Jennifer Fisher Reflects on 10 Years of Jewelry Design
In this weekly feature, InStyle’s fashion news director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.
The Moment: Jennifer Fisher celebrated her 10th anniversary in business on Thursday night with a fancy-pants dinner at Mr. Chow Tribeca, a restaurant she frequents so often that, upon arrival, a waiter embraced her husband, Kevin, with full-body hug. But in her first decade as a jewelry designer, Fisher also has become as famous for her rock-edged charms as she has for her personal charm.
Follow her on Instagram or Snapchat, and you’ll be rewarded with the wisdom of a designer who puts her family first, while indulging in some of the most gorgeous meals imaginable—with dishes that just happen to be healthy. So rather than talk business over Mr. Chow’s signature sodium fest, I asked for a private audience over breakfast last week. For the record, we had poached eggs on avocado toast, served on gluten-free toast with extra crushed chili peppers.
Why It’s a Wow: “I couldn’t find what I wanted,” Fisher says, not just what sparked the idea that became her signature hit—a fine jewelry version of a dog tag—but also about what, in a way, has become her motto. Whenever she can’t find exactly what she’s craving, whether jewelry or food, she creates it herself, and that has led to an enormous amount of success. And she documents the process on social media, giving her fans a unique window into the creative process, and hunger pangs, of a designer who does love to share a well photographed poached egg.
“We are seeing an increase in sales, and I think that’s because of eggs, and social media,” Fisher says.
So I had to start our Q&A with this question: "Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day?"
Fisher's answer: My parents always taught me that, but I never really realized how important breakfast was until I had children. Every day I get my kids off to school, I notice that their productivity and moods are so much better if they have eaten a healthy breakfast with protein, not just cereal, and when they come home they are not lethargic. Personally, the earlier that I eat, the better I feel the entire day. I always like to eat before 7:30 a.m. so I’m more productive when I get to the office by 9 a.m. And I love that you started with that question, because what you just said to me is the direction where I want this business to go.
But first, why does your breakfast have to look so good all the time? An unattractive piece of toast is clearly not acceptable in your household.
You can’t just have slop on a plate. If you are eating something beautiful, you feel better about it. My endocrinologist says, “Eat the rainbow!” But I think I got that from my father, who loved to cook breakfast for us when we were kids. It often included some kind of heavy meat situation, but it was pretty. Growing up in Santa Barbara, we always had lemon trees and avocado trees, which is why that resonates so much with me today. My father is still always growing something. He grows pumpkins for the kids every year, carves their names into them and sends them to us for Halloween.
So how does this relate to where you want the business is go?
Well, everyone always asks me, when are you doing shoes, when are you doing handbags? But food is my passion. I’m living this lifestyle and it seems to be resonating with customers so I would love to be able to bring a little bit more. I love condiments. I love hot sauce, mustard, and salt. My favorite thing to do on days off is to go to specialty stores or Whole Foods and search the shelves. I started making my own salt mixture because I use it on breakfast so often that I wanted something that didn’t have garlic or onion in it for the morning. One of my ingredients is ground lemon rind, as an homage to freshness and where I’m from. It was the same with my jewelry: I started the designs because I couldn’t find what I wanted. I would love to partner with somebody to create a service to deliver fresh foods to families so that kids have access to fresh vegetables or a breakfast bar every morning.
What are you most proud in your work?
Building this business on my own. I had to trust my gut and do everything on my own. I started the company with $50,000 of my own money, and went from there. My husband has been great as a shoulder to cry on and the person I turn to for financial advice, but I had to do this without a large mentor. We’re at a point now where the brand recognition is starting to increase rapidly, and private equity people want to get involved, but I plan to stay self-owned. With social media, I have been able to relate to more customers directly. They see I’m real and not perfect; and I think women relate to the fact that I’m a mom. You can do it all.
How are you celebrating the 10th?
I have started a collection of enamel pieces because a lot of people wanted to see color in the line, but I didn’t want to make a rainbow pendant. I wanted something that has a texture and symbolism to it. We included a snake motif and lightning bolds, but a lot of it is darker, with navy and burgundy, but no pink or turquoise. I didn’t want it to be kitschy.
You do dress a lot of celebrities, but who or what really influences customers to buy?
Sometimes the biggest artists in the world don’t even move the needle, but you would often be surprised. Sometimes the social media posts that I take of myself, move the needle much more. Sometimes people just want to see how the pieces can be styled. I design for me. I’m a consumer. I designed those burnished cuffs engraved with custom dates because everyone was buying the Cartier Love bracelets and I wanted to make something more personal that you could stack with it, and work our name in there somehow.
Where do you get your best ideas?
A lot of time it’s right before I go to bed, but I also look at photography books and, of course, I’m inspired daily by living in New York. In fact, I’m looking out the window at the scaffolding behind you right now, and it gave me a great idea. Stay tuned.
Learn more: Take a tour of Fisher's Tribeca home, and make sure to check out her kitchen.