Meet Vixely’s Girl Crush, Erica Sara of Erica Sara Designs, based in NYC. What began as a hobby and passion making jewelry transformed into a successful and fulfilling business with Erica at the helm. Erica first started making jewelry as a way to relieve stress with beautiful designs inspired by the celebration of her own achievements and the milestones and interests of her friends. Her collection of gold and silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and charms come in numerous, stunning custom designs for the many types of women, including friends, mothers, brides and yogis, and include monogrammed designs, gemstones, mantras as well as symbols in a variety languages. Her designs are truly a reflection of her connection to her loyal buyers and fans and her desire to make women feel empowered, which motivates Erica every day.
Read on to learn more about Erica, her inspirations and best advice, and why she finds confidence so sexy. (Plus, shop Erica Sara Designs with a special VIX DEAL—see details below!)
Vixely (V): What is your name and the name of your company?
Erica Sara (ES): My name is Erica Sara and I am the brains and talent behind Erica Sara Designs. I create feminine jewelry for fierce women and love every second of it!
V: What is your hometown, college and age? Where do you live now?
ES: Raised in Long Island, NY and Boca Raton, FL, I moved back to NY the moment I graduated from the University of Florida. I am 34 years old and currently live in NYC.
V: What made you decide to pursue this path and start your own company?
ES: Several years ago, I was going to graduate school full time and working full time. Making jewelry was a way for me to relieve stress. Soon enough, friends were buying pieces and were asking me to host trunk shows, and I realized that jewelry making was a life-long hobby and passion I could actually turn into a business. Around the same time, I also began running to clear my head. At a time in my life when many of my friends were having babies, I began training for half marathons. They posted pictures of their babies on Facebook; I posted pictures from my races. I loved the necklaces my friends wore with the names or initials of their children and since, at the time, my races were my babies, I thought I deserved similar jewelry to represent my achievements. So, based on the success I was having selling my jewelry to friends, I started Erica Sara Designs and evolved my designs to create jewelry for women just like me, who wanted to celebrate themselves and their achievements. My collection has now grown to include jewelry for mothers, yoga inspired designs, other languages such as hebrew, monograms, and so much more.
V: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a female entrepreneur?
ES: Definitely connecting with my amazing customers! Through social media, I’ve been able to “speak” with many of them and I know their stories, their goals and their struggles. They are all amazing women and I am so honored that they trust me to create jewelry to celebrate themselves. For that I am truly grateful, and if I inspire them to go after their dreams even half as much as they motivate me to keep working on mine, it would have to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of what I do.
V: Who are your inspirations?
ES: I’m lucky to be surrounded by inspiration on a daily basis. All of my grandparents were Holocaust survivors and inspired me to work hard and be strong from a very young age. My only living grandmother survived the Holocaust and at age 16 was alone in the world, the lone survivor of her immediate family. From Auschwitz to three children, eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, she is one strong woman. That is inspiring. Also, my parents have always inspired me to reach high and believe in myself; they worked hard to provide for our family and remind me that as long as I work hard, I really can accomplish anything.
And so many of my customers make me say “Wow!” on a daily basis. There’s Maureen, a cancer survivor who empowered herself by becoming a triathlete and wears a custom engraved necklace to commemorate the 140.6 miles of her race. Or Lucy, a triathlete who was involved in an accident and is now learning to walk again and is having me design a necklace to represent her journey. Also Eva, who after battling leukemia for seven years, ran her first marathon and sent me pictures of her crossing the finish line, a huge smile on her face! These women share their stories with me and trust me to make something beautiful that will represent their accomplishments and I consider that a big responsibility. If I’m having a bad day or doubt myself, I often think of their stories for the motivation to keep going.
V: Favorite public moment involving yourself or your brand:
ES: I designed a custom mantra necklace for FITNESS magazine that was featured in their February 2012 issue. I remember finding out the issue had hit mailboxes because so many of my customers began tweeting pictures of it to let me know. It felt great not only to be in the magazine but to have formed connections with my customers so that they were just as excited as I was.
V: What do you do for fun? What makes you the most happy?
ES: Anything that involves laughing or good food, or preferably both! I love taking walks around NYC without any direction. I’ll bring my camera along, practice my photography and stop in random shops to try different foods along the way. I love cooking for friends and have been known to whip up five course dinner parties at my apartment on weekends. Kayaking in the summer, hiking in the fall, and spending days in Central Park or at the Highline when I can’t escape the city. And live music, love it!
V: If you could give the 18-year-old version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
ES: You don’t always have to have the answer or right decision. When you aren’t sure of your next step, just keep doing what you are doing and there will be a moment when everything is clear and you know what your next steps should be. Life will evolve and you can’t control it so just embrace the change and enjoy the ride as best as you can. Oh, and smile.
V: What is something you are the most proud of?
ES: Crossing the finish line at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2010. Next up is the New York City Marathon on November 4th!
V: Turn-ons (anything—characteristics, skills, hobbies, what you look for in someone):
ES: Confidence. When a guy can be a “man,” but is still confident enough to be sensitive and let his guard down—that’s sexy. Kindness and someone who cares enough about himself to take care of himself is also important to me. And a hot body doesn’t hurt.
V: Turn-offs or deal breakers?
ES: Dishonesty and disrespect are two major deal breakers. You won’t impress me by ordering fancy wine at dinner, but you will impress me by looking the waiter or busboy in the eyes and genuinely thanking them. Selfishness is also a big deal breaker.
V: What are you reading?
ES: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.
V: Last trip or holiday you went on:
ES: It’s been forever since I went on a big trip, but I’m hoping to travel through South America for my 35th birthday next year. I’ve been working hard and deserve a holiday!
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