Interviw with Smith + Mara
Sara Kahane Smith and Mara Rothbart met as freshmen at USC, instantly clicking as friends, and then forged a lifelong friendship when they were roommates for the next three years of college. The two women began their careers in the fashion industry PR and marketing for fashion and fine jewelry, both working for PR agencies after graduating from college. PDV loves the clean lines of their fine jewelry brand, SMITH+MARA, known for creating their unique extended post earrings and beautiful pavé diamond work. We sat down with the designers this spring in New York City to hear about the origins of their brand.
SMITH+MARA LAUNCHED IN 2012. HOW DID YOU KNOW IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME?
“We always wanted to get into jewelry design, but it was never the right time. That is, until Mara moved back to California after living in New York City for 4 years. We talked about all sorts of ideas for pieces that we wanted for ourselves, but couldn't find anywhere in the market. So, we decided to finally decided to give it a shot, and go into business together. We figured if these were pieces that we really wanted to wear, and they didn't exist, chances are other people would want the same thing.”
Evelina wears the White Gold Infinity Ring with pavé diamonds
WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR MINIMAL (YET DIAMOND-INFUSED) COLLECTION?
“Our goal from the beginning was to create a line of unique but wearable jewelry. We want to create pieces that women can feel comfortable wearing everyday. We are both very "California" in that our personal styles are very laid back; we literally wear jeans and T-Shirts on a daily basis. So, we wanted to create pieces that can be thrown on to dress up simple jeans and a tee shirt, or can we worn on a night out. Our line is totally versatile.”
Evelina wears the Pavé Diamond Straight Bar Earring
WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS?
“Mara's dad has been a mentor to us since we've started the business. He's been a jeweler for over 40 years and knows the industry inside and out. He has given us so much advice and guidance throughout this process. Whenever we have questions he's always the first person we ask.”
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS DESIGNERS?
“The most motivating and rewarding part of our work is seeing the response to the line. People are loving the pieces, and we have a ton of repeat customers. Seeing people enjoying things that we've created is so validating and makes us want to keep putting more out there!”
PDV LOVES THE SKIMMER EARRING; WHAT INSPIRED THE UNIQUE SHAPE?
“The inspiration for the Skimmer pieces came from our experiences traveling abroad, and discovering new influences that we hadn’t seen before in the States. It’s really a simple shape that makes a statement, while flattering the ear. That Skimmer earring is definitely our signature design, and it really encompasses our motto, ‘Make it simple but significant.”