As a child, Rachel Reinhardt made necklaces from her grandmother’s vintage button collection—she was drawn to the colors and loved creating. As an adult, Rachel worked in the fashion jewelry business learning the trade. But a day out with her late mother changed the course of her career.
On a mother-daughter visit to luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, Rachel fell in love with a statement choker necklace. The price tag was a bit too high for Rachel to justify purchasing it. So her mom, an accomplished painter, sculptor and fashion visionary, said that they could make a similar piece. That’s when the pair headed to the bead store and Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry was born soon after.
In addition to her beautiful designs, the longevity of Rachel’s brand is inspiring—she has been in business for over two decades, and more than 250 specialty stores worldwide carry her collection. Learn more about Rachel below.
Artisan Joy: How did you get started as an artist, maker or creative entrepreneur?
Rachel Reinhardt: My business started as a labor of love with my late mother. I have been in business for 25 years and hear her voice in every piece I design. My mother taught me the skill of design, and I now sell to specialty stores and websites all over the world.
AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your handmade jewelry into a business?
RR: When people stopped me in elevators to ask me where I got my necklace, I knew a business was about to be born.
AJ: Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
RR: Everywhere! I observe people and trends. I often get my best color combinations in the produce section of the grocery store. When I look at apples, I see rubies. When I look at cucumbers, I see emeralds. I play around with color combinations all day.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
RR: I had a gig on Home Shopping Network years ago.
AJ: As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?
RR: I don’t strive to be perfect. After all, penicillin was invented by mistake.
AJ: When it comes to running a creative business, what keeps you going through the ups and downs?
RR: Staying true to myself. Not trying to be everything to everyone.
AJ: What advice would you give to someone who wants to put their work out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?
RR: Go for it, and don’t take no for an answer.
AJ: Has someone ever criticized your artwork, the goods you sell or your creative business? How did you handle it?
RR: Yes! We can’t please and appeal to everyone. I don’t take it personally.
AJ: Creatives are often very in tune with what’s happening in the world. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. If this happens to you, how do you cope?
RR: My design world is my sanctuary. If I feel nervous, I design. If I feel overwhelmed, I design. If I feel scared, I design.
AJ: And, of course, we have to ask you this: What brings you joy?RR: My work and family are all I need. And once in a while the main floor at Bergdorf Goodman gives me immense joy!
Editor’s Note: This interview was edited slightly for length and clarity.