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Antiquated Art - Little Purple Cow

by Sofroina Timmons
Nicole Joy Liebman, founder of Little Purple Cow has a beautiful selection and an exquisite taste when it comes to selecting intricate, ornate pieces to create modern-contemporary one-of-a-kind heirlooms.

Nicole studied art and design in college and then went on to travel to Italy to study painting and Italian Fashion Design. Soon after, she decided to pursue a law degree with three other friends (and because her family thought she wouldn't go through with it) and landed a job in a high-profile law firm and had the chance to face then, United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Nicole decided to return to her roots after stumbling across ornate silverware in her family's basement. Soon after she partnered with her father, Ray Liebman, a veteran in sales and marketing for global silverware companies and the rest is history...

Give us some background information on Little Purple Cow.
Ray: The Company had its roots one afternoon in the fall of 2008. There we were, reminiscing about days of old, and Nicole came upstairs from the basement with some sterling silverware pieces and an old spoon ring that I had given her years ago. She thought out loud that the patterns were so beautiful on the silverware, why couldn't we bring spoon rings back but in a new way.
Nicole: One thing led to another and we moved from spoon rings, to the spoon let bracelet that I designed. The concept organically expanded into us reinventing nostalgic objects in new, shiny sterling silver. The designs have continued to flow from different antique pieces that come alive in a sort of new, revival mode.

What was the inspiration for your newest collection?
Ray: Nicole is inspired by unique concepts and has an amazing design savvy. She finds inspiration in places most people wouldn't necessarily look.
Nicole: The Printing Press Collection for example came about at an outdoor market in the Berkshires. I came across this amazing antique Royal Typewriter. Something about looking at the insides of it made me think it could be turned into such great statement necklace.
Ray: This kind of upcylcing -- taking the old and making it new again -- gives our collections a pedigree. Each piece is derived from something that evokes an historical time that has some individual meaning to the wearer. A story is created that starts to gives life to each piece transforming it from something trendy into something timeless.

How do you remain competitive in this market?
Nicole: I think by staying fresh. Keeping up with times and offering pieces that are not only unique, but have a value. We're always coming up with new designs and ways to modify or add to our collections.
Ray: We hope to build on the reputation and the satisfaction of our new and old customers. We have other things in the works as well that we haven't even introduced yet that will strengthen the brand. From a business standpoint, I think our prices are value oriented based on the amount and cost of silver we use. You can really see and feel the quality, and that allows the brand to take on a mind of its own.

What era in fashion does your collection most resemble?
Nicole: There's a blend of Victorian and Rococo periods, especially with the Silverware Collections, that's combined with the really minimalist early 90's design. You get this kind of contradiction of old world glamour and modern style.
Ray: I think the marriage of all these competing elements adds a real depth to the collections.

What celebrity would you say exemplifies Little Purple Cow style and why?
Nicole: I could see Leighton Meister wearing some of our bigger statement pieces -- she has such an eclectic style, she would totally find a way to blend the antique-feel of our pieces with something like a crazy modern asymmetrical dress.
Ray: Helen Mirren is also such goddess that her style has transcended decades. I could see her embodying the nostalgic, timeless feeling our pieces create.

What's next for Little Purple Cow?
Ray: What's next? Nicole is never short of ideas.
Nicole: We've been working on the men's line, B3 (short for Big Blue Bull) which we hope to launch this spring. The men's line will build on the same concept of remodeling old objects and includes some fantastic bracelets in leather and silver, as well as cufflinks and some other unique pieces. We are also putting the finishing touches on a brand new collection for fall 2011 that will be a lot bolder that what we've done so far -- incorporating stones and mixed metals. There are other ideas as well that expand beyond jewelry.
Ray: As I said, this venture was always about branding. Right now, we're sticking with jewelry, though who knows where the future will take us.

Do you agree that the economic times call for minimalist designs?
Ray: It is not the times that are dictating the designs. Rather the times are dictating more what metals should be used and the perceptions of value.
Nicole: We were tempted to reproduce some of our collections in 14 carat gold, but when we started in the height of the recession people were shying away from luxurious things. Gold just seemed wrong then. We're currently using Solid 925 Sterling Silver, which has actually increased in value significantly since the time we started. Our new collections will start to incorporate gold and other materials as accents to add some interesting design elements.

Where can Little Purple Cow be purchased where and at what price points?
Little Purple Cow jewelry is currently sold in specialty boutiques and on online at www.littlepurplecow.com with prices ranging from $45- $320.

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