Last month I had to tell you about the whimsical jewelry line, Frieda & Nellie. Created from vintage pieces, each handmade piece is distinct. You look at the jewelry thinking the designers have got to be just as colorful, sparkling, and daring as the pieces.
And yes, they are a total reflection of their jewelry. When you meet them, Sarah Reid and Stacy Herzog are like yin & yang. You can tell they are best friends. They finish each other’s sentences, spend countless hours together, and still manage to laugh a ton. Stacy makes quite an impression easing you into conversation with her gregarious nature. Sarah is her perfect balance with a soothing energy and mischievous sense of humor. Even though they are on top of the world with the success of their business, they remain down to earth.
The best thing about vintage jewelry is the history behind it. If you are intrigued by the jewelry of Frieda & Nellie (named after Sarah and Stacy’s grandmothers), you will love hearing Sarah and Stacy’s story. And this week, through Friday at 11:59pm, you can receive a 15% discount off your purchase with the code FRIENDSHIP15, exclusively for Bangles & Bungalows readers!
Sarah: We met when Stacy was doing an internship at the company I was working for. Stacy was living in NYC for the summer off from University of Texas. I got us really lost one day.
Stacy: One summer Friday we went to this store downtown and got lost getting there. The subway broke down. It was a very good bonding experience. After that summer, we became really close. We have been friends for 7 years now. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding. Our dogs Levi and Bambi are friends. This business is so involved so our friendship is a bonus.
|Stacy's wedding - the bride and her bridesmaid, Sarah|
Stacy: The design process changes daily. Sometimes we draw out an idea. Oftentimes the whole process depends on our interest that day. It is common for one of us to start a piece and the other to finish it. Today I took out what I was in the mood for — emerald and milk glass — and made ten new bracelets that will go off to Bendels.
Sarah: Before market appointments, we give ourselves three to four days with product development. We have a lot of vintage material and embroidery thread. We ask what kind of necklaces/earrings can we do? What do we like that is beautiful? From there, what can we create? Then we decide on the pieces. Finally we get help from our staff in the studio that follows a formula we create for each piece.
BB: Tell me about the day WWD stopped you and how that changed things.
Sarah: As we were walking down the street near my apt, a guy grabbed my wrist and said, “These are fuckin’ awesome!”
Stacy: When we started talking he said he was at Women’s Wear Daily and told us the bracelets were amazing. We hurriedly answered him … “It’s called Frieda & Nellie. It’s named after our grandmothers. We have a day job. We don’t have a lookbook yet!”
After he walked away, we looked at each other and said maybe we should do this. We made 100 pieces and threw a little trunk show in a vacant apartment in our building. We prettied it up with candles and sent an invitation that spelled out Frieda & Nellie using the jewelry we made (see image below). There was an email from the senior accessories editor at WWD the morning after inviting us to come in for an interview. On Feb 8th, we went to our nearby bodega and opened the paper. We had this crazy reaction. It was half a page with this picture of Sarah and I and this beautiful description of what we were doing. I started balling. The guy selling the paper was looking at me like I was crazy.
Sarah: All day long I could hear this really happy music in my head as I was bouncing around on the street. It was this surreal “dreams are coming true, stars are aligned, things are happening, start of something good” feeling.
|Original trunk show invite|
Sarah: I love 1920s deco pieces. Flea markets are a good place and of course grandma’s jewelry box! Denver, CO, Lexington, KY, Little Rock, AK have so many hidden treasures. We have been to great flea markets in LA (Melrose) and NY too.
Stacy: We have done our vintaging all over the place. We have a large customer base in Japan and did some vintaging there, which was far out. We found the best pieces where you have to dig.
BB: What are your tips on shopping for vintage?
S&S: It depends on what you are looking for. All dealers expect to be bargained with. Build your relationships with people at the flea market and get to know them. Start a conversation with them and the more you warm up to them, the more they warm up to you. You will get a story with the piece, which adds to its value. When vintaging, no matter if it is high end or not, always dress down. Do not wear your wedding ring. Be subtle. Then they will focus on what you are saying and not your purse/earrings. We usually look like homeless people!
Stacy: With balancing a hobby as a love (this is our artwork) it is important to chill out, take constructive criticism, but also stick to your guns. If we really think something is beautiful, we have our own website to showcase it if other stores do not end up buying it. We also continue to travel and be inspired. It keeps things fun and more enjoyable.
Sarah: Stacy and I use a hobby as an outlet, but we also use that work for the business. There are ways to express yourself differently whether it means coming up with new artwork for the website or pieces of art to put in the showroom.
BB: What do your grandmothers think of the line?
Stacy: Nellie is still alive. A few years ago there was a photo of her in Elle magazine. I sent her the copy and she was so excited and was like, “I’m a celebrity!” It was really cute. She still tells family about what we do and that the business is named after her. For both of us, the brand being named after our grandmothers is really an ode to all the strong women in our lives including our sisters, moms and aunts. It represents the past and the present and this idea that fashion is so cyclical. In that respect, our mothers and grandmothers see it as a wonderful coming of age thing.
Frieda was really big into fashion. She shared a lot about what other people thought, especially the positive reaction from customers and industry experts. She did not get to pursue everything she wanted to so I think she lived vicariously through the business.
BB: If your granddaughters started a business called Sarah & Stacy, what would they be selling?
S&S: Who knows? Sugar & Spice for a company title? That’s cheesy. Whatever their hearts desire. Maybe saddles and spurs – we love cowboy boots!
All images courtesy of Stacy & Sarah.
What do you think of their story? Isn't their jewelry to die for? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And don't forget to take advantage of the discount code now through Friday, February 1 at 11:59 PM: FRIENDSHIP15.