We caught up with JCK Design Ambassador Jacqueline Stone to learn why she believes it is important to support other designers. Jacqueline is one of several members on the JCK Events team made up of industry insiders that have come together to ensure that each JCK event is flawlessly executed. She is also the lead designer and founder of Brooklyn-based fine jewelry company, Salt + Stone, so we tapped her to share her perspective as a designer with us. In part two of our interview, Jacqueline talks about where her design inspiration comes from and her secret to tackling a never-ending to-do list.
Missed the first part of our interview? Check it out here.
What led you to become a jewelry designer?
A trip to Brazil! I went there for New Year’s Eve back in 2005 and fell in love with jewelry, hard. I had previous experience in finance and marketing and didn’t really feel like I was on the right path. Jewelry seemed like an amazing opportunity to combine my business skills with my artistic abilities. I took an introductory metalsmithing class at FIT and never looked back. I was hooked immediately.
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I’ve been a hopeless romantic since I was a child and it still fits. I’ve combined my fascination with love stories and my anthropology background into a full blown study of the ‘Evolution of Love.’ My custom engagement rings are designed directly from my clients’ love stories. My wholesale/retail collection has grown organically and had many fits and starts. By working with tons of outside consultants, including the incredible Cindy Edelstein, I’ve been able to re-focus my direction. I’ve always adored fairy tales and I liked toying with the idea that The Big Bang was just a giant heartbreak. I bring my audience on a journey through the evolution of love and time. So far, I have three collections in the works: “Cosmos: The Beginning and The End,” “Ocean: The First Signs of Life” and “Paradise: The First Signs of Love.” I can’t wait to see how the collections are received and watch the evolution unfold.
What does “innovative design” mean to you?
I think when an artist does some deep soul searching and really pushes themselves through external obstacles, they find their true self and their voice. I can immediately look at a collection and tell if it was created with a ‘quick sell’ in mind or if it was thoughtfully curated with passion and care. There are so many talented artists out there with so many things to say. I think innovative design is any piece that a designer can stand behind and say to themselves, “yes, I’m proud of this work.”
You’ve taken classes at almost every studio in NYC. How do you balance continuing your education as a designer with running the day-to-day operations of your business?
It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve found that nothing worth having ever is. Right now, I’m enrolled in an online course called “Brand Strong” which is teaching me operational and organizational strategies. It’s also teaching me about the interesting art of repetition which most artists have struggled with, including myself. Last ‘semester’ I was at Fitzgerald Studio taking a wax workshop with the fabulous Susan Barth. I’ll always be learning. That is what attracts me so much to this industry. There is always something new to learn. It’s definitely been challenging keeping my educational path moving along, but I find it’s also my sacred space where I can turn off the email, the phone and the noise and get back to the art.
What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize when you started Salt+Stone?
That I’d be designing only 15% of the time and spending the remaining 85% doing ‘other,’ which – no offense – this interview falls into that category. There is design, product development, manufacturing, quality assurance, photography, website builds, copy-writing, marketing, sales, administration, accounting…whew, need I go on? I think entrepreneurs rock. We just keep pushing through until we find the right answers that work for us. For example, am I a star at running the books? Absolutely not. Thank God I found an incredible accountant who keeps me in line. I think there is a big difference in saying, “I want to be a jewelry designer” versus “I want to be a business owner.” I wouldn’t change a thing, but it’s been a huge reality check.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
I’ve tried so many different programs out there: Wunderlist, Evernote, Google Tasks, et cetera. But, absolutely nothing works better than my Moleskine. For me, there is something so satisfying in putting pencil to paper. In fact, all of my work still starts out as technical design on vellum. I love having a hand-written to-do list that I can reference and cross things off. It feels so amazing when you end a day and get a lot off your list. But, let’s all be real…the list is never-ending if you have a business that is doing great work!
Images courtesy of Jacqueline Stone.