If you are currently in New York then lucky you as this Monday and Tuesday sees the wonderfully exciting New Designer Gallery at JA’s Summer Show. A launch pad for some of the industry’s most successful names for the past 30 years, this year Boticca’s very own Nikki Baker has been selected to show her wears.
Full of excitement at this impending delight, Boticca caught up with Nikki to find out exactly what floats her fashion boat.
Hello Nikki. You are currently exhibiting at the New Designer Gallery in New York. Can you tell us a little bit more about this and what it means to you?
The New Designer Gallery is a worldwide design completion in which 10 of the most interesting emerging designers are selected to participate in a special pavilion at the JA Summer tradeshow. We are so honored to be part of the New Designer Gallery. As a young and growing brand it’s exciting to be recognized by such an authority in the industry. We are very excited to have the opportunity to introduce our collection in such a prestigious capacity. I’m especially excited that my parents are coming from California to help me with the booth!
Boticca is similar to the New Designer Gallery in that it’s a really exciting and highly regarded marketplace that identifies and encourages new designers. As a small brand starting out, it’s so important to have opportunities to introduce yourself – and because Boticca is so international, we have the chance to interact with jewelry lovers all over the world.
Out of all of our designers on Boticca, you have come from one of the most interesting and original backgrounds. You have worked as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and a Clinical Psychologist how did the move into jewelry making come about?
Ah - this is a good question! I have learned in life that people can have more than one passion, more than one talent. I feel extremely fortunate that I have had the opportunity to pursue two very different careers both of which I love deeply.
Jewelry design comes from a totally different side of my brain. It’s totally delightful and light-hearted. Psychology is incredibly meaningful and rewarding but also very serious at times.
I was working as a psychologist at University College London. In my spare time, I took a couple of jewelry making classes just for fun - I would stay up all night making jewelry at the dining room table. People on the streets and in stores in London, NY & LA would stop me and ask to buy the jewelry - I had no intention of ever selling it. When this happened enough times and people started placing orders, I decided to start a business and give it a real try. I took metalsmithing and business courses to help learn what I needed to know. My husband is a high-tech entrepreneur (founded StubHub in the USA and Viagogo in Europe) and has been incredibly helpful and supportive in guiding me as we make business decisions and figure out how to create a successful jewelry company. My father is a gifted surgeon and my mother is a psychologist and a talented artist, so it appears I’m lucky enough to have inherited a few of their skills.
You have said that the oceanic and organic forms around you inspire you. Do you think this this is due to the fact you grew up in California?
Most definitely! Growing up in LA, you are constantly surrounded by the natural environment; ocean, sand, green hills and lots of trees. My jewelry has a very California aesthetic- colorful, joyful and lighthearted
You and your husband split your time between London and New York; does each of the cities have an influence on your design style?
Absolutely! The first collection was designed in London with rambling English gardens at the front of my mind. Our first photo shoot was done in my friend’s communal garden in Notting Hill- we literally draped necklaces and bracelets over flowers and trees - we even got a picture with a bumblebee in it! As for New York - NYC permeates your heart & soul. It’s impossible to be in NYC without feeling the heartbeat of the city. The energy in NYC drives a lot of my design. Our new fine jewelry collection (Lusso) is inspired by the elegant, sophisticated and practical women who live and work in NYC.
What advice do you have for people starting their careers in the jewelry industry?
Seek mentorship from successful designers – meet with designers who are willing to sit down and talk with you, willing to give candid advice. Learn from people’s mistakes and successes. When it comes to design, be true to your own vision. At Nikki Baker, we don’t strive to be “on-trend” and we don’t answer to any voice or vision besides our own. We create exactly what we think is beautiful – it’s a lovely bonus when others agree!
How would you describe the Nikki Baker woman in 5 words?
Delicate. Strong. Sophisticated. Joyful. Confident.
To you fashion is?
A way to express yourself visually, a way to introduce yourself to the world and a way to make you feel strong and confident. A way to show your fun or funny side…and of course, cashmere to wear all day long ;-)
To you true style is?
Feeling comfortable with exactly who you are.
To you happiness is?
Long walks in Central Park with my husband. Making jewelry in the middle of the night at my bench. Hanging out with my parents.
What’s next for you?
We are launching a brand new collection next month that will include one-of-a-kind pieces that are truly different from anything we’ve ever seen before!
We are excited to introduce Nikki Baker to our favorite cities all over the world.
We are working on building partnerships with local artisans here in the New York area and expanding our workshop in NYC.
We are looking forward to working with a couple of selected charitable organizations to share our proceeds.
We are looking forward to building a long and successful relationship with Boticca and some of the other fabulous stores that were generous enough to take a chance on us when we first started.