12 charms on it.
What are some key pieces for spring 2012 and going into fall?
I’m really into brass right now. Jennifer Aniston is wearing my peak cuff in the new Smartwater campaign. It’s a really simple but great starter piece. I love layering, mixing the textures and different themes. Right now, a very popular piece at Barneys is the triangular block cuff. Geometrics are great for transitioning from summer into fall, because they don’t seem too nature-themed. One of our great sellers for spring is called ‘the cleavage chain’ – an 18-inch skinny chain, with a delicate pendant that comes down at the chest.
How has your line developed over the years?
Over the last few years I shipped internationally but have only launched the website recently, which has definitely impacted our business model. Other than Barneys New York, we are now selling at Fred Segal, Ron Herman and Intermix.
Until now it has been friends recommending to friends, as well as magazines and celebrities wearing it. There has been a lot of work over the years, so this is one of the best feelings in the world.
Any plans for even further expansion?
I didn’t study design. That’s one thing about me that’s unusual: I went to a business school. I think the key for any small business is to have a very strong point in your one market before spanning out. I believe in staying true to your main consumer. I would love to move into more design, but need to conquer this market first before expanding too quickly. But I love eyewear and sunglasses!
Some of Fisher’s work