Now You Can See (and Buy) Instagram’s Favorite Jewelry IRL

Get an exclusive inside look at Roxanne Assoulin’s new Manhattan showroom.

By: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Alec Kugler

One would think that Roxanne Assoulin’s jewelry (you know the stuff; those Chiclet-like chokers and bracelets that first started popping up on people like Leandra Medine and Vogue editor Selby Drummond a year and a half ago) is the consummate millennial accessories brand. And in a sense it is. Those very same pieces, so easily stackable and mix-and-matchable, are Instagram gold, but where most young designers might think to make their products sheer sharable-ness a priority with anything they put out, for Assoulin, it was a pure and happy accident.

Here’s the thing: The longtime jeweler is no millennial. In fact, she’s a veteran of the industry and has designed baubles for everyone from Marc Jacobs (and his infamous grunge collection) to J.Crew and Banana Republic—two brands for which she continues to create private label pieces. Rather, her line and its runaway success (which mostly comes, Assoulin is quick to tell us, because customers are constantly sharing their purchases on social media), was created simply because she wanted jewelry that would make people smile. In other words, it’s about the least calculated, most *authentic* (to use our least favorite social media qualifier) way to gain real fans.

Now, Assoulin wants to meet those fans IRL. Starting today, she’s opening up part of her office as a showroom for editors, but also for weekly retail days. Click through the gallery to get an exclusive first peek at the space—and all the new jewelry she designed for fall. Trust us, the whole thing will make you smile.

“I was really inspired by Rosie [Assoulin], my daughter-in-law; the way she just decided to go for it.”

“I’ve had the same mood board, the same girl, for years and years. She has not changed. She’s the old Lauren Hutton or the old Kate Moss or Phoebe Philo. It’s very beachy, very casual. There’s no fuss, no muss. There are a lot of sneakers and watermelon and beach and country. It has a feminine side to it and an urban side as well—like Alicia Vikander. It’s jeans and sweaters no matter what. I also love the surfing community. Put me outside and I’m happy.”

“[Launching the line] was never the plan. I had these tiles in my office that I’ve been using for over 25 years. I used to do mosaic jewelry with them. I always use them as color swatches, and one day I was working with my team and put them together and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this would make such a cute bracelet.’ One of the designers came over and said they would draw it out. I have to tell you, whenever we send a model out, it’s never perfect the first time—we get a sample back and we always have to change it like 10 times. But this time, we got it back, and it was the bracelet—it was perfect. I decided to sample in colors, which is where I go crazy because I can’t stick to one color. We sampled it in 60 colors—it was like painting or like play putting it together.”

“When I first had the bracelet, I wore it a little and I asked Leandra [Medine], who’s friends with Rosie, what she thought. She said she loved it. I also asked Selby [Drummond] from Vogue, and she was like, ‘Oh my god, I love it.’ So I thought, I guess I should do something. Then the Baja East boys, who are friends of mine, called me about jewelry for their show. I told them I had this bracelet, but not to feel obligated to use it, but it could be cute; it’s a bracelet and choker. I had them send me their fabric and we worked the colors to go. It was the perfect storm, but I think what was nice about it was, because I’ve been working in the industry for so long, I knew there was nothing like it. I know jewelry—it’s the one thing I know. People have tried to do this before, but they can’t do it because it’s such a pain in the ass to make.”

“Starting the line was a fluke. But once I had the one bracelet, everything started coming together. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube. We’re only going to do stuff that makes us smile. The other thing that I always say is if I’m not going to wear it, I’m not making it. I never wore jewelry before this line. I’ve made jewelry my whole life, but I never wore it—only for evening. Now I wear my bracelets every day.”

“The pieces are hard to make because they’re enamel. We have a private label business and make jewelry for J.Crew and Banana Republic and companies like that. We have relationships with factories, so production is easier for us. But enamel does chip. We had to make a decision—we know they’re going to chip, so do we just can it or don’t we? Do we not sell them if they’re going to chip or are we just honest with our customers? We can help out and do more customer service around that. We’re really honest about it. It’s one of the reasons why I didn’t sell retail right away [and have so far only done direct-to-consumer].”

“I love having our own e-commerce platform. I love not having to go by a calendar. It’s not a fashion calendar; I don’t have to follow trends if I don’t like them. I’ve been doing jewelry for so long that it’s such a freedom. I love that I know what the customer thinks all the time.”

“The jewelry is simple and very democratic. It’s not aspirational; you can have it.”

“I shared the initial designs with Leandra and Selby and Sam [Broekema, formerly] at Harper’s Bazaar. They’re kind of like my kids. Leandra came to my studio—we only had the rainbow styles at the time. I asked her to come over and help me with pricing, and she just sat down and said, 'This is how you’re going to sell this'—she told me how to do everything in terms of selling and prices. She left and I said, ‘Please don’t post anything because we don’t have a website until next week.’ She went back that night and my phone started going crazy. I didn’t really know Instagram, but I realized she posted and it sold out in a day. We got the website up immediately and sold out, and then only had pre-order for three months.”

“It’s all been Instagram. We don’t pay for any advertising. We’re lucky because people buy it and then they post. It almost makes me cry sometimes—we’re just lucky. I couldn’t have planned this.”

“I meet people on Instagram all the time. If I like something, there’s a community of people with the same taste and values. Now I want to meet the people who are such fans of ours. I want to see who they are and why they like us. I have this space that I use for my private label company and had extra space. We decided to open a showroom for editors and retail once or twice a week. I just like that it feels organic and can be spontaneous.”

“We just want people to smile when they come in. We’re doing this thing for fashion week where we have all our tiles laid out. At the preview breakfast this morning, the editors will be able to make their own bracelets and our producers will create it for them. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the public too—I always love arts and crafts, it’s so fun!”

“We have a big space. We live here pretty much and design everything here.”

“The space looks so cute; it’s really sweet. I really love it. Of course, everything comes together last-minute, but I’m so excited.”

“I never wear color. It doesn’t compute for me. I can’t invest in a pink sweater because I have to be able to wear my clothes a lot. I also don’t like to stand out that much. But, for me, a bright wrist is so much fun. It doesn’t compete with anything else.”

“There’s no plan. I trust that things will come about when they come about. We did a pop-up in Colette and that came about naturally—we sold out in the first weekend. That stuff makes me happy. Because it’s a passion project, I want it to be kept fun.”

“We’ve gotten so much support from such great people. It makes me cry. When people say fashion is mean, I don’t get it. It’s just how you work with people. Doing this has opened my heart and I’ve made such great friends in the past year and a half.”

“This is the third time I’m having 15 minutes of fame. Years and years ago, I had my own label of leather and alligator bracelets in all sorts of colors back in the day. And I worked a lot with Marc Jacobs when he was doing the grunge collection, and Stephen Sprouse. I did these stretch bracelets 10 or 12 years [ago] called Color Therapy, which were a hit. I’ve had that before, but it’s always been on a retail level. I loved it, but it was hard. You have to meet deadlines. Now, if we don’t meet a deadline, it’s like, okay, we can launch it next week. I’m less stressed out. I had my own line for close to 15 years; and then started Lee Angel; whatever was called for, we morphed into. I never planned for it.”

“Our packaging is always changing and I think people like that. For me, I get tired of things very quickly. My eye gets tired and I assume other people’s eyes get tired too. We want to surprise and delight people and make them happy.”

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