Founder & Designer of Caviar NOIR Jewelry
What’s the history behind Caviar NOIR – what propelled you to start it (how did you come up with the name) – and how does Caviar Noir reflect your personal aesthetic?
I wanted to create a brand that was both luxuriously sophisticated and edgy at the same time. I utilize pearls and chains in most of my designs. The pearls remind me of caviar. It is elegant, sophisticated, and luxurious. The chains create a dark and edgy affect (“noir”). Designing pieces to create a balance is what makes it so interesting and appealing to look at. My style has always been pretty interesting. I like to play with the preppy look and the rocker bad ass look.
What were fundamental steps you followed before starting your business?
Knowing that there is an interest in your product is necessary. I put feelers out there by posting photos on Facebook and seeing how the public responded to it. I received a lot of positive feedback. This builds confidence..confidence you need to possess in order to continue on. So testing the market and building confidence are fundamental steps before starting your business.
What challenges did you face when building Caviar NOIR from scratch? How did you overcome such challenges?
Not coming from a fashion and art background is very challenging. I wasn’t classically trained in jewelry designing. So I did my research and asked questions. I had no fashion connections, so I immersed myself with creative people. Through them, I met others in the fashion world. I went to networking events. I try to meet as many people as I can.
It’s empowering to see women making moves in the scene like you — how have the women in your life been instrumental in developing your hustle?
I have always been a worker. I’ve held a job ever since I was 16 years old. There was never a time in my life where I wasn’t working. Knowing that you can buy whatever you want is very empowering. I never wanted to depend on my parents because I never wanted to be told what to do. I’ve always been a very independent person. I’m actually not sure where I get it from. Growing up, I was a stubborn little girl who thought she could do anything boys could do (and I still believe it!). I never understood why girls were treated differently. In sports, I was better than most boys so I didn’t appreciate people telling me that girls weren’t allowed to do certain things. I guess I always had to prove to everyone that I was the exception. I think I came out of my mother’s womb as a stubborn, independent girl who wanted to make her mark in this world.
Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?
Staying true to your style is very important. But styles do evolve so making sure you are always reading fashion magazines and blogs is a must. Incorporating your style into the evolving “trends” keeps you ahead of the curve. My style hasn’t really changed. I still wear clothes that I bought from when I was 18 years old. I’m 29 years old now.
How has social media shaped Caviar NOIR? What’s your favorite platform? Why?
Before Caviar NOIR, I knew nothing about social media. I was a very private person. However, knowing that social media is the wave of the future…i adapted. I embraced technology and subscribed to twitter, instagram, facebook, tumblr, pinterest, etc.. I still am not a twitter master. I don’t know if i’ll ever get used to it. But I do love instagram. I’m a very visual person. Yes, we need to bring picture books back to adult books!
How do you keep track of personal & business goals, prioritize projects, and stay creative at the same time – even when you’re exhausted?
Its been a year and I’m kinda sort of getting the hang of balancing everything. Documenting your goals and always referring back to them everyday is very helpful. I still have a hard time prioritizing because I am scatter-brained. My mind is on crack and I always have new ideas. I sometimes have to take a step back, gather my thoughts, edit them, and then take action. I’m very impulsive, but I’m working on thoroughly thinking things through before I react. Maurice [boyfriend] really helps me think things through because he is the polar opposite of me.
What are your must-have tools or apps to run your day-to-day grind? What kind of gadgets would we find on your desk or in your bag?
I carry my SmartLink card, metrocard, business cards, headphones, a pen, cellphone, sunnies, and a mini notepad in my Caviar NOIR tote bag. Always promoting…you never know who you’ll run into on the subway. My Notes App on my iphone comes in handy because, like I said, my mind is on crack and I always have ideas running through my head so I have to quickly jot it down somewhere. You don’t want to know how my jewelry desk looks…organized chaos! My computer desk has sticky notes all over it. I live by sticky notes and I get satisfaction from crossing tasks off on my “to do” list.
In a fast-paced industry where last-minute-anything can happen, what’s your fail-proof, go-to outfit that will last from morning meetings to evening events?
A black chiffon top with black leggings and ballet flats. I can’t last long in heels and I feel most comfortable in black. I always feel elegant, powerful, sexy, and sophisticated in black.
How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?
Mentors are very important. I don’t have a specific, although I wish I did. Meeting other designers and just asking them lots of questions…that has helped me a lot. Reading books and magazine articles of entrepreneurs is also good.
What were Caviar NOIR’s top achievements in 2012? What should we expect from Caviar NOIR this year?
I’ve built my confidence up as a designer. I’ve honed in on my brand’s aesthetic. I have built the foundation for me to carry my brand to the next level. 2012 has been experimental for me. I learn the most from “mistakes.” I don’t really consider them as mistakes because I’m happy I made them and I wouldn’t take it back. This year I want to take my designs to the next level. I’ve been inspired by many designers so I’m happy to produce my next collection to show to the world.
Julie Ann Ramos, founder and designer of Caviar NOIR, established her line in early 2012.
The aesthetic behind this jewelry line can be described as edgy old Hollywood-inspired pieces with a middle eastern flair. All her pieces are handmade in the USA. It is important that each piece is made with the highest quality and attention to detail.
All her pieces are handmade in the USA. It is important that each piece is made with the highest quality and attention to detail.