From Oprah Winfrey to Kim Kardashian, Marlyn Schiff’s on-trend jewelry designs are must-haves for today’s tastemakers. We caught up with the busy designer to talk about style and success as she celebrates her 26th year in business.
You began your fashion career in the early 1980s working for designers Cynthia Steffe, Tahari, and Alfred Sung in New York City. What inspired you to launch your own label in 1989?
I was 24 years old, living in Manhattan and working full time when I began designing jewelry. It truly started as a side project – I was creating collections in my apartment at night and on the weekends! I eventually started selling my designs, utilizing the various connections I established working in the fashion industry and, before I knew it, my “hobby” grew into something much bigger. I could no longer keep up with orders. Once I recognized there was a demand for my designs, it became clear that launching my own label was the best next step.
Your collections are known for being very on-trend but also vintage-inspired. From where do you draw your inspiration?
As an avid collector of antiques, I draw inspiration from the unique finds I discover in cozy shops near my home and on my travels. I absolutely love incorporating elements of the vintage jewelry I have collected over the years into my line. I’m also incredibly inspired by architectural salvage. Plus, I have three children – two of whom are college-aged girls with amazing taste. They are extremely influential in my design process and have even contributed to the line throughout the years.
What influenced your designs for Spring/Summer 2015?
The latest collection has a “bohemian chic” influence. When I started 26 years ago, I was designing exclusively with natural stones so transitioning to this trend was easy. For Spring/Summer, I used many varieties of semi-precious stones ranging from pastel tones to my constant favorite, turquoise.
With every collection, I like to include the must-have essentials. For example, we are introducing brand-new layered necklaces in gold and silver, which are effortless. There are also several stackable cuffs available in gold or silver that work well with beaded bracelets in turquoise and white jade.
If someone were to buy just one design from your Spring/Summer 2015 line, what should it be? Why?
Just one? That’s tough! Personally, I love to layer my jewelry so I would suggest a necklace or bracelet that complements a piece already in someone’s jewelry box.
Your collection is available in more than 500 national and international boutiques and retailers, has been featured in countless news outlets, and is worn by many of today’s top celebrities. Needless to say, but your success has been tremendous. What about your success is most surprising to you?
I never planned on having my own line so that alone has always been surprising. It’s hard to believe I have been designing jewelry for 26 years! I certainly wouldn’t have made it this far without an incredible team in place, from the women managing the showroom to my sales representatives. They are like family. And, of course, I am grateful for the amazing relationships I have established with the buyers who continue to support the brand.
Where do you see Marlyn Schiff jewelry in five years?
We kicked off 2015 on such a strong note – stronger than the past few years. There’s been an overwhelmingly positive response to the spring/summer line. As someone who naturally looks ahead, I am making an effort to celebrate our current success and enjoy what’s happening now. I only hope that we can continue building the brand for years to come.