I love when someone I’ve known for years follows their passion and goes full-force into what brings them joy. This is just what happened to Erin Stafford, and I’m happy to share both her line, Spire Jewelry, and our interview. ALSO…stay tuned for a fabulous giveaway of one of her necklaces, which will launch on Tuesday!! You definitely don’t want to miss this one!
So Erin, I remember meeting you quite a few years ago at an image consulting conference. How did you go about making the switch from image consulting to jewelry designer?
My background is certainly not traditional. I’ve never really done things by the book…and I love that! I was a political science undergrad and gender studies MA who worked in digital media and advertising for years in London at an agency, and then at MTV.
I was always interested in fashion though, so when I moved back to Orange County from London, I got a gig as an assistant to a celebrity stylist in Hollywood and began my career in fashion. I eventually branched out on my own and worked as a stylist, image consultant, personal shopper, and fashion show producer for a decade. (I still do from time to time as well!) I also started working as a fashion journalist for a number of magazines, but mainly Orange Coast Magazine, where I’ve been their contributing style editor for about 8 years, and still am. In that capacity, I get to meet so many fun and creative people in Orange County. I am constantly scouting out new boutiques, talking with buyers and boutique owners, interviewing designers, and fashionable people in the area. It was during a few of these meetings that I was inspired to start making jewelry.
I look at my design process the way a stylist would. A stylist doesn’t (normally) design their own clothes. They pull from a number of designers and stores to put the perfect outfit together for their client. In the same way, I buy beads, components, and supplies from markets and sources all over the world and put them together into fabulous pieces of jewelry. I am not physically out mining for agates and polishing my own stones, or creating molds that I then pour silver into to create a particular pendant. If I need something like that made, I have someone I use that brings my designs to life. But mostly, I love scouring the globe for interesting materials and supplies that I can incorporate into unique and fun pieces of jewelry.
Every day is a new adventure when you’re venturing into unknown territory. I feel like I’ve always been someone that jumped into things with both feet. Luckily my family is very entrepreneurial as well and have always been encouraging. I think my first ah ha moment was back in 2012 when I first started Spire. The collection wasn’t very cohesive, but I made a ton of pieces I thought were cute. Since I knew so many boutique owners from my life as a fashion journalist, I took my collection into their stores, and much to my surprise, they placed orders. It was crazy to me when one store said she wanted almost everything I had. She bought my samples right off me. I was like “Wow! I can actually do this! People like my designs and are buying them!”
There have been many other ah ha moments along the way, but that was the first major one.
How would you describe your line–what’s the aesthetic and who do you see wearing your pieces?
I always say that Spire is where the bohemian beach girl meets the city. I grew up in Orange County near the beach and am obsessed with all things turquoise and beachy. But I also lived in Europe for 8 years (Paris, London, Cambridge), so I definitely appreciate that chic, European, city vibe as well. Add to that my nomadic spirit and obsession with traveling to the farthest corners of the globe, and it’s really a mixed bag. Spire is without a doubt beachy and bohemian. But it’s also got a subtle and refined, sometimes edgy, twist to it.
The Spire girl is definitely a free spirt. Someone that speaks her mind, and isn’t afraid to be unique. But the longer I do this, the more I realize she’s any woman that wants to infuse a bit of elegant, beachy, edginess into her wardrobe.
I have these simple 18k gold vermeil spike earrings that sell like crazy. My mom, who is super classic and conservative in her dressing loves them and wears them constantly. She would NEVER be considered an edgy dresser, or someone that would gravitate towards anything spiked, but because they are so simple and understated, they work for her. Spire is transitional. It can be very beachy, bohemian, and edgy if you put it all together, or it can be elegant and refined if you wear it alone. I love that.
I’m inspired constantly by things I see and people I meet. I travel a lot and always come back with new inspiration. From the way I see someone put an outfit together, to beads I find in an open air market place, to adornments on a handbag, or the color of the local flowers in bloom. I’m always looking, and taking pictures of things that inspire me.
In general though, I’m very inspired by the beach and the ocean. I simply cannot get enough of that perfect aqua blue color of Caribbean or South Pacific waters. It is perfection to me. It’s not just the color of the water I love though, it’s the feeling you have when you visit those places. Life is slower. You’re relaxed. You’re not stressing about your hair and makeup. You’ve got beachy waves under a Panama hat. You wear your bikini with a sundress or linen pants. You live in flip flops and enjoy a cocktail on the beach. Comfort and fun are key. This entire notion of beach life – from the colors, the weather, the clothing, the beauty, and the vibe inspire me endlessly.
What are a couple of your current faves in your line?
I’m really excited about my new collection, Glimmered Hope. I have been wearing my Tassel necklaces almost daily and have been getting such great feedback on them. They are perfect for summer and are so easy to layer with shorter necklaces as well.
My simple stretch bracelets start at about $20 and my necklaces go up to roughly $250, but I’d say most pieces are in the $50 – $150 range.
So I know my readers are going to want to know where they can buy a piece from Spire, so do tell!
The best place to find Spire jewelry is on my website www.thespirelife.com. It links to my Etsy store where most of my pieces are available. I ship worldwide. A selection of my pieces can also be found at Twig and Willow in Long Beach, CA, West End Napa in downtown Napa, CA, and a few other stores around California. I’m always looking for new stores, and am actually doing my first trade show later this summer, the San Francisco International Gift Fair, so I’m hoping to be in many more stores by the end of the year.