Interview with VoyageLA Magazine LA’s most inspiring Los Angeles stories.
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So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I work out of my personalized home studio in Los Angeles, California. It has been a lifelong dream of to make my living as an artisan and now with the support of the Internet I finally am!
I started studying jewelry fabrication & fashion at Otis College of Art and Design. To help pay my way through school I took a job in a local bridal shop doing alterations and making wedding accessories. After a few years, I opened my own business; its headquarters was the living room of my tiny duplex. I found success in wholesale. As the business expanded I began selling to hundreds of bridal salons and major department stores across the U.S.
After 25 successful years in the wholesale business, I felt that my creative side was getting lost. I wanted to reimagine my brand by creating singular designs that focused on uncompromising craftsmanship and beauty.
I decided to leave the world of wholesale and go back to my roots. Now, I take great pride in knowing that everything in my shop is handmade, beautifully packaged and shipped to women around the world.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I started my first business without computers or cell phones. Now, I am designing for a generation of savvy young women that can go online and purchase anything they want. The world of bridal fashion today is wonderfully diverse and the Internet has paved the way for creative people to show off their talents to the world.
Although this development has helped me fall in love all over again with my beloved career, it has also opened up new challenges that change from day to day. With the vast amount of information rushing around us, not only has the process of getting discovered become more of a mystery, but also it can be difficult to stay on the top of original designs. As soon as you release a new collection, you will see another replicating your ideas within days and for less money. Having said this “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” You must be savvy & keep a keen eye on the quick changes.
Now with the coming Net Neutrality changes in the United States, I am a bit unsettled about what this will mean to my small business after working so hard for online optimization. It is to be seen what will happen and how small business will be affected.
Erica Elizabeth Designs – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the sole owner, designer and maker of Erica Elizabeth Designs. I design & handcraft headdresses, veils and silk flower hair accessories for the bride but with a growing client base of stylist, celebrities and very special occasions. I also sell to a few exclusive boutiques.
I am most known for my metal smithing and jewelry making skills, with an emphasis on detail & technical perfection. I allow myself the freedom to create endless shapes integrating color with gemstones, silks & enamel finishes.
The world of bridal can get a bit stale due to some of the traditions, but this is changing with new generations.
I am able to keep my creative juices flowing by always introducing color and new materials, most often with themes of nature. Some of my weaknesses are for example: motifs of plants, flowers and particularly insects, butterflies, bees and dragonflies.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success can be a puzzling subject for many artists. Of course, we all need to make a living & like many large cities, Los Angeles has gotten very expensive. So at times we must unfortunately compromising some freedom of expression in order to make a dollar to have success in these terms.
In my past I had considered myself lucky with my success monetarily, but now this is less important. After downsizing my business to a home studio, I am happier. Running a smaller operation produces fewer sales than I had before, but my profits are higher and I enjoy a life free of the complications of a larger business.
For the most part, I have been fortunate with my career. I started very young enjoying healthy growth at a fast pace and now I have arrived at a sweet spot!
- Website: https://ericaelizabeth.com/
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericaelizabethprettythings/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andprettythings
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/@AndPrettyThings