In 2005, Jennifer Meyer decided to take a leap and bet on herself. Though Meyer had no previous experience in design, her dream was to become a jewelry designer. With support from her family, she learned how to create jewelry and eventually launched a company.
“I wanted to design pieces that I wanted to wear and that I knew my friends wanted to wear,” Meyers said on the latest episode of The Glossy Podcast. “I wanted classic, beautiful, everyday pieces that would be in your jewelry box forever and that you could layer or keep on, and that you could live in.”
Fast forward, and Meyer is now the founder of her 17-year-old namesake jewelry line, which has since expanded into new categories, including fragrance. And she collaborated with Canadian luxury outerwear brand Moose Knuckles to create an 18-piece collection, in 2021. In Oct. 2018, Meyer opened her brand’s first physical retail location in L.A.’s Palisades Village shopping center.
In terms of next steps, the core of Meyer’s company will always be fine jewelry design, but she is looking forward to further expanding into fragrance and exploring the home category. “We’ll see where that all takes me,” she added.
Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Finding inspiration in authenticity
“I don’t want to say, ‘Stay in your lane,’ because everyone can join each other. There’s room for everybody. But when you have a vision, and you know how it’s going to grow and how you want to deliver, you’ve got to stay focused. Keep your eye on the prize, and don’t let the noise come in. … Know your customer and know yourself. The last two-and-a-half years have been an incredible challenge, but I kept designing and creating pieces. … There are plenty of pieces I’ve designed that I’ve worn for a week to [test] it, then I’ll decide, ‘Nope. We’re good.’ I stick to what I know I love and what I think my clients will love.”
“I own my company 100%. I’ve never raised $1. I saved my own money by working at Ralph Lauren and being really careful about how I spent my money at that time and how I made money at that time to be able to start my company. I started my company with less than $10,000. I did have to borrow $25,000 when I got my Barney’s order, because I didn’t have that money to fulfill my Barney’s order, and that money was paid back within six months. I don’t owe any money. I own my entire company. I’ve never had an investor, and from that day forward when I began, we’ve been more and more profitable every single year.”
Wholesale vs. DTC
“I started my business with my wholesale partners. I have been with Net-a-Porter for 12 years, and they’ve been an amazing partner. Neiman’s, albeit new, has been an incredible partner — and I starting Barney’s. I would not have my business had I not started with these retailers. Wholesale is super important, and I’m devoted to my wholesale partners. We work really closely with them and their customers. Their customers, most of the time, weere not my customers and then they became my customers. … [However], if you can build a strong website and a strong Instagram, or whatever platform you feel is your best customer, … being able to bridge that margin for yourself and sell direct-to-consumer is massive. You’re going to make a lot more money, and you’re going to have a close relationship with your customer and your clients, and it’s going to be great for you. If you can find a way to do both, you’re in good shape. But if you have to choose one, you’re probably going to do your own.”