Meet the Designer: Jennie Kwon of Jennie Kwon Designs
We're in love with the everyday elegance and meticulous detailing that Jennie Kwon Designs embodies. With her newest collection now at our shop, we caught up with Jennie to chat about her career in jewelry and what continues to inspire her.
How did you get started making jewelry?
This is my third career- by way of classical music and then law. I wanted an exit strategy from the law, so I dabbled in ceramics and knitting while I was on maternity leave with my twins. I fell upon metalsmithing and designing jewelry really just resonated with me and came easy to me. I started my line with 10 pieces and my first, and still largest, retailer found me through a blog just 1 month after. With that, the ball was rolling and the rest is history.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
Not at all. I grew up with a focus on music and academics. As a child of immigrants, I knew that I would end up being a professional or a classical musician. Yet here we are.
How long have you been in the trade?
What does your business look like now, versus when you started?
It's grown very quickly and completely organically. It was just me for a few years- lugging a double stroller through the very, very cramped jewelry district. We now have 8 people on our team in house, and several craftsmen that we work with outside of our studio as well.
What’s the most challenging part about being a jewelry designer?
I think this has more to do with just being a small business owner, and less about being a designer. The daily ins and outs of running a business, managing employees, etc. can feel chaotic at times, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
What’s your favorite part about being a jewelry designer?
When it hits me every now and then how many people all over the world are wearing our pieces and how much meaning each piece holds to a particular person.
Who is another jewelry designer that you admire/do you have a mentor in the jewelry industry?
No mentor in the jewelry industry. We are a close knit community and support each other's successes.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have made?
Not a fair question! No, I love all my pieces equally and differently.
Do you have a favorite metal or stone that you prefer to work with?
14K yellow is what all of our pieces are made in, unless we do custom work in 18K or platinum. I love the softness of 14K and its durability. While we work with all types of precious and semi-precious stones, nothing catches your breath like a diamond.
Do trends in the industry affect the way you design a new collection?
No, I've never been trend driven which is how I set myself apart in a very crowded and noisy industry. When I came into the industry, I did not have a single connection — not to designers, stores, etc. Ironically, I'm not necessarily a jewelry person, so I wasn't even aware of trends at the time. I designed 10 pieces that I thought were beautiful and that I would wear as someone in their 30s.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry from your own personal collection?
My engagement ring and my Half Moon Signet Ring with my three kids' initials engraved on it.