We’re all about following your passions even if it means leaving the comfort of your corporate job. Sure, it’s a risk but the reward is amazing. Such is the case with Shayla Cox, a badass jewelry designer. Given the opportunity to ask her some questions, I jumped at the chance. Her bold pieces are large, have a life of their own and are beautifully ethnic, textured, and vibrant. I think you'll agree it takes a kick ass chick to rock these pieces and I think you'll love them as much as I do.
You come from a fashion and styling background, what prompted you to leave an industry you were well established in for jewelry design?
My feeling for years has been if I am going to work hard for anyone, it’s going to be me. I still love fashion and styling, now I can channel that energy into my own brand.
At what point did designing jewelry go from fun to career?
It is still fun! I officially launched my online shop on 1.1.11 so I will use that as the turning point.
Your pieces are large and bold. What made you decide to design such statement pieces versus the smaller ones you tend to see?
It wasn’t really a calculated decision, I just began to create and the pieces ended up being statement necklaces. Later on, however, I did go back and make smaller pieces to cater to clients with a taste for necklaces that were a bit more discreet. I like the balance of both and layering.
Ceramics is such a unique medium to work with when it comes to jewelry design. How did you come to choose it?
I began assisting at a ceramic studio and making pottery. Because of my background in the fashion industry and styling I always had a soft spot for jewelry and accessories… so I just started making ceramic pieces that I began to experiment with turning into jewels.
Do you glaze and fire all your pieces yourself?
I LOVE fervor…the color, the bronze, the shape and texture of it! Gah…love. Anyway, your pieces are stunning. They are big and bold, yes, but still SO feminine and soft. What is the designing process like for you?
Oh yay! Thanks ☺ That was actually one of the first pieces I made. I always carry around a little sketch pad with me…even keep it by my bed, to ensure that when a concept comes to my mind I draw it out ASAP. However, when it’s time to get into the clay I am always open to whatever comes in the moment. I may start out with a design in mind but I still allow for experimentation.
I heard something about a guerilla fashion show recently. That is so incredibly bad ass! I love it. How did you come up with the idea and how did it go?
Hahaha! It was exhilarating! And a bit nerve wracking too… I wanted to do something bold, and share my work. I knew fashion week was coming up and what better time. I was inspired by Patrick Kelly, an African-American designer who exploded in Paris in the 80s… he would organize guerilla fashion shows there. It just seemed appropriate. I was thinking to do it for a few days, but the show’s stylist, Pamela Shepard, said we should do it everyday of fashion week.
It was quite a lot of work and planning… but the outcome was great in terms of marketing, and getting my work out, especially with very limited funds. There is always a way You can check out Shayla Cox's website for videos of the fashion shows.
Where is your current inspiration coming from?
Life, love, experiences, and tumbler. The current collection has an Aquatic Egyptian feel.
You do custom pieces. How does the creative process differ when working with a client on a specific piece?
It’s such a lovely experience. Clients are always excited to step foot into the studio. It’s a full on behind the scenes experience. Many times they are drawn to a raw piece that has not yet been glazed or turned into actually jewelry. I will then show them options and many times we create it together! Other times a client may love an existing piece but may just want a different color glaze.
What is next for you?
A trunk show is in the works at the moment. We are in the planning stages. Pieces from the line are currently sold at an amazing boutique in Nolita called Warm, as well as on my website, shaylacox.com… the plan is to continue to grow the line and its distribution.
What advice do you have for women out there who are on the tipping point of leaving security for following their dreams?
My mantra is “be lead by love, create your own curriculum, and put much care into choosing company.” When I have to make a decision about whether something is right for me I ask myself, do I love it? Does this step or decision add or subtract from my ‘love goals’? It may not be easy to step away from ‘security’ but if you put equal to more work into something you love… the rewards are much greater. Listen to yourself.
A big thank you to Shayla Cox for taking time out of her busy creative schedule to answer our questions and share her jewelry with our readers.