Lauren Brokaw, founder of Stella & Bow, is not only a super talented jewelry designer, but also an amazing animal activist! She launched a line called Puppy Luv a few year’s back to support one of her favorite local animal rescues, Love Leo Rescue (I’ve featured them a few times here), and the collection is still going strong, now donating 100% of its proceeds to various local rescue organizations! I’m excited to share some advice from Lauren and, of course, I’m also excited to partner with her on a fun giveaway! Scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter to win one of three Lassie necklaces from Stella & Bow’s Puppy Luv collection!
Tell us a little about Stella & Bow and how you got started.
Stella and Bow was started in my parent’s kitchen; I am not classically trained and didn’t go to gemology school. I had just quit working for a celebrity stylist and was sick of seeing jewelry that was expensive but made poorly. While working for this stylist, I was always fixing pieces that were really expensive and I thought to myself, “I could make better quality jewelry than this!” When I first started Stella and Bow, I knew I wanted to make quality jewels that were still accessible. I wasn’t looking to make cheap jewelry that would turn color! Our line is designed so you could wear one piece on its own or layer them together while building a jewelry collection and our pieces are made to last and be part of your lifetime collection. It was also important to me that the line be fun and current, aligning with the fashion world but with my own spin.
What inspired you to start Puppy Luv? And tell us a little about how the collection works.
Animals are very near to my heart; I have been involved with animal rescue since I was a child and have continued that work over the years, currently as a board member of the Humane Society in the Humane Generation LA. I also have multiple dogs that I rescued who come to work in the Stella and Bow office. For the first year we partnered with local LA rescue, Love Leo, and donated 100% of proceeds from the collection. We were able to get tons of celebrities involved and raised money for dogs in shelters who needed medical care. Now we donate to other reputable LA 501c3 rescues. The @puppyluvla Instagram account is active on a daily basis. I use this to show people that they can adopt any age and breed in the Los Angeles and New York City shelters, or with rescues. I also use this to educate people about dog meat festivals, fur bans, animal abuse laws and regulations, and farm animals.
What’s next for Puppy Luv and Stella and Bow?
In the next few months I will be coming out with a new collection that will be benefiting another one of our favorite rescues. Stella and Bow expanded into fine jewelry with three collections thus far, and the fourth coming out late this spring.
What’s been your biggest brand accomplishment to-date?
My biggest brand accomplishment has been finding a voice and being able to use my platform to help social issues. I love that I’ve been able to incorporate philanthropy into my daily life while also designing jewelry and running a business. I’m so fortunate that Stella and Bow customers have shared my passions and have supported my causes.
What advice do you have for aspiring jewelry designers?
I would say that It’s a hard road but it’s worth it. There are lots of ups and downs and can be quite the rollercoaster ride! Some collections do really well while others may not and you have to learn from your customers and keep moving forward. Also, I always preach that you get what you pay for and time is money because those have been lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way.
What’s one mistake that you made early on that you learned the most from?
Early on, I worked with friends on certain aspects of my business. While this isn’t always a mistake, I think you need to be very careful who you decide to work with and involve in your business. Often times, the quality wasn’t there and delivery times were late, but I felt I couldn’t say much because they were my friends. It’s important to make sure you’re not only doing business with people you trust, but that have the same vision as you and will hold themselves accountable.
If you could have dinner with any women (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
This is so hard! I would have to say given the current political climate, I would love to have dinner with Rachel Maddow. I would also love to have dinner with Chelsea Handler, Gabrielle Chanel, Stella McCartney and Fran Lebowitz.
Win one of three Stella & Bow Puppy Luv Lassie necklaces (pictured above)…