Chatting with Jenna Blake
Vintage jewelry is everything Jenna Blake loves. Jenna gives her customers the ultimate personal experience when it comes to jewelry, from educating clients about materials to how they can wear each individual piece. We sat with this collector-of-all-pretty-things to learn more about her creative process and her background in the jewelry industry.
Melissa: What was your inspiration to start your own jewelry line?
Jenna: I’ve been collecting vintage jewelry for years. I was always inspired by what I would see, but I found it to be very unattainable to other people. I wanted to make jewelry that was available for today’s consumer but that had more character and style to it that I seem to only find in vintage pieces.
Melissa: What’s your creative process?
Jenna: It’s totally random. I’ll go through the process with a concept, there will be a fork in the road and it will turn into something else. It will spin out in different variations from the first concept I started with. For instance, I was re-purposing vintage pins for a while and from that concept, I started making necklaces from them. I also had chains for the necklaces that weren’t working out, so I sourced some vintage ones. It is an unpredictable process, but one concept often times leads to something else and that’s the beauty of it.
Melissa: Where do you make everything and how often do you produce new pieces?
Jenna: I make everything locally in LA. I don’t give myself seasons, I just have creative bursts. The changes of the season can inspire me, and sometimes that is how I go about producing new pieces. It doesn’t really happen intentionally, it just evolves organically.
Melissa: How are you managing all of your time?
Jenna: I am very lucky to be able to work from home. I have considered moving into an office space or a studio space, but this keeps me local and close to my kids. At the end of the day I don’t want to compromise the time I’m spending with my kids and my presence that they feel. It’s hard, I’m getting up earlier and multitasking a lot. My kids feel it, they always tell me to stop driving and texting all the time. It’s a balance and a lot to juggle but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I feel so much more excited and stimulated to be actively doing something.
Melissa: Do you have any style icons?
Jenna: I don’t think anyone in the present time inspires me, but definitely icons of the past who I just think have an effortless and intrinsic style that doesn’t seem put together by anyone else.
Melissa: If we were to raid your closet, what would we find the most of?
Jenna: I have a lot of vintage Chanel jackets. In terms of vintage jewelry, I love vintage gold which can be hard to find the perfect piece that speaks to me. I love movement in jewelry and pieces that have strong architectural angles and clear definition.
Melissa: Were you trained in your decorating skills or were you just born that way?
Jenna: I feel that I was born this way. I grew up with women who have great taste and style – my mom and my aunt. Jason and I had a storage unit where we put everything we had collected from the past 10 years. When we moved into our house, the best part was seeing everything we had collected for so long and not knowing where anything would go. We didn’t buy anything with a purpose but to me that is the ultimate process because things land where you just want them to. I bought everything individually because I love them, not because I thought they would work in a certain space. It’s kind of how I produce my jewelry as well; I repurpose old stones because they are just great pieces and then I figure out what I’ll do with them after.
Melissa: What is the direction of your jewelry line?
Jenna: The business was conceived by collecting things. I figured out there was a hole in the jewelry market because people would complement me in what I was wearing but wouldn’t know where to get it themselves. There is the intrinsic value that jewelry has which is the weight of the gold or diamond, but people are willing to pay for so much because it has the stamp of approval of a retail store. To me there’s no value there. It should be about what you like, what you love and what you’re attracted to. My goal is to make things that people like, that are valuable but only priced based on their value not based on what somebody else says it should be worth. I like to give people good quality pieces for reasonable prices. I like teaching my clients about buying jewelry and thinking about it for the long term, not just seasonal. I also don’t think that you need to designate jewelry for certain looks. It shouldn’t be limited to certain styles and looks, you should just buy things that you really love.
Melissa: How can people find you?
Jenna: Instagram is the best way. People DM me all the time and I exchange prices, photos and details. They see daily updates of what I’m doing. My website will launch soon which will be an easier way to transact. I do find that with jewelry, people want to know more about the pieces. Interacting with people directly is a lot more comfortable.
Melissa: Do you think you will sell to stores?
Jenna: I don’t think so. I don’t think it works for me. I like to be able to style people in my jewelry and explain how to wear it. Some people just don’t see it the same way. We will see how it works on a growing level and doing direct sales with people.
Melissa: Do you ever travel anywhere to buy jewelry?
Jenna: Anywhere I travel – I am constantly looking. We travel a lot and we like to explore. My eyes are always open, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be jewelry – it could be like a ceramic or something that I love the color of that could lead to a series of things.
Melissa: Do you love any specific type of jewelry?
Jenna: Necklaces are great because I think you can take a really simple look and a necklace can change the style of it. That could be a phase I’m into right now. People love earrings and I’m always trying to produce earrings. I can take out something I haven’t worn for 4 years and be really excited about it.