LONDON — Jewelry designer Nikki Gewirtz can rattle off a stream of celebrity fans of her label Lola Rose — from Halle Berry to Lady Helen Taylor and England’s Princess Eugenie. But those aren’t the women for whom she’s...
LONDON — Jewelry designer Nikki Gewirtz can rattle off a stream of celebrity fans of her label Lola Rose — from Halle Berry to Lady Helen Taylor and England’s Princess Eugenie. But those aren’t the women for whom she’s designing.
Gewirtz, 33, makes jewelry for women who don’t necessarily have a lot of money to spend and who might need a noncaloric afternoon boost during a hard day at the office.
"Lola Rose is about affordable, fun, funky items that you can buy on your lunch break if you’re feeling a little down. It’s about jewelry that’s accessible and wearable — but not throwaway," said Gewirtz, sitting in her north London workshop. "There’s nothing I like better than seeing people wear my bracelets, hearing them jingle on someone’s wrist when I’m in a restaurant or pub."
Gewirtz’s bracelets and necklaces are carved from semiprecious stones such as rose quartz, jade, mother-of-pearl and amethyst, and are held together or hung on silk cords, suede straps, or colored ribbons. Her signature "Tumbling" bracelet, made from a variety of chunky stones threaded on colored silk cords, retails for about $55.
Her business, which is 2 1/2 years old, will have sales of $750,000 this year. Next month, she will begin selling her collection at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. She is in 150 doors in the U.K., more than 75 in the rest of Europe and she’s just entered the Japanese market.
Gewirtz, who spent her 20s working as a personal assistant in advertising, has no formal training as a jeweler. But when her 30th birthday rolled around she was ready to make a change and started using what until then had been "bottled-up" creativity.
Serendipitously, she also received a very expensive birthday gift — a bracelet she soon realized she could copy. On a whim, she made her way to the Covent Garden Bead Shop, and in no time was stringing bracelets for friends. She started her business with an $800 loan from an older brother.
Gewirtz isn’t stopping at jewelry. She’s already launched a line of handbags under the LaLoLa label — made from treated waxed paper, with interchangeable leather handles — that will make their U.S. debut next spring. She’s also working on a men’s jewelry range and an underwear range that will incorporate the semiprecious stones."I want to turn Lola Rose into a brand that’s known worldwide as affordable, funky and trendy," she says.
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