Introducing "Poppin' By" a Create & Cultivate profile series in Partnership with Chandon. Every month this year we're profiling a female entrepreneur, popping by their work space and enjoying a bit of bubbly. Here's a cheers to amazing, working women!
For designer Sophie Monet, business is a family affair.
The jewelry maker, who currently designs all pieces out of wood, works out of a former gas station, purchased and remodeled by her sculptor father in the '80s. There is a full woodworking shop. The family dog roams about. And her father's work hangs on the walls.
It was during a break home from college that Sophie asked her dad to teach her the ways of the workshop. Though she spent time in the shop as a kid, it was during her college years that she started to really hone her own skills, sanding and cutting pieces that would soon become recognizable as Sophie Monet pieces. She handcrafts each one, spending quiet mornings in the workshop by the sea-- ocean sunsets only blocks away from the space in Venice, CA. Using wood, stone, and metal, Sophie continues the process she began in 2009, when she crafted her first ring while playing around with her dad's drill press.
Today, her office is upstairs-- a space she also shares with her sister, who runs a recruiting business. Currently, Sophie runs her entire operation, from production to inventory to sales to all photoshoots, out of the space. 'It's really amazing to have our family under one working roof," she says. "We all help each other out." One of her bigger clients is Anthropologie.
After graduating from The New School, Sophie learned the fashion ropes while working at a fashion tech startup in Santa Monica. At the time, she was side hustling on her jewelry line and specifically worked it into her contract that she'd have every other Friday off to fulfill orders. "I think," she says," when we pop by the studio, "it's because my boss was a woman, and really understood the need." That boss, was Erin Falconer, half the duo of Leaf TV and an entrepreneur in her own right. "I was so inspired by her," says Sophie, explaining that Erin and her business partner Geri Hirsch were the first two to convince her to get on Instagram. Erin and Sophie still connect at least once a week.
In 2013 Sophie decided to take the leap, leaving her role at the fashion startup, but taking the know-how learned on the job about fashion and marketing with her. Though she knows it was a risk, she's committed to growing and expanding the Sophie Monet brand.
"If you want it all, you can do it all," says Sophie. We agree.
More from the designer below.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
I get the biggest smile on my face when I see someone wearing a piece of jewelry I made. Knowing they appreciate the art of it and meeting people face-to-face is the best part of what I do.
Do you like/love/hate when people pop by the studio?
I absolutely love it. My studio is always open to creative friends and neighbors. I think it’s really important to take breaks and enjoy the space we work in. Our family art studio is a place we can all get together, talk about our ideas, and share the tools we have.
What your favorite part of your workspace?
We just finished our roof top deck. My dad made a beautiful table for it to watch the beachy sunsets from.
How long did it take you to learn all the machinery and how to use it?
I’m constantly learning. It never stops. I have mastered a few of the tools we have but would love to work more with a lathe.
Who is your biggest influence?
My family. They are my foundation from which I get all my inspiration.
What do you want women to feel when they wear a Sophie Monet piece?
I want women to feel empowered, successful and comfortable when they wear my jewelry. Accessories are meant to stand out and feel special because they add something to your outfit. When I put on a pair of earrings with a simple pair of jeans they instantly make me feel happy and a little more confident.
What has been the most surprising element of entrepreneurship for you?
Having your own business there are surprises and new learning experiences almost every day. Sometimes it’s hard to make time for yourself when you’re juggling a lot of different roles. I’ve learned how hard it is say no when you really really, really want to say yes to everything. Sometimes the most rewarding part is having patience and letting things come slowly.
Be sure to check back next month for the next installment of Poppin' By.
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