HOW ANNA SHEFFIELD IS BUILDING A NONTRADITIONAL JEWELRY EMPIRE W -DesignBump

What do you think is the best part of your job?

I mean, the ability to sit down and design is such an immense luxury. It’s so rare for me to just sit down and work out ideas, or look at unique gemstones we have on hand that I’m like, “I’ve been meaning to draw a ring that would go with that diamond.” It’s just so rare, so I feel like that is the cream. 

The more the company has grown and the more my responsibilities grow, it’s really fun for me to consider the marketing aspect, and tying that into what we can do in the store — talking to friends that I’m dying to collaborate with — and how we can put those into action. To be able to think holistically and tie all these incredible things together, that is the dream. I can’t believe it’s what I get to do. I wish I didn’t email quite as much so I could do that a little bit more, but at the end of the day, that’s what I do. It’s a wonderful luxury.

What’s the worst part?

Email would classify. It’s similar to social media, where Instagram can show you a window into the world, but it can also be the most ridiculous time suck. Email’s one of those things, too, in our office we’re all sitting at our desk like, I’m 17 emails deep in this conversation. We should have just turned around and started talking about it. Let’s talk this out. Delete. And it’s like my inbox goes from 100,046 to 100,030. I’m making progress!

You recently launched your Flying Flowers collection, which I understand is quite a milestone for the brand. How did that range come about?

It’s really the most fine cheap pandora charms that I’ve ever made; it’s the finest on the scale. I love some little diamond earrings; that’s how I shop. If I didn’t make jewelry, I don’t know if I’d go out and buy a giant fancy earring, but maybe I would if I was compelled. 

That’s been cool because I really pushed it to the next level. That stuff is all brand-new and we’re releasing little editions of it. It’s been fun because I put all kinds of new gemstones in it that I’d never worked with before, trying to emulate these weird color palettes. It’s very heavy on the reclaimed melee. It’s all reclaimed, so they’re all different sizes. My setters are like, “You’re so annoying. Why does it have to be a .08 next to a .09?”

What’s your ultimate career goal?

This might sound emboldened, but the ultimate goal for me is to find ways in what we do as a company, and what I do as a person, to really make change in the world. I’m trying to do that on a scale that’s measurable so I feel like it’s a little bit more attainable. In the long run, I would like to see it become a bigger part of what I do on the daily, and to have it making change and effecting change in the world.

I’m sort of a dork when I want to design something; I read every single thing about it. When I was working on Flying Flowers collection, I was just freaking out, reading all this information about how people view butterflies and how we started to recognize their process of evolution from a grub to a caterpillar to a beautiful flying flower. In studying all of that stuff, I was like, God, this is — pardon my French — it’s fucked the way that we’ve treated this planet. You start to look at these beautiful, incredible things that have evolved in this magnificent way, and then you’re just like, “The numbers are down 90 percent.” How is that possible? Not in my world will there be no butterflies! Not in my world will there be no bees! Enough! That happens inside me, and I’m like, “How can I do something, a little tiny something, to change this?”

To make a long story long, that’s what I want to be doing. “She helped save the butterflies!” You know? It’s not like I want to have a sign on my door that says, “She’s a good person,” but at the end of my life, I want it to be like I didn’t just make a bunch of stuff. I made a bunch of meaningful stuff that brought beauty and happiness to people, but I also took that incredible position of privilege and did something really good with it, and acted from the heart. At the end of the day, that’s what I really want to do more of.

You have customers who will buy an engagement ring from you via Instagram DM. What kind of role does that platform play in your business?

Oh, it’s incredible. It’s such an incredible mode of communication because people can really get in touch with us there, and they can share their stories with us. There’s so many times when he comes in and buys the engagement ring and we haven’t met her yet, and when I meet her she’s like, “Oh my God! He bought me the Anna Sheffield ring that I’ve been wanting for so long!”

To get those stories directly is just unfathomably beautiful and fulfilling. Also in terms of showing things that we’re doing and story-telling about the brand and what it means to us, it’s great to be able to share that information so candidly, so quickly and so directly with people that are interested in it.

When I’m with a vendor or I’m having a meeting with my team, and I’m like, “Look how cool this amazing marquise shape is,” I can show that on Insta Stories and somebody can say, “Me, me, me! I want the one at the top! I’ve been waiting for you guys to have a black diamond that size. I want that one! Make that for me.” That’s really cool, too, because how else would we do that with people who aren’t able to come into the store? And even if they are able to come into the store, they don’t always know what we have in stock or what interesting stones I’ve found lately.

How has social media changed how you approach your job?

My job is like the many-hats job. I guess everybody in a small company wears many hats, but particularly because my name’s on the door. Social media is an important part of it because that’s where I can make sure that the ideas are being conveyed, and it’s wonderful to be able to plan that out in advance. There’s also this amazing capacity to react in the moment, when something political is happening or when there’s something that we believe in that we can share.

I think that’s a powerful thing, particularly lately — to be able to make people aware that you’re on the same page as them. To be able to say that we believe in this, we stand behind this, that kind of stuff is amazing and powerful. Particularly with jewelry people are going to wear every day for the rest of their lives, for them to be able to give you a little arm-up emoji being like, “Hell yeah, me too.” It’s so, so, so fulfilling and radical and wild, and totally of this era, like no other time in history. It’s a wonderful challenge, and it’s also an incredible asset to the voice of the brand, and to me personally.

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