Story by Alex Taylor
When jewelry designer Alexandra Beth was young, she would lay out her ever-growing collection of stones, rocks, beads and other various trinkets and sit among them to see what could manifest from her findings. “I’d play for hours, stringing beads and making patterns.”
Today, this ritual is still one of her favorite pastimes. “My work closet looks like a professional version of my childhood toy closet, with boxes and boxes of stones and agates.”
What may have started out as a childhood project has become something much bigger — by the time she was in high school, Alexandra Beth was traveling to New York for supplies and to sell her designs. Though her dream had briefly shifted to becoming a PR girl in Manhattan after graduating from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, this plan was derailed when she received a phone call from an interview she had just had. She was informed that the position she interviewed for was no longer going to be created.
That was all Alexandra needed to hear in order to go home, pack her bags and move to New York to follow her first love — designing jewelry.
“Within a month’s time, I had opened up shop by renting a case in a designer’s collective in Soho [in downtown Manhattan]. That, along with a self-made website, is how I got started.”
Alexandra Beth Designs has become known for pieces, like the Jill Earrings or the Druzy Stud Earrings, which show her knack for effortlessly combing metals with stones. “The Druzies are chic and fun to wear. They look good on everyone, from brunettes to blondes, and they dress up or down.”
Her pieces have the ability to often transcend into a woman’s daily go-to jewelry, since they reflect that hard-to-come-by look of both style and simplicity. As for Alexandra Beth’s go-tos? “My absolute stand-by pieces are my earrings. Some people put on lipstick to walk out the door, but I put on earrings. With my hair up or down, they add just a pop to whatever I’m wearing, and they make me feel good.”
Though Alexandra Beth has sold her jewelry at landmark stores like Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s in Midtown and as far as Dubai and Japan, she says that her proudest moments have come when she sees a customer who puts on a piece and lights up. “A piece of jewelry can make a person feel good from the inside out, and there is just no comparison when I see I’m able to help someone feel that way.”
Learn a little bit more about Alexandra Beth in our Q and A below:
What inspires you?Alexandra Beth:Inspiration is pretty spontaneous for me, actually. If I am feeling relaxed and not too stressed, I find that my mind is receptive to new ideas. Just walking through the city’s neighborhoods and observing what’s around me can put me in this frame of mind. I like to wander in and out of the garment district and the bead stores, observe the architecture of the buildings and do some people watching. It’s best when I find new materials and patterns and textures, all of which serve to inspire new designs.
Ideal Saturday?AB:My ideal Saturday morning begins with some caffeine and then a class at the gym after which I grab brunch with friends. One of my favorite parts about living in NYC is that I can walk anywhere and everywhere. Wandering through different neighborhoods and exploring new streets is my best kind of Saturday afternoon activity.
Typical day at the office?AB:The only part of my day that is the same every day is the way it starts — with coffee and a green protein smoothie. Then, I catch up on emails, and my day takes off in different directions. Some days are for design and research, some days are for production and execution and most every day involves packaging and shipping pieces. If there’s time left late in the day, I drop in for a Pilates, yoga or Zumba class.
If you could pick another career other than jewelry designer, what would it be?AB:If I could pick another career, I would be a health coach. I’ve done a lot of research into how to eat healthy, and doing so has made a tremendous difference in my energy levels. The positive effects of eating clean and exercising regularly have spilled over into my work day, making me more productive and creative. I would want to pass on to others how fulfilling I’ve found a healthy lifestyle to be.