Because we love nothing more than an afternoon spent with good friends. Something to make it even better? All the jewels. So nothing was better than when Melissa Akkaway of The Particulars came by AGJHQ for an afternoon of fun.
Melissa: You obviously live and breathe jewelry, where did your passion of jewelry come from? And how did you decide to launch your own business?
I had never made a piece of jewelry before. Ever. My sister is a painter and an artist, but I was always the nerdy one at school. I had never done anything creative before. I took a couple classes in Santa Monica, and then I moved up to San Fransisco and did more classes there. I then worked for another designer named Maya Brenner for 6 years. I learned the ins and outs of the business side of things. And now, here I am.
M: Did you launch with personalization of your products?
A: I did. one of the first collections I did was a collection of initial necklaces. I was inspired by the movie, Helvetica, that I watched in 2009. Those necklaces really took off. I found that people wanted to do their kid’s initials, husband’s initials, or multiple on a chain.
M: What was the moment when you felt like you made it?
A: Back in the day when magazines made a difference for sales, I was living in Santa Monica in my little apartment. I was checking out at the grocery store and there was a Lucky Magazine, an Instyle, and an Elle, and I was on the cover of one and had big spreads in the other two. I was like “That’s me!”
Melissa: What was one of the pieces you launched with?
Ariel: The Love Knot Ring, which is still one of my best sellers today. It feels like I was onto something. That was 2009 and it was a hard time. People were not shopping online, but I couldn’t afford to do trade shows or go after stores, so I just committed to selling things online. No one was selling online, especially not fine jewelry. I now do wholesale and I work with a lot of great stores, but I work with the stores I want to work with; stores that I feel bring brand awareness and build trust in the aesthetic, quality, and branding.
M: Has there been anyone who made you think “I am so glad she has that!”
A: Yeah, totally. Beyoncé, Charlize Theron, Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence. All these major ladies. That always feels good.
All photos via Emma Feil Photography
Read the full interview here.