In vowing never to let their day jobs take over their world, Debbie Sheen & Abigail Rivamonte started Made Jewelry in 2007 during their last year in law school as a creative outlet.
That same year, their hard work paid off and they quickly landed accounts in over a dozen boutiques and online retailers. The buzz about Made just keeps getting bigger and what started off as a hobby between two law school friends quickly has transformed into a successful business backed by a team of creatives from communities from San Diego, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at their all-female production and photoshoot from their LoveHate lookbook:
On April 23rd, Made Jewelry celebrated the release of MADE in SF at a gallery event at Artifacts in Sacramento. The event also doubled as a spotlight on some of Made’s favorite SF photographers: Amanda Lopez, Fred Garcia (Suckafreeze), and Nina Parks.
We have some exclusive images from the event later on in the feature but first, let’s get to know the ladies of Made Jewelry!
The ladies breakdown the mission statement behind Made Jewelry:
MADE Jewelry echoes the hustle of our generation. We hold down demanding careers, pursue our dreams and passions, and find time to wild out with our ladies. We stay on top of the game with our fashion-forward style and forward-thinking attitude.
In 2007, MADE Jewelry was conceived as an artistic expression of this hustle. MADE Jewelry brings a fresh aesthetic to women’s urbanwear through hand-crafted jewelry that reflects versatility, boldness, and a playful edge. Something special for women, MADE by women.
We stay true to this mission by keeping an ear to the streets and staying inspired by the ladies who got it MADE. Since the launch of our first collection in 2008, we continue to lace women with our signature style of layered chains, hand-twisted hoops, and rare vintage materials. We hope that our pieces inspire all women to stay true to self, style, and soul.
– Abigail & Debbie
We asked the ladies some questions to get some insight on who they are and to get more info on the ins and outs of their company. Read on…
M.I.S.S.: What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
We’re always inspired by the auditory and the visual, and one lady who’s capturing our attention these days is Janelle Monae. She definitely seems like someone who marches to her own beat and is constantly pushing boundaries. We love the way she flips urban style on its head and makes it her own unique signature look and sound. We’re looking forward to seeing more from this lady – she’s definitely the Future!
M.I.S.S.: How did you get your start?
During our last year of law school we realized that three years of being in that environment really took a toll on our creativity and sucked up a huge part of our souls. In vowing to never let our day jobs take over our world, we decided to start MADE as a creative outlet. After finals, we spent all of winter break designing pieces and creating a lookbook. Then we took a renegade approach at sales and went door to door selling our pieces to boutiques. Our hard work paid off and that same year we landed accounts in 15 boutiques and online retailers. The buzz about MADE was definitely in full swing and what started off as a hobby between two law school friends quickly transformed into a full blown business. Now our two-woman show is backed by a sales team, a graphic designer, 7 amazing women who write for our blog, and a team of talented DJs who create the soundtrack to our collections.
M.I.S.S.: You both hold down demanding careers and manage to pursue your dreams and passions. How do you balance the two out?
Honestly, we have no clue on how we do it–we just do it. We’re not gonna lie to you, it’s really hard. It involves a lot of late nights and weekends spent working. Time management and being extremely organized is really the only way to maintain the balance. Since our professional careers are so different from MADE, we’re continuously switching gears between the two worlds. Regardless of how tough it gets, we really do love our work. Doing a million things at once has become the norm for us–doing just one thing would be way too boring.
M.I.S.S.: What’s your favorite piece of jewelry (or collection) that you’ve created?
Our favorite piece is the Miss Universe earring that we created for writer, poet, fashionista, and overall badass Ruby Veridiano-Ching. This was a collaborative piece that we created with Ruby when she released her book “Miss Universe.” This piece really captures our signature look of pairing bright suede and classic chains with hand twisted hoops. It’s a fun urban look that goes with any outfit.
M.I.S.S.: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future (product brands, stylists, DJs, websites, boutiques, etc.)?
Our goal is to collaborate with artists in New York. We’ve built a solid network with brands, boutiques, and DJs in the left coast that it’s time to show love to our good folks on the right. Don’t fret NY, we’re not ignoring you…just taking baby steps before we enter your world.
M.I.S.S.: Any plans on branching out into other kinds of products (t-shirts, bags, etc.)?
We’ve branched out a little bit when we teamed up with Adapt to create our LoveHate tee for the launch of our past collection. If we do decide to branch off in this direction it will likely be a collaboration with another designer. Since our focus is jewelry, we really don’t want to stray too far from the heart of the brand.
M.I.S.S.: What part of your work process is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
The admin part of the job. Most people don’t realize that the design aspect of the brand only takes up about 20% of your time. The other 80% is spent dealing with marketing, sales, and finances. The challenging part of this equation is not letting the business side suck up the creative side. Since managing a business is so taxing, we have to continuously remind ourselves that we are doing this for the love of creating pieces that we take pride in.
M.I.S.S.: Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in a career path similar to yours?
Have a solid team before you even launch your company. Hire a graphic designer, a web guru, and a team of interns that you can rely on from the jump and who are willing to grow with your company. Treat your team with respect and always mind your manners…”thank you” and “please” go a long way in this business so check your attitude at the door.
Thanks so much ladies!
Below is an exclusive look at the Made in SF gallery event at Artifacts, Sacramento, releasing the latest collection by Made Jewelry. All the images were shot by Fred Garcia aka Suckafreeze.
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