- Sophie Monet in the woodshop.
- View of Monet’s office in the loft.
- The designer’s latest collection, Aloha LA.
- Popular wood bracelets alongside her best selling “Cali Babe” necklace which is made to resemble a shark tooth.
- Monet is wearing The Catamaran Necklace.
- Office decor.
- Gems and wood for the assembling process.
- Buyers love this double finger ring.
- The designer keeps an inspiration board in the corner of her office.
- Monet hard at work in the wood shop.
- She starts with these blank forms and adds stones or embellishments later.
- Rocky, the family dog, is “the man of the house."
Venice Beach based jewelry designer, Sophie Monet, grew up around art in her family's home in Santa Monica. Her father, a sculptor, exposed she and her sister to the creative world at an early age. "We grew up looking at art," Monet explained. "He always encouraged my sister and I to be creative." After graduating high school, she headed to New York City's New School where she studied art and art history, including a sculpting class, while holding covetable internships at Nylon Magazine and Alexander Wang.
Monet moved back to LA after college and quickly realized she wanted to start her own business. While doing marketing and fashion content for a start-up internet company, the designer would spend her spare time working on her jewelry in her father's woodshop, perfecting her craft. It was not long before stores like Fred Segal were showing interest and the designer decided to give it a go as a full-time job.
Sophie Monet Jewelry, which sees a new collection every 6-12 months, is greatly influenced by the designer's beachside roots. "I think it is for an outdoorsy person who can wear it all day with a t-shirt and jeans or a dress," she tells us of her customer. Perhaps the most identifying quality of her pieces is the exotic woods she works with, adding gems and embellishments to balance out a bolder piece. "Sometimes when I make something that doesn't work, it turns into something that does work," the designer explained. "That's a good day."
We visited the born-and-raised SoCal designer at the studio she grew up visiting (her dad has been there since the 80's), the spot she moved her business into two years ago. Designed by architect Steven Ehrlich and right in the heart of Venice Beach, the three-story space features Monet's loft office, a massive woodshop and outdoor patio complete with the perfect beach cruiser. While we were there, we learned how growing up so close to the ocean has inspired her line and what Abbot Kinney spots the local swears by.
When you decided to design full-time, what led you to share this space with your dad?
"It happened naturally. I loved coming here. I liked working with my dad, learning more and practicing. I knew that I could use wood because he had so much of it."
What has been the best part of that decision?
"I think having my door always open to more creative minds coming in here. I love Venice because there are so many creatives here that are so diverse from filmmakers, directors or models. Seeing other people succeed inspires me to keep going."
Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
"The most recent collection is called Aloha LA and this summer it really stemmed from being at the beach and sailing. If I wasn't sailing to Malibu every weekend I was driving in my friend's VW van to Paradise Cove and Little Dume, making campfires on the beach and camping. Just being in the raw space of the beach and seeing nature come to life. Escaping the hustle and bustle of LA but still being close, you don't have to go far to feel free."
Describe your design process.
"It happens very naturally. I'll be in the woodshop and I'll develop new pieces by experimenting with shapes then setting it aside and revisiting it again later. Just evolving the shape over time. A lot of the time, I'll find a scrap piece on the floor that I never saw before and I'll pick it up and look at it from a different angle then put a stone on it. It might turn into a ring, or a bracelet or a pendant."
How has the line evolved?
"I try to incorporate different elements every time I create a new collection. For the previous collection, called the Brasserie Collection, I used a lot of brass embellishments, metals and golds. This time I'm using more colors that I think represent the beach and nature. Coral and a lot of dark blues, then using shapes that resemble things that I would see in nature, in the ocean, in sailing."
What are some of your favorite spots in the area?
"A Braveheart at Tasting Kitchen to kick a good hangover, it's the best drink on Abbot Kinney. I think I have about five pairs of sunglasses from Garrett Leight on Abbot Kinney, it's the best sunglass shop in LA, I'm addicted. The candles at Le Labo on Abbot Kinney, specifically Santal is amazing. It smells like the earth."
· Sophie Monet Jewelry [Official Site]
· Hanging Out With Drew Bernstein at The Original Cult HQ [Racked]
· A Day Trip to SAbel designer Serena Abel's Silver Lake Studio [Racked]
· Rich & Skinny Designers on Details, Denim and Teamwork [Racked]