The Secrets to Jewelry Designer Zoë Chicco's Work and Home Balance
Photo courtesy of Kyle Christy
Even if you're not yet familiar with jewelry designer Zoë Chicco by name, you've probably seen her work, dazzling the necks, ears, wrists, and fingers of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron as well as gracing the pages of top fashion magazines like In Style and Vogue. Chicco's eponymous line is filled with pieces that delicate and feminine enough to wear daily with everything from distressed denim to red carpet-worthy gowns (regardless of whether or not you've got A-List name recognition) but with just the right amount of edge.
The Pennsylvania native cultivated her trademark style after studying metalsmithing and adornment design and apprenticing under several established designers, but after giving birth to son Truman, she developed a strong interest in personalized pieces, like initial studs, letter necklaces, and custom charm necklaces — styles that have quickly become best-sellers for other moms and women who want to show their appreciation for their loved ones and share Zöe's penchant for sentiment. Inspired by her success, we wanted to learn the LA-based mama's full story — from her first foray with jewelry to how she balances work and family life — so we chatted her up and got the full scoop.
Photo courtesy of Annie McElwain
It seems like your interest in jewelry began at a young age. Do you remember what sparked it?
My grandmother! She was always so fabulously bedazzled. She wore rings on every finger and piles of bangle bracelets on each wrist. I would go to my grandparent’s house and just sit on the floor in their bedroom going through her jewelry box. I always liked to take things apart and put them back together in new ways, and that is really where it all started.
A slew of stylish celebrities have worn your jewelry. Can you tell us about a particular moment (or two!) where you felt a "made it" moment seeing it on someone — and if so, who was it?
Well the first time was the best. It was probably 12 years ago and Cameron Diaz was on the cover of UsWeekly wearing my necklace in a candid shot. I was so excited because this wasn’t something that was put on her by a stylist (which don’t get me wrong, is great too!), but she had actually bought my necklace at a store which felt so amazing. That always means the most to me, when a celebrity wants to buy my pieces. Not just wear them for a night, or for me to gift it to them, but when they love it so much they want to buy it. I have quite a few celebs now that have several pieces they’ve purchased from me so it feels like I am doing something right.
You live in LA, which is also where your line is based. What's the best part of having your line made so close to home?
I couldn’t do it any other way! We do everything in-house which is pretty unique today. Our showroom, sales, operations and production are all together under one roof in our office in downtown Los Angeles. What started with just me in my closet is now a team of 25+ amazing people. But even though it has grown so much, doing our own production and keeping that kind of control is a core part of my business and our DNA.
Photo courtesy of Zöe Chicco
How has being a mom influenced the type of work you make (if at all)?
We have always done well with personalized pieces, but when my son was born I took that to a whole new level. I really expanded the collection and we now offer so many more styles that can be personalized with names, initials, dates, etc. We even purchased our own laser engraver because that part of the business has grown so much and we wanted to be able to easily customize pieces to our clients’ needs. Most of the pieces I wear daily are personal pieces that either have my son’s name or initial or something to represent him engraved on them. Those are the pieces that mean the most to me.
Any secrets we should know about how to balance a busy career and staying present for your son?
Prioritize! Figure out the things that absolutely have to get done and do them first. Anything else can wait. Before I had Truman, I would usually be at the office until 8pm or later and often worked on the weekends. Now, I am almost always home for dinner, a bath and story time before bed. And I try to keep the weekends reserved for quality family time. I also do my best to put my phone in another room when I am spending time with him so that I am not distracted and can give Tru my undivided attention. It’s always a work in progress and there are times when I am needed more at work, but for the most part I try to keep things as balanced as possible, with our family being my top priority.