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Lisa Salzer didn't battle an existential crisis after college: After designing and selling necklaces to her friends, Lisa decided to start a jewelry line. It wasn't a completely foreign concept; she grew up spending weekends with her grandmother, Elizabeth Frost, who worked for 40 years in the antique jewelry business. During that time, the sparkles had been working their magic on Lisa. So when school was out forever, she started her company. Ten years later, her line —Lulu Frost— is sold in hundreds of boutiques around the world, and big name stores like Bergdorf's, Neiman's, and J. Crew. We stole a few minutes with Lisa during one of her San Francisco trunk shows last week to chat about how jewelry styles differ between the East and West Coasts, and when she'll finally open a store in SF.
You're based in New York, but you're in San Francisco for your pre-holiday sojourn. As you travel to different cities, do you see differences in customers' tastes or is it a universal market?
We have such different styles in our line, so I think each city gravitates toward different aspects of what we do. I was just in Dallas... and there was a ton of bling love. The vintage crystal was really appreciated… I think the San Fran vibe is a very cool girl, understated style. I think the style is all about being easy and able to transition to many different aspects of life. Our wearable pieces do really well here. Of course, a little bit of bling goes a long way, too. Women are women— we love pretty things. I think there's a certain universality about it, but tastes vary by city for sure.
We're seeing a shift in fashion from maximalism to normcore. How does that impact the jewelry business and your customer?
I think that it's a trend like many trends, but jewelry stands the test of time. I mean, women have been adorning themselves since the beginning of mankind, so I'm not concerned about that. But we also appreciate the minimal look, too. Our line of fine jewelry, Lulu Frost Code, is extremely minimal, but meaningful. A lot of styles from our line are more subtle. When I design, I always try to create the gamut. What you see most from us are the biggest pieces because that's eye-catching in the press, but we have a large section of our line that's a lot more minimal and easy to layer. So Lulu Frost does have the ability to cater to the more minimal or more maximal look, which is so nice.
We hear you're working with the Man Repeller, Leandra Medine. Tell us about that.
She's our fall muse. She's a friend, and such a cool, sweet person, and has taken a liking to Lulu Frost. She curated a selection of our fall product in her "Leandra's Picks" collection, and that's on our website. Also, we're opening a store in our studio in New York. It's a second-floor loft space and it's beautiful, so we'll have her picks also featured in the store, and people can come see what she chose. She also designed a custom Plaza necklace with me, and that will be available for sale.
So you're just opening your New York store. Any plans for a San Francisco store?
Yes. Definitely. And I think we want to have more of a brick and mortar store in New York that's not on the loft level. I'm sure we'll start there in the next couple of years. San Fran would be a fantastic place for us to open up shop, and I'm planning on it.
What else is coming up for Lulu Frost?
We're growing in a lot of different ways. I think we'll be looking to open multiple stores in the next couple of years, as well as expanding our product offering. I'm really excited about this idea I have for a handbag line. I want to do something that's not out there in the market, so it's been difficult to produce it properly. Also home: I think that's a great category for us, and it's natural because we do so much with antique hardware. I just appreciate vintage design, antique design, so it's easy to translate that into other realms with a modern twist. I think that's an area we'll expand to as well.
· Lulu Frost [Official Site]
· Lulu Frost to Open First-Ever Store Inside Flatiron Studio [Racked NY]