Jewelry is a tricky thing for me. Inexpensive jewelry generally looks tacky to me, and I’m nervous to buy expensive pieces because I have a tendency to lose things that are small. Also, I’m not rich. Enter Stella and Bow: One of the only jewelry labels doing collections that are genuinely really, really cute, good quality, and wallet-friendly (most pieces are under $100). Every piece feels timeless and understated, but still cool.
Plus, their latest creepy-meets-cute collection, called “Crysteria,” is perfect for Halloween. “Dr. Jekyl” and “The Mummy” are names for bracelets, for instance.
We chatted with the line’s best friend founders Lauren Brokaw and Lindsey Lerman about their inspiration for starting the line, how they balance quality with affordability, what it’s like working together and what’s next.
Fashionista: What was the impetus for starting Stella and Bow?
Lauren: It started out sort of as a hobby. I had just finished working for the stylist Cher Coulter and Lindsey had just graduated college and I had always made jewelry. We had lunch one day and she was just like, we should start a jewelry company. We wanted everything to look new but also have a vintage feel. We started about two years ago, and now it’s like an actual company.
Ha. Who would have known?
Lindsey: I think being naive and throwing ourselves into this situation is what has made us successful. I think not thinking too much and having it organically grow along the way has been a benefit for us.
What made you decide to do something affordable as opposed to fine jewelry?
Lauren: You’re either spending $20 or less and then over $500, so that’s a big thing we wanted to do is to offer people higher quality at a lower price point.
How did you make that work?
Lauren: It was a lot of researching. I’m like an Internet detective and it’s just a lot of research, and another thing that was probably good about our jumping into this was that we didn’t have people telling us we had time constraints. So if I need to sit for an entire day just researching a type of chain, I can. It’s definitely been really interesting because neither of us had wholesale jewelry backgrounds, so now that we know how much things actually cost to make, it’s crazy to think someone’s charging $400 for a necklace that probably costs $2 to make.
Lindsey: It’s shocking but the more you get into this, the more you find out. In the beginning we spent more money on chains because we didn’t know any different, but now that we’ve been doing this for two years we know. We’ve done every aspect of every part of this business so we know it very well.
Were you ever worried that starting a business together would ruin your friendship?
Lindsey: Lauren and I have a very unique relationship where we work very well [and] creatively together. To be able to start a business together and also be friends we both knew that taking that next step would be fine. The funny thing is people ask if we would ever move in together and I think that would be a little much.
Lauren: People always say, ‘I worked with my friend and we got in a fight and we’re not friends anymore,’ but it’s very weird because we’re together all the time but we don’t get sick of each other. The other aspect I think is really important for our working relationship is that we have opposite roles in the company. I’m terrible with math and I’m not a good business person but I’m very creative and good with making graphics and designing things, doing social media. It’s interesting because without saying something she’ll assume a role that I would not be good at or I’ll assume a role that she wouldn’t be good at doing. In our two years of doing this we’ve never had a fight or an argument.
What’s your starting point for collections? Is there a certain girl you have in mind?
Our whole thing is that we want to customer to be able to buy one piece and for the one piece to stand out on its own, but also to be able to add in things from the collection. So you can have one bracelet that stands on its own, but we want to be able to then give you the option to add in three or four more bracelets. We want you to be able to stack your rings, or wear one. It gives us a broad demographic.
Where do you see the brand in five years? What else do you want to do?
Lindsey: We always talk about that.
Lauren: I would love to grow as a brand. I love nail polish, so I would love to do either do our own or do a collaboration. We always talk about doing hair accessories. We want to do a higher-end line and we also want to do a lower price point line like a collaboration with Topshop or Urban Outfitters or something. I would love to have an online store of just things that I love that I find. A t-shirt line…There’s so much we want to do
Click through for Stella and Bow’s latest lookbook, which you can shop here.