Ronit Tarshis, an Emmy Award winning, former producer of Martha Stewart Living, has turned her creativity towards jewelry design and […]
Ronit Tarshis, an Emmy Award winning, former producer of Martha Stewart Living, has turned her creativity towards jewelry design and the world is a more beautiful place because of it. Lera Jewels, an acronym from her children and husband names, is her latest endeavor. How lucky are we that she decided to leave Martha Stewart?! Her pieces: fine gold, oxidized silver, leather, and cotton accented with diamonds and gemstones, seamlessly transition from day to night. Take a look at her stunning pieces and decide for yourself. I was lucky enough to interview Ronit and her responses are below.
Ronit, Thank you so much for giving me some of your time and agreeing to this interview.
1. Do you remember the first piece of jewelry you ever sold?
Of course. I was eating at Fred’s on the 9th floor of Barney’s in NYC with a friend- we were both wearing multiple pieces. When we were paying our bill, two ladies from Tennessee approached us, raving about our jewelry, asking where they could find it. I honestly can’t remember whether they ended up purchasing a piece of not, but their enthusiasm basically launched the business.
2. Where/what was the first retail to carry your line?
Lillian August. They believed in the line from the start and have been incredibly supportive. I think it has been a mutually beneficial relationship.
3. What did you study in college? Did it lead you towards a career in jewelry design?
Ha! I studied Hotel/Restaurant Management. It’s a long story how I got from there to jewelry but the short version is: my food knowledge and experience led me to a career as a television producer for Martha Stewart. I also always had a knack for crafts and grew up knitting, beading, and doing macrame and ceramics among other things because my mom and her four sisters are all voracious artists. I was at a crossroad where I felt I needed to be home more with my three daughters, and after years of devoting my creative energy to others, I was ready to strike out on my own.
4. What do you like most about having your own business?
I work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life but I call the shots and I love what I do. I can take on as much or as little as I want and plan my own schedule. I get to travel to really great places like Anguilla, Hawaii, London, Israel, etc. and take family and friends along whenever I can.
5. What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created and what made it so special?
A black macrame bracelet with a pave diamond ball I made for my friend, Liz, very early on in my business. It was really complicated and took me a long time to get just right. I don’t think anyone has any idea how much time and effort went into that piece but I smile every time I see it on her wrist.
6. What is the single best piece of advice someone gave to you when you were starting out?
My very wise husband, Andy, told me to just forge ahead and not get bogged down by the details. I think that when starting out, people often get intimidated by the legalities like whether or not they need to incorporate, collect sales tax, etc. but he encouraged me to just start making the jewelry and selling it and the rest would sort itself out along the way.
7. What jewelry do you wear every day? Do you switch it up or tend to wear the same pieces?
My beloved freebird choker is always around my neck, it’s my logo and meaningful to me because my father’s name was Dov and since I never had a boy, my youngest daughter’s middle name is Dove, in his memory. And my maiden name is Vogel, which means “bird” in German. Other than the freebird, I tend to wear the same pieces for a few months at a time and switch it up seasonally. With three daughters and a more than full time business, I don’t have much time to fuss when I get dressed. My jewelry is designed to be worn every day and most of it does not even have to be removed for bed, shower, or swim.When I’m getting dressed to go out, I definitely take advantage of the wide array of jewels in my studio and put some special pieces on. My friends and family also swing by regularly to borrow pieces. I love seeing my jewelry on them and it makes me happy it is being put to good use.
8. Do you wear any jewelry by another designer?
Believe it or not, I rarely wore any jewelry before I started designing my own. I love that it is made of real diamonds and gemstones but combined with natural materials such as leather, suede, and cord so that it is effortlessly chic and can be worn day or night. It also has wide appeal to conservative and more funky taste, as well as all ages.
That said, I do wear an 18k rose gold phantom ring from Hoorsenbuhs almost every day. I met the designers this past year in Maui where we were doing simultaneous trunk shows at the Four Seasons for the amazing Seaside Luxe retail stores. I just love the Hoorsenbuhs team and their style and am proud to wear their ring.
9. Tell us one random talent that you have that people might find surprising.
I have a crazy knack for spreadsheets. If I wasn’t a jewelry designer, I would make a great actuary or analyst. It is rare that creative people enjoy math but my mom is an artist and my dad was an engineer, so there you have it.
10. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Thankfully I enjoy my work because as my family will tell you, I’m always working. But I do love tennis- both watching and playing, Texas holdem, hanging out with family & friends, baking, writing, and losing myself in a good book.
Thank you again, Ronit, for sharing insight into your creativity and collection.
Images courtesy of Lera Jewels