Who ever said that t-shirt and sneaker culture couldn’t accommodate some space for a little female flair once in a while? Enter Three Blondes, the up-and-coming Manhattan-based jewelry line inspired by the bombshells themselves: Summer Rej, Jennifer Meyers and Kristy Rao. Pals since their youth, these resourceful ladies recently collaborated on the ultimate DIY project: handmade jewelry and accessories. They combine craft and fantasy, talent and imagination to produce product sure to attract a crowd of diverse fans.
From their vibrant bracelets trimmed with velvet and lace to their charm-accented necklaces, Three Blondesâ€™ aesthetic runs the gamut. Thereâ€™s a little something for everyone, whether youâ€™re a schoolgirl or a hipster chick. Theyâ€™ve even put together some inspired hair apparel: sequined fall-foliage and floral barrettes and flapper-esque headbands. Format caught up with the enthusiastic trio at their Soho loft one dreary autumn afternoon and is pleased to present this exclusive conversation.
â€œWe like to take risks with our pieces and you can see that in what we named our jewelry line: Three Blondes. Obviously people are going to make fun of us, and thatâ€™s the whole point; weâ€™re comfortable with ourselves and thatâ€™s why we named it that. We think itâ€™s funny and cute and thatâ€™s what we are.â€
Format: What compelled you to begin making jewelry?
Summer: When Jennifer and I were in college, we had a small t-shirt line. Since we went to different schools, we didnâ€™t really have the opportunity to work on it. When we [returned] to New York, [we] thought, why donâ€™t we start a jewelry company? That seemed to be where our interest was.
Jennifer: Like a year and a half ago, [Summer and I] thought, why donâ€™t we bring Kristy in to do this with us? She would be the perfect third blonde â€“ it wasnâ€™t called Three Blondes then; thatâ€™s when we had the idea.
Format: Do you feel growing up in New York City was a big influence?
All three together: Definitely!!!
Jennifer: I feel like, living in New York City, I really can do anything. That sounds silly, but so many people come to the city and achieve such great things; why canâ€™t we do it if weâ€™re passionate about it?
Kristy: We want our jewelry to be sold everywhere so that people can take part in whatever is going on [in New York]. Private school girls here always have fads in style at certain times. We want pieces that can be picked up at any given time as a statement piece, something everyone wants to wear.
Format: What influences and inspires you?
Kristy: We each have our own distinct style. I feel like it helps a lot when weâ€™re designing things because we want to attract a variety of different people. I feel like Summerâ€™s very eclectic, Jenniferâ€™s very girlie, very feminine, and Iâ€™m classic. Weâ€™re all into vintage clothes and jewelry. We all raid our mothersâ€™ closets and find their best pieces.
A lot of [our] jewelry is very bold and bright and showy and that kind of girl power is very prominent in a lot of the pieces that we have right now, which I think are generally for a younger generation.
Jennifer: I kind of see these [colorful bracelets] as the forever corsage; I saved my corsages from the two proms I went to senior year, but I canâ€™t wear them anymore. How cool would it be if I still had one I could put on my wrist? I would love that!
Kristy: Although we all have very different styles, we still really appreciate each otherâ€™s style.
Jennifer: Thatâ€™s what makes us such a good team, â€˜cause weâ€™re not clones of each other; we all have our own taste, and thatâ€™s what makes this stuff fun and approachable for all girls. I think itâ€™s a good mix.
Format: I know you hosted the mad hatter tea party pre-launch; I definitely detect that Alice in Wonderland fantasy themeâ€¦
Jennifer: Fairytale, superhero-esque. Especially the hair accessories; all of our headbands look like something you [wear] and youâ€™re Wonder Woman.
Summer: We have [a headband] that has a lightening bolt on it; thereâ€™s something fun about it, something flirty. Itâ€™s like a little bit of flair. And a lot of [the pieces] are based on vintage things. Thatâ€™s because thatâ€™s how weâ€™ve always dressed. Theyâ€™re things that we like putting on.
Kristy: We like to make a statement with our pieces. Youâ€™re not going to see a lot of toned down pieces. Youâ€™re going to see the pieces that make the outfit. We want to complete whatever youâ€™re wearing.
Summer: The Three Blondes girl can throw on jeans and a sparkly barrette and conquer the world; can be wearing a black dress and [attend] a benefit, but can [wear] the neon pink bracelet and feel totally in place, while everyone else is in subdued black tie attire. She can spice things up a bit.
Jennifer: Like â€œthe icing on the cake.â€ Itâ€™s a joke between us. Itâ€™s what our hair accessories look like. They look kind of like frosting on cake.
Format: And are these all handmade by you?
Format: You hang out and itâ€™s like an assembly line?
Jennifer: Yeah, pretty much.
Format: Do you have any formal design training?
Summer: Iâ€™ve taken classes at the national academy of art for years.
Kristy: Fashion is more of a hobby for me. We like to take risks with our pieces and you can see that in what we named our jewelry line: Three Blondes. Obviously people are going to make fun of us, and thatâ€™s the whole point; weâ€™re comfortable with ourselves and thatâ€™s why we named it that. We think itâ€™s funny and cute and thatâ€™s what we are.
Jennifer: Itâ€™s called Three Blondes but we want it to be where anyone can put something on and be a Three Blondes girl. And feel comfortable wearing this. Itâ€™s supposed to be really fun. Thatâ€™s what it is for us, so thatâ€™s what we hope it is for other people too.
Format: Thatâ€™s good you are dispelling the â€œdumb blondeâ€ myth. Youâ€™re obviously putting out a product, you have talent. Youâ€™re not dumb blondes, youâ€™re smart blondes! When are you planning to launch, officially?
Jennifer: The goal will be February, hovering around fashion week but not fashion week, so the week before or after.
Summer: That would be the most realistic. Weâ€™re really excited because itâ€™s the middle of winter; everythingâ€™s grey. You need a little bit of color, a little bit of flash.
Jennifer: The purpose for the pre-launch was to get feedback from our friends. If our friends like our stuff, then that was validation to us. [Also], to get our name out before our official launch. I think we succeeded at that.
Summer: We had a lot of positive reactions and that was really motivating and helped us see what people responded to most. We didnâ€™t hear one negative comment, which is absolutely phenomenal.
Format: So what about in stores?
Summer: Weâ€™ve been speaking with buyers. I donâ€™t want to name places. Nothingâ€™s set in stone.
Format: Where would you like it to be seen?
Jennifer: The streets of Manhattan, on our friends, on people proud to wear our pieces. The ultimate compliment would be overseas. I think Japan would be a good market for it. Theyâ€™re always on the cutting edge. Weâ€™d like to be in the staple New York stores and in shopping malls, so people in New Jersey could buy our stuff. [Laughs]
Summer: Anyone who likes wearing [our jewelry], we want to have pieces. Because, if you enjoy it, thatâ€™s who our client is.
Format: Whatâ€™s been the biggest challenge?
Jennifer: Itâ€™s hard when everyoneâ€™s busy all day to then find extra time to do this. Before our pre-launch [we were] working all day and all night and all weekend and thereâ€™s no time to go out or do anything. The pre-launch became our life; it was a full time job on top of a full time job. Itâ€™s hard to do.
Format: It sounds like youâ€™re at the helm, at the initial point of something bigger.
Jennifer: Thatâ€™s what it feels like; it feels like weâ€™re on the brink of this being huge and weâ€™re this close to being over our heads. But itâ€™s really fun and exciting.
Summer: Weâ€™ve got nothing but positive expectations for it.