"I don't remember the last time I was this excited about something!" It's two days before Thanksgiving, and the designer Lori Weitzner is zipping about her New York studio, where the walls are covered in ephemera from her many creative projects: wallpaper scraps, sketches, bits of trim. She's elbows deep in preparations for her newest launch, one that has nothing to do with interior design—and yet, at the same time, everything to do with her past work.
This past Thursday, Weitzner welcomed friends and peers to her own home for the final result: Lori Weitzner jewelry and accessories, a collection of bracelets, necklaces, headbands, and clutches designed by Weitzner with the same attention to detail and studious sense of color she applies to her interiors and home collections.
"I would always say I make 'jewelry for the home,'" Weitzner says of her ever-popular trims for Samuel & Sons. "Now I'm actually making jewelry!" It's something the designer says she's wanted to do since she began working with Samuel & Sons some 12 years ago.
"After a few collections with them, I thought, I want to do jewelry," Weitzner recalls. "I kept talking about it, but I never did anything."
Turns out, the push she needed was validation in another creative pursuit: "At the same time, I wanted to write a book for a million years and it never happened and finally did. So after that, I kind of thought, If I can do that, I can do anything." (Ode to Color: The Ten Essential Palettes for Living and Design was published in 2016.)
"I've spent all my life adorning interiors—now I'm going to adorn people," the designer quips. She found that many lessons gleaned from the former translated neatly to the latter. The pieces, which range in price from $135 for earrings to $305 for a clutch, are made in India using a variety of different techniques, from laser-cutting to fine embroidery and beadwork. "It's really important to me that people understand where it comes from and how it's made," Weitzner says of the processes behind the pieces.
"It's all textile-infused," she continues. This influence manifests in the intricate fabric-covered buttons and suede-sheathed magnets that serve as clasps, as well as, at the launch party, the jewelry's display—on miniature pillows Weitzner made specially for the occasion. Of course, color is a key factor, too; the collection launched in five "color worlds"—including Night Shadow, Silverlight, Alchemy, At Ease, and Fire Dance—three of which are from Weitzner's book. "To me, these were the most important moods to capture at first, but we'll keep unveiling new ones."
"I think interior designers will be our best clients," Weitzner says, "because they'll really get it." Plus, she points out, "a lot of interior design shops are starting to cross-sell jewelry and other categories." Weitzner is in talks to sell at some of these, while for now she's offering the pieces through e-commerce.
As for the strategic side of things, that's where Weitzner made one very different decision than in past creative endeavors. "When I started Weitzner, I made a lot of mistakes," she says. "And I thought, this is my second chance to not make those mistakes. My biggest one was not having a partner who would do that business side." For the jewelry line, Weitzner's cousin has signed on as an investor and partner, managing the business and operational side.
So what's next? "I want to keep going with it," Weitzner says jubilantly. "I was thinking maybe shawls or gloves." That's not to say she'll be trading in her interiors work—far from it. "It's enhancing everything we're doing on the interiors side," Weitzner says. "And the interiors are enhancing this."
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