Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Julie Collection.

I recently attended a jewelry trunk show for the New York based Julie Collection.  The line is absolutely beautiful and very affordable. I had the pleasure of talking to Julie Vos, owner and creator of the Julie Collection about her inspiration and vision. 
FCF: What are your biggest influences as a jewelry designer?
JV: I wouldn’t say I have a specific influence. Jewelry making is half aesthetics (color, shape, something beautiful and unique) and half mechanics (clasps, comfort, weight). Bounkit is one of my favorites – he’s practically the king of mechanics. Some of his pieces can breakdown into 5 separate pieces of jewelry. It’s fascinating.

I am influenced by what I see in museums and in nature and when I travel. Of course I love the work of so many jewelry designers, I don’t even know where to begin.  But art is where my inspiration comes from—sculptural form and color combinations in paintings.

FCF: Do you come from an artistic background/family?
JV: My grandfather was the advertising director for Texaco and he played a large role conceptually in the creation of the Eddie Cantor Show on the radio. After he retired, he transformed his garage into a studio and taught sculpture there. My father was a true advertising man with his own offices on Madison Avenue—Frank Vos Company. I used to work there in the summers and went to work there after college.  So, yes, I would say I do come from a creative background.  My father was a marvelous copywriter.  I have my masters in short fiction writing and won the poetry prize the year I graduated.

FCF: Who is your target customer?
JV: My collection is for three generations of women. Mothers and daughters come shop together and bring the granddaughters, too. So we have a seventeen year old, a forty year old and a seventy year old all finding pieces they love and want to wear.  For five years I sold my pieces hand to hand and I watched how people shopped.  I listened to what they told me they wanted to wear.  I took copious notes during trunk shows and afterwards I acted on them with the next line I created.

FCF: Have you always designed jewelry? Ever thought of expanding into apparel?
JV: I started with shawls and then developed jewelry. I also used to sell a line of clutches that Carlos Falchi made for me.  Carlos would allow me in to pull the leathers and select the profiles and he made the pieces exclusively for me.  It was pretty incredible; not every one can say they’ve had an opportunity like that.  He’s a prince, Carlos.

Kathleen Newman, who contributes to press and product development, has been encouraging me to create some totes and tunics from our original shawl patterns. The future is wide open.

FCF: When did you discover the need for the Julie Collection? Was there a defining moment that gave you the push in the direction of starting your own line?
JV: In the beginning I purchased everything overseas and brought it back and sold it here.  But I found when people bought something and wore it, their best friend or sister or neighbor wanted it too, but I only had one piece, and that really disappointed them.  So to make people happy I began to design and manufacture a line, so that I had ten pieces of a design to sell, not just one.

FCF: What is your creative process? How do you bring your concepts to life?
JV: I find inspiration while relaxing on vacation with my family or visiting museums. Actually, my ram’s head ring is designed after a dagger’s head I noticed at a museum when I traveled with a group of girlfriends in January.  While designing, I go into an almost meditative state; a very peaceful piece of mind.  I just love that and anyone who does anything creatively knows what I’m talking about.  Five hours can pass and it feels like five minutes.  It is a state of rapture.
While designing I go into an almost meditative state; a very peaceful piece of mind.

FCF: When did you have that “big break” sort of feeling?
JV: Being published in magazines definitely felt that way. When Oprah had on Julie Collection earrings on the front cover of her magazine, I knew we had come into our own as a company.  It didn’t hurt sales either.

FCF: Do your travels influence your collections? Jewelry names?
JV: Yes, I name my jewelry after places I’m fond of. Or the place that inspired the piece.  I used to name pieces after customers who inspired them.

FCF: How many collections do you create a year? Do you retire pieces?
JV: I’m constantly creating. Sometimes I have an idea and sketch it and put it in a folder until I’m ready to bring it to fruition. Sometimes I know it’s just not quite finished and I have to wait until I know how to complete it.  I do cycle out items from the collection when it’s time or I give up on them.  Then an editor with a great eye comes into our showroom and brings to life a piece I have retired.  Like the Metro HoopReal Simple saw them in our showroom and loved them.  They ran them in the magazine and we went from selling a few pairs to 500 in a year.  The Corsica Stack Ring is another example of a pokey style that became a bestseller because the editors at Lucky magazine saw how popular it would be.  This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it is exhilarating.

FCF: How do you feel about social media eg Twitter, blogs vs magazines?
JV: It all really comes down to the merchandising.  How well is the item merchandised on the page.

FCF: Are you considering a fine jewelry line?
JV: Absolutely not. I love the price of my line and the fact you get so much for your money. I want my customer to walk away regretting they hadn’t bought more, rather than walk away feeling guilty they spent too much.
With a Master’s in Short Story Writing, it's fascinating to speak with someone who has taken a step away from their background to follow their passion. A collection based upon an appreciation of beautiful aesthetics, architectural design, and natural talent, Julie Vos has created a stunning and contemporary jewelry line. Visit the Julie Collection to purchase your own pieces and information about upcoming trunk shows here

A very special thank you to Julie and her team for sharing a piece of their creative world.

1 comment:

  1. What amazing jewelry! I especially love the Byzantine bracelet. Can't wait to look at the whole collection.