Morning lovelies! I’m quite certain today’s Pioneer will banish your Monday blues. You see, the moment I laid eyes on the creations of Emily Maynard, I simply died and went to heaven. Her company, Elva Fields, is named after her great-grandmother (can you say Neo-Traditionalist?) and contains the most delicious, colorful baubles you ever did see. As if things could get any cuter, the company is divided into three collections, the Elva, June, and Deb named after Emily’s great-grandmother, grandmother and mother respectively. The Elva collection is full of one-of-a-kind creations, the June limited editions, and the Deb consists of pieces created entirely of vintage materials (go green!). Before moving to Louiville, Kentucky to found her business, Emily studied at The Bard Graduate Center as well as Manhattan’s Jewelry Art Institute. While her pieces tend to sell out very quickly online, they are also available at stylish boutiques throughout the country so be sure to check and see if you can’t find some in your own backyard. I also suggest adding yourself to her mailing list—when it comes to Elva Fields, a girl ought to be in the know! And now, my sweet readers, I give you Emily…
Five words used to describe yourself.
Interested, focused, thrifty, particular, and passionate. [Above, Emily with her darling little girl, Viva]
What inspires you creatively?
I’m a sponge…I pick up ideas and gain inspiration everywhere. Books, magazines, movies, restaurants, shops, conversations, road trips, blogs, the grocery store…literally everywhere.
Who were/are your design mentors?
My grandmother for her love of color (the more the merrier for her) and my mother for her sense of balance, texture, and scale (although, sometimes I think she’d question her influence.)
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
A fun mix of cheerful, bold, interesting, vintage, and timeless. [Below, Emily as a child with her great-grandmother, Elva Fields]
What propelled you to found your own company?
An entrepreneurial spirit must run through my family’s history–my great-grandfather and grandfather both started businesses when all signs pointed to failure, and they created successful, established companies despite the challenge–one that is still in our family today. I truly feel I’ve found my calling with Elva Fields–it is the perfect combination of all my interests, and my entire family is incredibly supportive.
Most glamourous part of owning your own company?
Definitely the jewelry! It’s really nice to always have something fun and sparkly to wear anytime, anyplace.
Least glamourous part of owning your own company?
Honestly? Everything, but the jewelry. In my experience, owning your own business is anything but glamourous–it’s a combination of mettle-testing decisions, incredibly long hours, tireless dedication, and hard work. Don’t get me wrong–it’s completely worth it at the end of the day–but glamourous it is not.
Best business advice you’ve been given?
“If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” My business advisor, Jerry, passed this along at one of our meetings, and it was the kick in the pants I needed to make the next right step for Elva Fields.
Creative businesswoman you admire?
I read an article recently about Lisa Disbrow, who founded several successful women’s clothing boutiques in North Carolina. In addition to being a multi-business owner in her early 30s, she is a wife and mother of two who has also been diagnosed with MS. Despite this debilitating illness and her countless day-to-day commitments (personally and professionally,) she remains dedicated to her entrepreneurial vision and continues to seek a balance in it all. I am always inspired by women who wear many hats and juggle a very full life–whether they run a business or a household.
What keeps you organized and on task?
My husband, Patrick, and Jerry, my business advisor. They would be a scary force to be reckoned with if they ever met. [Below, pictures of Emily taken last year in her studio while pregnant with little Viva.]
Moment you knew you’d “made it”?
Still waiting on that one…there are always more mountains to climb in life and business.
Describe your typical work day…
Dropping off orders for shipping on my way home from taking my daughter to her sitter, emails and phone calls to start the day back at the office, then a solid afternoon of design and production–one necklace or earring at a time. Each item is photographed, inventoried, tagged, and designated for either one of our retailers or for our website. Another round of emails and phone calls in the late afternoon before packing orders to ship out the next morning. (This sounds a lot less complicated then it always ends up being, somehow.)
Your dream project?
I’d love to design a collection of necklaces for a private client who wanted a new design to wear each week for a different occasion–brunch with the girls, a wedding, a benefit dinner party, a grand gala… At theend of the year, the 52-piece collection (along with the clothing worn with each design) would be displayed at the client’s local museum in an exhibit called “A Year in the Life” and later auctioned off to benefit a local charitable organization.
Not jewelry-related, but still a dream project, I’d love to restore an old house for my family to live in and enjoy…but that would include a studio for Elva Fields, too. Work and life are interwoven for me.
What goals do you have for your business in the future?
Grow, grow, grow. There are lots of exciting plans in the pipeline, so I hope you’ll all stay tuned! [Below, Emily modeling one of her glamorous creations]
Advice to other budding creative entrepreneurs?
Follow your instinct–it’s there for a reason.
Check in tomorrow for Emily’s Plucky Pioneer Cheat Sheet — her top picks for travel, film, fashion and more! Thank you Emily—you’re such an inspiration!