Go Inside the Studio of L.A. Jewelry Maven Vanessa Mooney

This homegrown designer keeps her heart across seas but her roots in California

Office Envy // Angelica Bonomo // 01/16/12
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Angelica Bonomo

A piece from Vanessa Mooney is every jewelry stack addict's dream: detailed, colorful, and perfect for layering. The Hollywood native manufactures her extensive collection with a team of 15 in her downtown Los Angeles studio, where we got a peek behind-the-scenes to see what it takes to build the L.A.-bred label. Here, we chat with Vanessa about homegrown business plans, traveling the world and her tips for the perfect manicure.

With so many styles, how do you keep track of them all?
I am constantly designing–there is never an end to the ideas I have! I love what I do so I live and breath it everyday. It is just apart of me so it's easy to keep track of.

Do you ever forget a style, then re-discover it?
Yes! This season I am bringing back a few of my very first designs which I saw again and realized how badass they were. I just had to bring them back this season.

You've traveled all around the world– do you ever inject what you see on the road into your own work?
In this world, people can become so fixated on what they are being pushed to buy. I try to design pieces that feel different and reflect the beauty I see in my travels and the artistry from people all over the world.

Why do you choose to source most of your materials in Los Angeles?
I love the idea that I am bringing work and jobs and business to the United States– it's my country I'm proud of it!

How many people do you have hand making your purchase orders?
In the U.S. I work with about 15 skilled jewelry makers in my studio. All of them are directly trained by me. I am self taught and I wanted to have a group of girls that I got to start from scratch with and build into this great design team which I have now.

How often do your hands cramp from all the detailed work?
HA! Yeah it's definitly hard keeping a manicure looking fresh. But I have to tell you, those new gel nails are fantastic. I work out all my sore muscles by going to this Korean spa in Korea town. I am obsessed with it and go at least once a month.

What is your favorite thing about your studio?
I love the lofted offices and open floor plan, with our tall ceilings and big industrial widows. We put together our meeting area with a mixture of flea market finds, modern metal, marble tables and cool lucite chairs. And that round bookshelf I found to display all our jewels makes me so happy every time I see it.

What's next for Vanessa Mooney?
Bringing the brand to Europe, Australia and Japan. Pushing the envelope with the my designs for fall and enjoying every minute of life.

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