When creating my first collection, Monarch my stylist Felicia Very Mota sought out an accessory designer whose work was edgy, bold and beautiful. That designer was Karenna Maraj Owner of Karenna Maraj jewelry store in Belmont, MA. After working together and visiting her store and seeing her studio space I was looking forward to interviewing Karenna and getting her perspective on being an artist and store owner.
When did you first become interested in Jewelry design?
I always loved jewelry, even from a young age; playing dress up with my Nana’s costume jewelry or collecting the latest trend as a teenager. But I wasn’t really interested in jewelry design until I went to college. I fell into it thinking that it sounded interesting and like a path that I could see myself making into a career. Once I started I never stopped!
What is your bigger inspiration?
The washers or circles that I create are really what inspires me. As I begin putting parts together, new ideas and combinations come alive in my head. Most of the time I can’t work fast enough to make the new pieces and I have to draw little pictures so that I don’t forget what’s next.
What’s your favorite type of jewelry to make?
My own line. I have complete control, from design to execution. I can feel free to let imagination run wild.
What metal do you prefer? Why?
I enjoy working in silver. It was the first metal that I learned to work in and I think that it holds a special place. I do, also, really like to work with gold. Gold has some interesting characteristics that gave me a new appreciation for the metal once I started working intimately with it. Gold can be spot soldered and combined with other metals to make different colors and carats of gold.
If you could describe your design aesthetic in 3 words what would they be?
Industrial, Bold, Circular
What motivated you to open a store front?
I have always been interested in opening a shop, from the time that I was in high school. I even wrote a letter to myself my senior year of college and in that letter I said that I hoped that I would own my own shop. The letter was later sent to me, by my teacher, 5 years after graduation. My family has always been very supportive, especially my husband. When it felt right to take my ideas and abilities to the next level, he helped me and made me believe that it was possible.
What’s been the best part of owning a store?
The best part is being able to work independently on a variety of projects. I am very motivated and always up for a challenge; so I am constantly pushing my self to try new things, experiment and make changes.
What’s been the most challenging?
The most challenging part is wearing the many hats of a small business owner. I can be working on a custom wedding ring, helping a customer and changing the store window display, all in the same day. Plus, I have to come up with innovative ways to keep our marketing fresh.
What do you think makes Boston so fashionable?
I think that two things make Boston Fashionable. The weather in Boston plays a large part. Our weather here is so extreme that we have the opportunity to give many different styles a chance. And in that way we never get stuck with only one statement. Also, this city is one of the oldest in the country. We combine classic style and the latest trends like nowhere else.
What’s next for Karenna Maraj the brand?
I’m going to keep working on creating fresh ideas and redesigning favorites. I also plan to have my work in more shops and boutiques.
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