There's so much jewelry out there that it can be hard to find a truly unique piece that sets you apart. You can fall in love with a unique turquoise ring in a boutique one day, just to find out there's an identical ring at H&M the next week. Personally, I don't want my jewelry to look like anyone else's. It's one of the most important aspects of my daily style and I'm always on the lookout for imaginative pieces.
This is why I was so happy to discover Taryn Wittlin's jewelry line, Trixy Starr! I received a special package from Taryn just in time for an early birthday present! She sent me the "On Tour" necklace from her Rainbow Starr collection. This is one of her many letter pieces that I love. She creates necklaces, earrings, and bracelets using plastic letters to spell out words like, "bite me," "create," and "radical." Other pieces incorporate colorful metals, vintage toys, playful cutouts, pompoms, skull beads, and teddy bear pendants.
My favorite thing about her brand is the message she conveys about staying young. Her jewelry is meant to add a carefree and lighthearted attitude to your outfit, regardless of how old you are.
"I realize that not everything is for everyone and I never take it personally. It's more that I just feel sad for them, because they think they're too old to have fun. And to me, age is nothing...we are meant to play, laugh, be silly, enjoy, and have fun forever! There is no such thing as 'too old.'"
My boyfriend actually introduced me to Taryn after meeting her during his summer in LA. I didn't get to meet her in person while I was out there, but we corresponded through email and I could tell right away that her fun and bright designs match her upbeat personality. She gave me an exclusive interview about how she started designing and what goes into each piece she creates.
Jenny: You were born in Canada, when did you move to California and why did you decide on a change?
Taryn: I basically followed my brother out here. We have always been bffs and he moved here to pursue a career in music. I would have followed him wherever he went- and I am SUPER grateful that he chose L.A.!!!
J: How did you get started designing jewelry?
T: I have been passionate about designing jewelry pretty much since I was born! My birthday parties growing up ALWAYS involved making jewelry with my friends in my parents' backyard. My mom & I would go to the local craft store and buy tons of candy-colored beads and string for all my friends to make cute stuff with!
J: Where did you go to college and what was your major?
T: I went to Dalhousie university in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Eastern Canada). It's sooooo beautiful there!!! My major was women's studies. I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I chose something I knew would be interesting.
J: Is jewelry what you have been pursuing as your career since college, or was it an unexpected route?
T: Honestly I always just made stuff for my friends and I to wear, I never really thought about doing it as a career, but when I was in college, a good friend pushed me to try to sell my stuff to a boutique, and so I did, and it worked! They bought my styles on the spot, and sold out within a week. After that I never looked back. I knew this was going to be my life!
J: The style of your jewelry is very unique! Explain the inspiration behind it and how it reflects you and your personal style.
T: Well, I actually started out doing more vintage style jewelry. I used to take apart vintage stuff and re-work it with modern chains and stones, giving it my own personal flair. But as I got older, I started returning to my true heart! I've always LOVED pink and purple, sparkles, hearts, stars, My Little Pony, and anything that had pop colors and 80's flair. I still mix those two aesthetics together in my one of a kind pieces, but I also have styles that aren't one of a kind, which involve more chains and plastic, and less vintage components. I'd say my two biggest inspirations are:
1. My Little Pony!!! The colors, style, and magical energy of these exquisite creatures fuels my creativity.
2. The band PHISH. Their music is epic, and their lighting designer, Kris Kuroda, uses all the colors of the rainbow like a ninja... the lights are beyond my wildest dreams!!!
I was also a rep. for Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers, as well as tokidoki, in my early years living in L.A.-- which definitely added to my affinity for cute pop style! And then I went to Japan with my husband and literally died of joy when we got to Harajuku. The rest is history ;)
J: How is your jewelry made? Do you draw out each design first or create it as you go along? Do you handcraft every piece of jewelry or do you have people helping you? Tell me about what goes into the process from start to finish.
T: I don't usually draw my ideas. I prefer to have raw materials in front of me, and I place them the way they're meant to look. I often feel like it's not even me designing, more like they design themselves, ie. there is some guided energy from beyond doing all the work! I just use my hands to put them together. For my one-of-a-kind pieces, I am the one making them. For the styles that are reproducible, I make the first sample, and then send it off to my incredible production team in Thailand, who handcrafts the rest.
J: Where do you get your materials? Many of your pieces include things like cassette tapes, unique charms, animal motifs, and letters. How do you find these in sufficient supply?
T: I have been collecting vintage toys, cassettes, jewelry, etc. for many years. The one-of-a-kind styles feature these vintage finds. The rest of the components come from the fashion district in downtown LA.... a very radical and FUN place!!!
J: What is the difference between your Trixy Starr and Rainbow Starr collections?
T: Rainbow Starr is the "fast fashion" sister line to Trixy Starr. So basically Rainbow Starr retails for $20 and under, and Trixy Starr is usually $28 and up.
J: How do most people react to your jewelry? What are some negative things people have said and what are some positive things they've said?
T: Usually people comment on how unique and playful my jewelry is. I've heard people say that is has great energy and that the colors are bright and fun! People often think it's a kids line, which it isn't- although I do see it as fun for the whole family!!!! It does get to me, however, when people say it looks like a kids line, and that they could never wear it themselves because it's just too young. I realize that not everything is for everyone and I never take it personally. It's more that I just feel sad for them, because they think they're too old to have fun. And to me, age is nothing... we are meant to play, laugh, be silly, enjoy, and have fun forever! There is no such thing as "too old.”
J: What has been the biggest challenge starting your business and how have you overcome it?
T: The biggest challenge for me has definitely been that I didn't have any startup capital, so I haven't had real money for advertising, which is a key component in building a brand. I've overcome it by continuing to move forward passionately, without fear, and with the knowledge that when there is a will, there is a way!!!!!!!!!!!! I will just keep going until it pops!
J: What do you enjoy doing other than designing jewelry?
T: I love fashion. I love styling, I love putting outfits together, and I LOOOOOOVE music ;) Music is my medicine.
J: Any big future plans for your business, career, or life?
T: I plan on continuing to spread positive love and energy around the planet with these bright, happy styles. I'd love to one day expand into apparel, shoes, bags, and toys. I'd also love to have kids, so I can style them up in tons of cute Trixy & Rainbow Starr gear. And finally, I plan on continuing to see as many Phish shows as I can for the rest of my days in this lifetime, as it such a source of pure love and light-- something this world needs much more of!
Be sure to check out Taryn's jewelry on her website here shoptrixy.com and follow her on Twitter (@TrixyJewels) and Instagram (@trixystarr).
Thank you so much to Taryn Wittlin for giving me the opportunity to feature your creations and to Andy Cahill for taking the pictures in this photoshoot!