Chatting with Emily of EF Collection
Taking inspiration from her background in art history and world travels, Emily Faith created EF Collection to make fine jewelry more approachably priced. EF Collection is designed to be wearable day-to-night, but also elegant and chic. We recently spoke with Emily about her evolution from at-home trunk shows to selling in over 250 stores worldwide.
Melissa: Tell me how you got started as a jewelry designer and what your career path has been like.
Emily: I went to school at USC and studied art history. I totally thought that would be my direction. I worked at Bonhams and Butterfields and quickly learned that the auction house was not my thing. I needed a little more fashion, a little more fast-paced. So, I worked for Cynthia Vincent in Women’s Contemporary as an intern. Unfortunately, it was right when the economy was about to tank, they were letting go of people and I was lowest on the totem pole. So, I lost my first job and thought my life was over. Little did I know it was the best thing that ever happened. I was at a dinner party and someone said, ‘why don’t you curate your own collection of accessories and sell them out of your house?’ I started selling Vita Fede, Natalie B and it was an eclectic curated assortment. I noticed there was a void in the market for approachably priced fine jewelry and I wanted to change the way women approach fine jewelry. In jewelry, it’s hard to make your mark and stand out, but I felt I hit a good price point, it was thoughtfully designed, and people felt good buying it. I went to get my hair done one day over the holidays and my hair stylist asked, ‘why don’t you come in and sell your jewelry over the holidays?’ I was there four years and that was how I built my clientele because I would do every charity event, private school show, sell out of my trunk—anywhere! And people would come see me at the salon.
Melissa: What salon is it?
Emily: Syndicate is the salon name. But then, I linked up with my friend who had a fashion jewelry showroom. She was like, “I don’t think I can sell the fine jewelry because I don’t know much about it, but can I buy a few pieces, because I really like it?”. Later, someone bought the collection off of her neck! It was kinda of a snowball effect after that and now we are in over 250 store worldwide and it’s really exciting to see.
Melissa: How would you describe the EF woman?
Emily: The EF woman is on-the-go, confident, and definitely stylish. I design jewelry with her in mind so that means the line is easy to wear day-to-night and it’s meant to be worn everyday, not left in a jewelry box and saved. Obviously, we have statement pieces too but for the most part the pieces are meant to be layered and integrated into her day-to-day life— wake up, workout, work, dinner, sleep—wearing it should be easy and make her happy. But if she’s a bit more edgy or super classic, we have pieces that reflect that as well.
Melissa: Do you design with anyone in mind?
Emily: When I first started, I totally designed just what I liked. But now there’s more pressure. We need to make sure certain stores have certain price points and they get what’s working for them. I’m definitely inspired by the women around me, certain stores and clients, and the way they stack it. It’s really exciting. Also, the exposure Instagram brings us, and the way clients put it together.
Melissa: Walk us through how you would layer necklaces or bracelets. Do you have any tips for people? Is there any method to the madness?
Emily: I do like to mix metals. A lot of people only wear gold or rose gold, but I like to mix. But on the neck, I’ll keep it all rose gold (for example). Ears: rose gold. Bracelets and rings are a little different. I feel like you can have a little bit more fun there.
Melissa: Talk me through your collaboration with Soul Cycle. How did that come up?
Emily: I’m obsessed with spinning! Now, with my schedule getting so crazy, I’m not there as much, but I was obsessed. Everything with Soul Cycle is like a cult. They’re all so passionate. I had this idea that I was going to make a spin soul wheel with all these different color cords, and it was adjustable for men or women. I pitched it to them, and I guess it just wasn’t the right time because I couldn’t get it in the right hands. The son of a client of mine from New York dated a girl who was the buyer. I was in New York, so she said, ‘why don’t you come by the studio,’ so very organically, we put something together. I did an exclusive yellow enamel and it did really well. Soul Cycle is all about a lifestyle and I feel my stuff is so wearable. It’s meant to be worn sweat-to-sleep. Obviously, we recommend—with rings and stuff like that—to take it off when working out. But with necklaces and bracelets you can totally wear them when working out.
Melissa: What are your particulars that you wear every day?
Emily: Well now, my engagement ring! My ring is really special because it has me and my fiancé’s initials on it. I love personalization and it’s really such a popular trend, everyone wants something they can engrave or make their own. I’m usually always wearing huggie earrings and I just got a fourth piercing too so I think I’ll be stacking earrings all summer long!
Melissa: If we were to raid your closet, what would be one item you have the most of?
Emily: I love handbags and shoes, I’m a total accessories girl. I really invest in my accessories because I feel like they can truly define a look and make everything else you’re wearing elevated. Like, I’m all about a Zara top but I’ll splurge on an expensive handbag. It’s really about the high low and that way, when I go out, I feel instantly pulled together. You can’t go wrong with a classic, luxury accessory.
Melissa: What has been your biggest ‘pinch-me’ moment in your career?
Emily: At first, it was seeing the celebrities. It was like “this is crazy!” But now, it’s the women that are far away. Like in Italy we’re getting inquiries, for example. It’s not just my friends anymore. It’s so much bigger than that. It’s exciting to see the growth and to see the people we’ve reached. That was my goal—to bring great, approach-ably priced jewelry to as many people as I can.