For the past decade, jewelry designer Julie Vos has created approachable, timeless collectables with a fashionable edge. She celebrates her 10-year anniversary this year and reflects on her line to us. Click here to shop her line!
How did a creative writing major end up as a jewelry designer?
Designing jewelry taps the same desire that writing does, the desire to craft something new and beautiful. Creating fiction involves exposure and risk, and it’s something you create alone and enjoy alone. But jewelry is completely different. It’s very social. It’s dressing people, it’s delighting people, it’s getting people really excited! It’s way more fun than writing.
Tell us a little bit about your operation in 2007.
In those days I personally worked with each customer to create pieces she would want to wear. There was a certain magic to it. I built this world I wanted to live in and taught myself to be an expert jewelry designer.
What was your first successful piece or series?
Was there a celebrity or editorial moment that really placed the brand on the map, so to speak?
We’ve been lucky to have celebrities shopping with us from the beginning—Nora Ephron and Shirley MacLaine were early customers. Last year we noticed Savannah Guthrie and Hillary Clinton wearing our jewelry. More recently Reese Witherspoon has been seen on Instagram wearing a few pieces. Our hoops look great on her!
How have your online sales evolved over the years?
A steady climb from 8 orders the first year to 8,000 last year.
What are the brand’s largest areas of growth today?
Our commitment is to small businesses, one to three door stores we love, and also to our website, the one place we can tell our story our way. We focus on supporting our retailers and we focus on a website that supports the brand. So those are the two areas of steady growth.
What was the hardest lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
That for some employees there comes a time when working at Julie Vos does not align with their own plans, plans to become a full-time mother or plans to move halfway around the world to experience a new adventure! I’ve learned that it’s important to be supportive of people’s decisions because I genuinely want the best for them.
Can you give us a sense of the size of your operation and retail distribution today?
There are a dozen of us working in our Manhattan office. We have hundreds of retailers, many of whom buy year after year. We ship from our Manhattan office—that way we can inspect every piece before it leaves.
What are your bestsellers?
Our bestsellers are the newest styles of the season. This spring it’s the Tivoli Choker, the Savannah link bracelet and the Fern hoop. Come fall, we’ll have a new list.
How do you account for the brand’s success?
I think it’s because we know who we are and what we do. Every successful artist and company works within an idiom–the style particular to the maker. Our style is classic. We aren’t trendy, we aren’t in the costume jewelry or fast fashion categories. We have created our own genre. We make our jewelry to the standards of fine jewelry and our mission is to bring this very beautiful jewelry into the hands of a much larger audience than the audience who buys fine jewelry. That’s what sets us apart. People can identify a Julie Vos piece from across the room before they even see our hallmark.
Where do you want to see the brand in another decade?
I hope we continue to become better at what we do together and, wherever that leads us, I’m sure it will be a very good place.