Shannon Saint Clair has turned her jewelry hobby into a career lifestyle. But Saint Clair has talents that run the gamut: she photographs her own models, designs her own website, and actually customizes jerseys for pro athletes' wives, as examples. Her female exclusive jewelry can be described as unique elegance while her male counterpart is smartly designed and works well with boardroom attire or sporty ensembles. Perhaps this is the reason her collection has been coveted by a virtual Who's Who of celebrities. We asked Shannon Saint Clair to discuss to give background info on her brand and to share her design aesthetic.
Tell us a little bit about the genesis of your company.
From designing jewelry to sewing garments, and even to interior decorating, I was always very passionate about creating art, which stems from childhood when my mother taught me how to sew at age five. During my school years, I painted seashells collected on the beach to make jewelry and sewed material and glued ornaments to create pendants for jean jackets. Voted Most Artistic out of my high school senior class, I graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelors of Arts Degree.
Determined to turn my hobbies into a profession, I opened my first company in 2003 when I designed jerseys for pro athletes' wives to wear at professional football games, when my husband John was a player for the St. Louis Rams. He currently plays for the Cleveland Browns and is in his 11th season. My jersey website is www.LavishCouture.com
In 2007, I opened a Jersey Embellishments Division to her company, where I customize jerseys with custom numbers, gemstones, trims and other alterations. In 2008, I decided to revisit my childhood passion of jewelry design, by officially launching my own couture jewelry collection, using only semi precious gemstones and metals.
Who is your ideal customer and why?
My ideal female customer is a woman who wants unique jewelry that will get her noticed in a crowd, and jewelry that can't be found anywhere else because of its uniqueness. She's looking for the newest trends because she is style conscious, but doesn't want costume jewelry. My ideal male customers are currently pro athletes because beaded bracelets and necklaces are the newest trend. Celebrities like Jay Z, Dwyane Wade, and Labron James have been spotted wearing beads, as well as many other celebs. Athletes are tired of wearing diamonds everyday. They now want jewelry that is more low key, jewelry that won't jeopardize their safety or hurt their wallets. My Sanctity Beads are much more affordable than diamonds and my Black Onyx and Hematite Stones have faceted cuts making them resemble black diamonds. There are many jewelry designers making beaded bracelets out of plastic, ceramic, and wood beads, but only few with genuine stones, and none that I have seen that use genuine faceted stones like I do.
What celebrity would you say exemplifies your style and why?
Of course, Beyonce! She is sophisticated, sexy, classy, yet trendy, and definitely daring, when it comes to her wardrobe. This describes my style when it comes to the way I dress and the way I design jewelry for women. When it comes to designing jewelry for men, I would say my Style Exemplifier would be Dwyane Wade, since he is one of my clients. Dwyane dresses modestly and is debonair.
What was the inspiration for your newest collection?
My newest collection is called Sanctity Beads. I was inspired by the beaded necklaces and bracelets trend that is sweeping through pro sports teams and the music industry. So I thought why not launch a line that caters to men, especially athletes, since my husband is a pro athlete? I have an incredible advantage with already being affiliated with so many of John's teammates and their wives. I'm even doing custom orders for players now, when they want their Sanctity Necklaces and Bracelets to be one-of-a-kind items so no one else will have the same one.
Give us three words that best describe the brand.
Sleek, Edgy, and Exclusive.
How do you remain competitive in this market?
I remain competitive with the market by constantly researching, reading about next years trend predictions, but most importantly, keeping up with what my customers want.
What do you never leave your house without?
My iPhone and sometimes my iPad when my handbag is large enough to carry it. LOL!
What advice did you get that has resonated as being prophetic?
When I was unloading my jewelry from my car for a trunk show during a thunderstorm, the valet asked me how I was doing. Agitated with the flooding and after having discovered that my booth display was located outside, I expressed my discontentment with the shabby setup location. The valet replied, Nothing that you really want to achieve in life is ever going to be easy. You just have to keep pushing. As cheesy as you think that sounded, I decided not to bail out on the event and to wait for the storm to end. I made only one sale that night and it was from the owners of Caruna Spa. This valuable connection paved the way for my jewelry to be featured in my first store. I reflect on that valet's advice weekly for inspiration, especially when I feel like I'm participating in an event that will not end up promoting my company, and seems like a waste of time, because I would never know if I missed out on another valuable networking connection.
Say a little bit about how you approach designing.
I approach designing in 2 ways: First I evaluate current trends by researching the internet and magazines, browsing through stores, and attending fashion shows. After I have gathered my own trend report, then I start designing jewelry to suite my taste and what's trendy, and I design complex pieces that cannot be duplicated by my competitors.
What's next for your brand?
I am working on getting my jewelry into the NY, LA, Chicago, and Atlanta markets. I also want Shannon Saint Clair Jewelry to become prominent throughout the NBA, NFL, and MLB for athletes to purchasing genuine gemstone beaded jewelry. Outside jewelers have been selling to players for years; so why not a player's wife?
Where can the collection be bought and what at what price points?
$60 - $800 - - My collections can be purchased online at www.ShannonSaintClair.com and at the following Florida stores: Caruna Spa in Miami; Geebin Boutique in South Beach (next to Dash); Intrigue Couture in the Galleria Mall in Ft. Lauderdale; and Berlue Boutique in Boca Raton.