Today’s Stripe Talk feature holds a special place in my heart. For years, before I even had a blog, Lisa Salzer was my favorite jewelry designer. I admired her work from afar. Everyone at BaubleBar knew how much I loved the brand, and one day my coworker Shoshanna (our fashion director) introduced me to her friend Alex (who has since become one of my very best friends) who then in turn introduced me to Lisa. This industry is a small and funny one, and I’m so thankful to have gotten to know Lisa better over the past few years… and call her my own friend today. Besides being one of the most talented and inspiring designers I’ve met, Lisa has a heart of gold and is one of the most warm, inviting people you’ll ever meet. Lulu Frost just opened up a new store in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. I attended the launch party a few weeks ago and it was just as beautiful as you’d expect… a must-visit if you are in the city!
Read on for an inspiring and interesting interview!
Grace: Tell me a little bit about how you got your start in the industry. What was your first job?
Lisa: My first job was working for our Director Sandra’s father, Bob Merrill, during middle school at his awesome ski shop called Sno-Haus. I helped to sell ski gear and North Face products and absolutely loved it. I learned how to sell at Sno-Haus and it’s been a skill that’s I’ve been very grateful to have with me as the owner of Lulu Frost.
Grace: And tell me a little bit about your grandmother (for whom you named the line), and your family’s business.
Lisa: My grandmother, Elizabeth Rock Frost, was the manager of a fantastic estate jewelry store for about 40 years, so I learned much from her about antique and vintage gems. She was such an inspiration and instilled a love of vintage in me from the time I was a little girl. It was no surprise to my family when I began making jewelry out of my Dartmouth dorm room in 2004. Those days marked the early beginnings of Lulu Frost.
Grace: As the founder + designer behind Lulu Frost, what is your typical day like?
Lisa: No two days are alike. Sometimes I’m out sourcing vintage pieces from my favorite antique dealers, and other days I’m walking buyers through the newest collections in our showroom. My favorite thing to do is to sit down to work on designs, whether for our core collections or one of our collaborations. I also love conversing with my brilliant team on a variety of topics from pricing the collections to new production locations and methods.
Grace: I’m so excited about your new store in Flatiron. What inspired you to open up a physical storefront?
Lisa: I have long wanted to have a place where people could come to get the full “Lulu Frost” experience. We offer such a unique opportunity at The Lulu Shop to see rare vintage and to customize pieces on the spot – by coming into our world, our customers can learn so much more about the history and passion that is behind every piece we make. I love having people see into our office space as well where they can see what a bustling, innovative and exciting place Lulu Frost is.
Grace: Tell me a little bit about your creative process and how you conceptualize a new collection.
Lisa: As an art history major and lover of all things past, I’m never lacking in sources of inspiration for my work. My collections are inspired by very broad-reaching concepts and often reference pieces I’ve pulled from our vintage archives or historical styles. I may draw on such diverse sources as ancient Greece, mid-century modern jewelry trends, and Navajo stone setting techniques all in one collection. My mother, who acts as our buyer, is also constantly sourcing amazing antiques so we’re never short of new pieces to spark the imagination. Regardless of the season and inspiration, all of my work shares a common thread – I love to mix historical elements with modern ones to create an aesthetic that is uniquely Lulu Frost.
Grace: What are your best-selling pieces right now?
Lisa: Everyone seems to love our newly introduced custom CODE Words fine jewelry. The collection is inspired by Victorian acrostic jewelry and features 18-karat rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets with gemstones that spell out hidden messages. Read from left to right, the first letter of each stone spells out a word, whether a loved one’s name or something else that is meaningful to you (for example, Grace would be Garnet, Ruby, Amethyst, Coral, Emerald).
Grace: Which are your personal favorite pieces?
Aside from CODE fine jewelry (both Words and Numbers) I am so excited about our Resort 2015 collection, which just launched. This line is inspired by the birth of film noir in the 1940s. It was a great time for powerful women, and I chose to name the pieces for those stars of the silver screen – Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner and the like. The line incorporates interesting new materials including carved resin, confetti-lucite gems and grosgrain ribbon layered over buttery-soft leathers.
Grace: Let’s chat fashion… what trends for Fall are you most excited about?
Lisa: I’m excited about plaid for fall – I love Creatures of Comfort and their easy-going buffalo plaid pieces. I also am in love with, as usual, Celine’s brilliant take on slouchy, masculine dressing. I’m very into over-sized trousers and layering men’s coats over more structured feminine layers beneath.
Grace: And who are your favorite designers?
Lisa: Lanvin, Marni, Celine, and vintage odds and ends.
Grace: Let’s talk about beauty… I need to know about your beauty routine and the products you use.
I’m a Clarins and Bobbi Brown devote. Also love my Jo Malone. As for Clarins, I’m devoted to their day cream and use it each and every morning. I love Bobbi Brown’s hydrating face cream for nighttime and her makeup remover – it is powerful and quick but very gentle. As for makeup, I’m a Bobbi girl through and through. I use the Corrector and Concealer for under-eye and her SPF15 Skin Foundation in Sand. My dear friend and Bobbi Brown Pro Makeup artist Cassandra Garcia also taught me the best way to line my eyes using their gel eyeliner and a thin brush. Perfect every time! As for Jo Malone, I love a variety of scents and alternate them depending on my mood. Right now I’m into their newest scent, Wood sage and sea salt. It’s smells really delightful.
Grace: If you were going away for 3 months and could only take 3 beauty products, what would they be?
Lisa: L’oreal Mascara, Clarins day cream and Vaseline.
Grace: Who are your style icons?
Tilda Swinton – she is truly striking and always true to herself. I also think Cate Blanchett is pretty magical.
A huge, huge thank you to Lisa for participating in this series. You can view previous Stripe Talk features here… and if you are visiting New York, be sure to check out The Lulu Shop!