Like most small and medium founder-led businesses in the fashion and accessories sector, 2020 was a wild ride, with 2021 not exactly showing signs of a let-up. Having a bumpy year was undoubtedly true for Jennifer Fisher, founder and creative director of her eponymous jewelry brand. Fisher weathered the storm brilliantly thanks to buckling down and returning to her early entrepreneurial hands-on approach and the runaway success of two key but different items – hoops and cooking salts. The pandemic may have slowed but hasn’t dimmed her next growth phase centered around retail store openings.
Beverly Hills Bound
Fisher and I chatted via phone while she was in Los Angeles tending to her newest venture. Days earlier, she had just opened her second retail post centrally located in Beverly Hills. The jewelry designer raised in Montecito and schooled at USC marked a homecoming by choosing Los Angeles. “My family and husband are from here; I’m a California girl at heart,” said the New York-based jeweler, adding, “but it was also the natural next step to open because our brand data shows that the zip code 90210 is our highest shipping zip code.”
The store, located on North Canyon, sits near the popular Wally’s Bar, La Scala restaurant, a Dry Bar outpost, and the wildly popular Edelweiss chocolate store. “I wanted to be where people go to eat, drink, get their hair done. Like that group that goes to lunch and decides to pop in as they are ‘right there.’ It also doesn’t hurt that she will be in closer contact with Hollywood’s elite, including the stylists who procure stars’ looks.
The Los-Angeles-meets New-York interior vibe was conceived by friend and interior designer Michelle Gerson, borrowing aspects of the New York store and adjusting them to the sunny climate. Luckily for the designer, she found a contractor and project manager all in one. Still, the store was delayed about four months opening due to the Covid-19 health restrictions.
“I knew what I wanted, a light and airy space with the similar brick walls from the moody New York store that were white-washed with well-lit bright white cases,” said Fisher. Eric Butterbaugh’s floral arrangements will sit atop a marble coffee table that is part of her CB2 furniture collaboration. The store will carry exclusive items such as the return of the circle charms back from the brands’ early days as well as lock pendants and diamond charms spelling out Los Angeles.
Already Fisher has had visits from fans of the brand asking for an outpost in Orange County, another popular delivery spot for her bold costume jewelry hoops and personalized fine jewelry charms. Fans of the brand have even asked about Miami. She and her husband, CEO Kevin Fisher, are currently honing-in on a space in Soho for a third store and eyeing opportunities in Dallas and Houston, again hot spots for the brand.
Fisher is used to this kind of direct fan feedback as the designer who launched her brand in 2006 still tends to the social media content and answers every DM herself. Her Instagram is highly shoppable – an early adopter to the new method – and her personal touch is priceless.
A few years ago, the brand made a conscious effort to pull back some of its wholesale activity and make a DTC push digitally. They achieved this via robust social media channels and a website, which recently added an online store appointment booking feature to speak to Covid-19 safety measures, which are fully in place at both stores to include temperature checks and maximum capacities according to square feet. Their digital presence was one way the brand was uniquely positioned to weather the pandemic.
As businesses were forced to close except for owners, Fisher buckled down and re-trained herself on the packaging, plating processes, order fulfillment and shipping. “We are a unique brand in that we did almost everything in-house from quality control to warehousing to fulfillment.
“My husband Kevin, the CEO and I were the only ones allowed to go into the office and store, but I was more familiar with the actual jewelry,” she said. It was quiet at first, but then she realized her business, especially the hoops, was picking up, something she largely attributed to Zoom meetings.
“Suddenly orders skyrocketed. With everyone on camera, they realized they could style themselves with cool jewelry pieces while still wearing a sweatshirt,” Fisher, a former stylist, said. “The pandemic has totally changed how we dress. Our clothes are casual but lux, and we carry a great bag with cool sneakers and sunglasses while wearing Pangaia sweats under a great coat.”
Fisher soon found herself making daily FedEx
“I felt like Will Smith in I Am Legend going out to drop off deliveries or meet the jewelers because Manhattan was so empty then.“ She is quick to acknowledge though she couldn’t have done it without her exceptional team.
Up Next: Jewelry In The Home Too
Ambitious retail plans aren’t the only thing cooking for Fisher’s jewelry sales. She recently has recruited an unnamed partner for trunk shows in the home. Post-Covid, of course. Fisher is adamant about her connection to her community and firmly believes her business grew in relation to her personal approach to the brand’s social media. She has already had inquiries. The plan is to take Jennifer Fisher trunks shows hosted in VIP customer’s homes across the country as her next business model. In the meantime, she says Zoom may suffice. “I can co-host and try on the jewelry while our sales teams assist with orders,’ she suggests.
In The Kitchen With Jennifer Fisher
In late 2019, Fisher was tapped to collaborate with CB2, mainly due to her foray into lifestyle thanks to her custom salt blends she had launched in 2017. The collection, which included everything from living room furniture, rugs, décor, and tabletop items, had just been released when the pandemic hit, which in some ways was perfect timing. After all, folks were home more, paying attention to their interiors and cooking, mostly out of necessity but often for a pastime.
Fisher’s love of healthy, non-gluten food was chronicled on a second Instagram account, Jennifer Fisher Kitchen. The account ended up taking off as the cooking craze of the pandemic took off. “Everyone was stuck at home in lockdown, and I went online shared my cooking in the kitchen,” said Fisher, who began linking all of the CB2 products that were in her home. “I would seamlessly integrate my plates, the rug, the chair, canisters, everything that I was using at home in quarantine and the collection blew up!”
CB2 decided to add a small holiday collection to include ornaments, stockings, a menorah and party table linens. This August, CB2 plans to collaborate on a third collection of even more kitchen items to create the Jennifer Fisher home look. She gained a new audience who discovered her via the cooking and food prep feed along the way.
“What’s cool is that it’s changed the Jennifer Fisher brand and given us opportunities to connect with new people; they are reaching us through the food world, ” says Fisher. “It’s a huge market of people with shared food interests. I’m gluten-free, I talk about my health issues, which attracts another demographic as well reaching people that may have never heard of the brand or are more engaged because they know I am a real person.”
A salt purchase often leads to a jewelry purchase. There are possibly even more condiments on the way, such as a hot sauce and salad dressing that pair wonderfully with Fisher’s bold and personal baubles.