Hi Anna! Tell us a little bit about yourself and Bing Bang.
I live in Manhattan but I actually started doing Bing Bang in Brooklyn when I moved here 12 years ago. I had been making jewelry for a little while in San Francisco where I went to art school to study sculpture. By the time I got to Brooklyn I had a pretty keen idea of what I wanted to do and I was starting on the path of doing Bing Bang. I've been doing it ever since!
You've had a really clear vision of who the Bing Bang girl is from the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about her?
I feel like it's a very specific muse that I have in mind. There's this vision I have of this girl that's just the right amount of tough and sweet. She doesn't have to be overcooked; she doesn't overthink it. She just knows who she is and the sweet and the salty kind of balances out.
How has the brand evolved over the years?
It has definitely changed since the beginning because I was much more of an artist when I started and I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't go to fashion school; I didn't have any fashion experience. My beginnings were a very artistic take on an entrepreneurial adventure. In the beginning, I was making everything by hand, and then little by little I added staff and figured out how to go from making a couple of something to having a bigger brand. I have a little tiny staff in New York and we still hand finish everything in our studio. You have to change things, but I never wanted to sacrifice what I thought was integral to the brand, or the quality. Over the years we've shifted how we do things, but I always try to keep it close to the heart.
"There's this vision I have of this girl that's just the right amount of tough and sweet."
"There are things that are iconic that I feel every human gravitates towards. They're really simple symbol systems that you just love."
What's your design process like? How do you turn an idea into a finished piece of jewelry?
It varies from piece to piece, but since my background is in sculpture I do still make a lot of the original prototypes by hand. I like to see things in metal—it doesn't always translate from a drawing. There are certain icons that we always work from: Hearts and skulls, and the other stuff kind of varies, like an anchor, an arrow, a feather. There are things that are iconic that I feel every human gravitates towards. They're really simple symbol systems that you just love, I mean you use emojis all day long!
Do you tend to make things that you like to wear yourself?
I do. I make a lot of things that I'll wear myself, but I also make a lot of things that I would never wear, although I know the girl that would wear it. That's one of the benefits of having amazing, talented friends around you that are awesome and have good style! Also, jewelry is so talismanic that it looks so different when different people put it on. I love to wear pinky rings and I love to mix metals. I love the way they look together. It goes with my tattoos too!
Do you remember the first piece of jewelry you ever made?
I wear the two-finger ring all the time; it was one of the first things that I ever made. I was making a sculpture and needed to take a break, and I just sat down and thought about these really cool Byzantine rings I had seen at the British Museum. I thought of it like it was a tiny table and built one in my studio, and I have pretty much been wearing it everyday since then, for 13 or 14 years.
You've lived and worked on both coasts. What it is about New York that you love so much?
I grew up in New Mexico where life is a lot slower than everywhere else—almost primordial. So when I moved to California I thought it was so cool, and then after eight years I thought it was so boring. I wanted to go somewhere where everyone was really motivated and really killing it. When I moved to New York it was mostly because I was seeing people slaying it in all these different arenas, from people I knew doing graffiti to incredible renowned artists and designers, makeup artists, photographers, gallerists. I felt like [it was] the better place for me at the time to start and operate the business. "There's an inherent energy in New York City that it's famous for. It makes you want to get up and do a million things all day and stay up all night." After being here for 12 years, now I think about going back to somewhere a little slower again.
What can you tell us about Bing Bang's new collection with Urban Outfitters?
I started selling Bing Bang at Urban Outfitters a few years ago―there was just this perfect moment for us to work together. Collaborating is all about sitting down and figuring out how we can do something better if we do it together. I think the same people that wear and own Bing Bang will appreciate what we're doing with the UO collab and vice versa. They just fit together. The pieces we did in this collection are necklaces and rings. There are really cute charms and mini rings that you can stack, lots of little cute layering pieces, lots of personal jewelry. I love all the rose gold and pink.
"There's an inherent energy in New York City that it's famous for. It makes you want to get up and do a million things all day and stay up all night."