Dana Rae: Your brand SVNR seemed to be an overnight sensation. Can you share how this all came to be?
Christina: It definitely all came about pretty quickly, especially as I wasn’t planning to launch a brand. Last summer was so rainy and I didn’t have any plans for Memorial Day, so I figured I’d get creative. I took apart some necklaces that I didn’t have use for anymore and created some earrings. One of my friends who works in sales, posted on her instagram and people started DMing me immediately to buy. I created a linesheet and sent to my editorial contacts that week and an editor at Vogue emailed me back me within 5 minutes.
Dana Rae: What were you doing before SVNR?
Christina: While it seems like an overnight success, I’ve been working in fashion PR since 2005 at both agency and in-house with brands. I started my own agency, House Of, four years ago. We help brands gain visibility through press, events, and aligning with influencers.
Dana Rae: How has your knowledge in PR and brand strategy helped you launch SVNR?
Christina: The network and experience I’ve gained over the past decade plus has been crucial to launching a brand- pricing, wholesale, retail, production, not to mention marketing and PR. The majority of starting a brand is, contrary to popular belief, NOT designing, but everything else!- From maintaining the website inventory, to reaching out to buyers and editors, quality control, shipping orders, the unglamorous list goes on.
Dana Rae: Did you always want to be a designer?
Christina: I definitely had dreamed of being a designer when I was a kid. Like so many kids, I loved clothes, magazines, playing dress up, but I *knew* it wasn’t realistic. I even reworked vintage pieces and sold them when I was in college, but I never seriously considered pursuing starting a brand after high school.
Dana Rae: What categories do you see SVNR expanding into?
Christina: We just launched necklaces and anklets this season and last week debuted silk slip dresses.
Dana Rae: Where do you see SVNR in 5 years?
Christina: I’d love to build it out into more of a lifestyle brand, with more rtw and accessories, home decor and beauty someday.
Dana Rae: How do you manage being the founder of two companies and your personal life?
Christina: I am in the office during the day, handling House Of business and in the evening, I’ll work on SVNR. I really try to shut down during the weekend to have some time for myself, but to be honest, I have really sacrificed my social life and working out this past year- something I’m hoping to remedy going forward. When you have your own company, let alone two, you’re kind of always on. I was on vacation last week, but it was just physically being out of the office, not mentally.
Dana Rae: What would you say to someone who wants to launch an accessories brand?
Christina: Everyone has a plan, and that is great. We should always set ourselves up for success, but it is checking in with that mission, and staying the course, that is the hard work every day. When you have your own brand, much like being a mother, I imagine, you never really get time off. It’s constantly on your mind, whether on top or in the back, so that is something you may want to be prepared for. Beyond that, I think just make sure that you’re developing all your brand pillars, or can afford someone else to help you- sales- wholesale and/or retail, PR- editorial and influencer, design and production, social content management. Talk to other designers, build a community.
Dana Rae: Can you complete the following sentence -
My name is Christina and I am ABLE to _________________
Christina: work toward anything I can imagine
Dana Rae: Since it’s ABLE’s birthday month we’re all about celebration and gifting right now. What advice do you have for picking out the perfect SVNR gift?
Christina: Oh there are so many ways to gift SVNR! We work with so many gemstones, that you could choose based on their birthstone, or just a color or stone they wear a lot. As each piece of jewelry is named for a place around the globe, you could also choose an item based on a destination of special significance.
Dana Rae: Lastly, the summer is such a perfect time to pair fun accessories with any look! Do you have any styling tips for someone who wants to have a little fun with their look and dive in SVRN accessories?
Christina: We love to mismatch the earrings. They are all offered as singles, so you can incorporate them into your current roster. I love to pair a stud or droplet with a longer earring and one of our silk slip dresses. It’s really all I wear in the summertime.