Interview: Annika from by boe
How does your Scandinavian heritage inform your designs?
There is a certain ‘unfussiness’ about Scandinavia, a pragmatism that I think is part of the foundation for the minimalist aesthetic. Having grown up in Sweden, I think this is just so rooted in me that I can't escape it. Additionally, the closeness to nature in how you live - whether it is a city life and you utilize the parks, or if you live in the country side - growing up I always heard "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." Even if it may not seem design related, I think this mindset influences my work ethic and, in turn, design; if you have an idea, you try to find ways to make it work with the materials you have.
What else inspires your jewellery?
So so many things, but music is a big part of my life, so the artists and music that I'm into often inspire me. Most recently, the British artist Benjamin Clementine (and the eclectic girlfriend I imagined for him) was a big influence on our holiday collection. Other muses include Bianca Jagger, Colette, Francoise Gilot, Florence Welch.
When did you start making jewellery? And when did you decide to make this a business?
I started in jewellery in the year 2000… By the beaches of Venice, California. I was at an in-between point in my life, and it landed me among the eccentric mix of people in Venice Beach making and selling jewellery. I fell in love with it, moved to New York City a year later and opened a studio/shop in Manhattan, and learned more through courses and just spending time working with my hands using all sorts of materials and techniques.
Can you talk us through your design process?
It starts with a feeling, a mood - often influenced by music and women artists in history. I compile mood boards (used to be cut outs, now combined with Pinterest). I sketch or just sit down at my work bench, often at night or a weekend day when the studio is quiet, and just play with materials and mock ups. From there, we edit down and I look at if the design is fit for production or needs refinement.
Why is it important to you to keep the process and production close to home?
Besides the obvious ones, wanting to contribute to our local community and trying to work sustainably, when we keep production local we can oversee the progress and have better quality control. I also just love knowing my vendors by face and name; I appreciate their artisanship, I know a bit about their lives and families - we talk a bit from time to time when I see them at the studio. Many have worked with us for years and I have seen their kids grow up.
What do you love about living in Brooklyn?
I love being in one of the largest cities of the world yet having a neighborhood feel. I love constantly being surrounded by people from all over the world who have come here with different aspirations. Summer is my favourite time of year in Brooklyn, biking around at night, outdoor concerts and heading out to Rockaway to get some beach time.
What’s your favourite piece from the range that’s just landed in store?
The deep vertical pin earrings, these are to me very ‘by boe’ - simple but with small details that make them special, and I love the length that makes them a bit edgy.