Today’s wedding vendor interview is with Portland, Oregon based jewelry designer Monika Reed of Favor Jewelry! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Hello! I’m Monika and I run Favor Jewelry. I focus on minimal, modern designs that will be relevant and beautiful for years. I love the idea of buying jewelry to celebrate a special occasion and incorporating it into your regular wardrobe. I want to make pieces that you want to wear every day. I also try to work as ethically as possible, which means I use recycled metals, non-toxic metalsmithing techniques, and ethically-sourced gemstones. Every piece of Favor is handmade one at a time in our Portland, Oregon studio.
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into the business?
I’ve been making jewelry for 14 years now. I started working in bead stores, then doing production work for other designers. I decided to start Favor during the recession when jobs were difficult to come by and I am so thankful that I had the support and courage to start my own company. I love doing this work!
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I’d have to say working on photoshoots is my favorite. I do two large shoots a year and I do the designing, wardrobe, and prop styling for them. It is so much work and I’m a little crazy during those times, but the finished product is always so good! You can check out the results from my latest photoshoot to debut the new collection here.
If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?
My current favorite is the Binary Posts in Emerald. I have always loved emeralds and I am so happy that I found an ethical source for them. These are lab-grown and cut in Germany so they don’t damage the environment or workers in the mining process. I also love that these rings are a little more luxe than what I normally design. They’re still minimal and simple, but this is as decadent and flashy as Favor gets.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?
Someone told me once, “It doesn’t get easier, but you get better” and it quickly became my mantra. It is amazing to see how much can get accomplished and how many improvements can be made with slow, steady work. I think my biggest piece of advice is just to do the work and trust the process.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I live in Portland, Oregon, and so I’m surrounded by mountains and forests. I am usually hiking, trail running, or backpacking when I’m not working. I also love to travel and try to fit as much of it as I can into my life.
Any great stories from working with a client?
A few weeks ago a customer emailed me to let me know that she had left an abusive relationship and when she was trying to figure out what her ideal, healthy life looked like, my jewelry was included. She had just bought a necklace and said that when she looked in the mirror she was reminded of the woman she was aiming to become. It often feels like I’m working in a bubble, isolated in my studio., but hearing how my work plays a role in peoples’ lives means so much.
What makes you different from others in your field?
Favor is designed to be classic and simple, so that as the seasons change, you don’t have to worry about your jewelry going out of style. I try to design my necklaces, for example, to work with most necklines, so you can easily wear it every day. Everything is classic enough that it can mix and match with designs that are older or with pieces from another designer. I believe jewelry should be bought to commemorate occasions, but not only worn for special occasions. Brides and bridesmaids should be able to wear their wedding jewelry in less formal circumstances and love the memories that they have imbued in it.
I have also spent a lot of time trying to make this company as responsible as possible. We use 14k gold fill because it is both high quality and because it lessens the demand for gold mining. We use stones that are grown in labs or mined in western countries to minimize the environmental and social impact of mining in developing nations. We recycle all of our metal scrap, use non-toxic chemicals, and donate our used tools to a local arts non-profit. And I make sure that everything is designed and produced in our little studio in Portland, so I can support local makers and ensure that things are done as ethically as possible.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I love non-traditional engagement and wedding rings! I’ve always been someone who has gone for a minimal aesthetic, so I’m a big fan of tiny wedding rings. I actually made my own wedding ring, a 14k rose gold Slim Stacking Ring. And I’m such a huge supporter of conflict-free stones and non-diamond engagement rings.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning their big day?
The details don’t matter nearly as much as the people. I had a tiny wedding with only 20 of my closest friends and family and for all of the fretting about the little things, I hardly remember any of it! The high of being surrounded by people who love you and want nothing but the best for you is the best part of having a wedding!
Lovely, thanks Monika! For more information about Favor Jewelry, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Monika? Add them to the comments below!
Headshot: Mikola Accuardi for the Portland Supply Co.
Product Photos: Christy Cassano-Meyer
Model: Kara Jean Caldwell
Hair/Makeup: Kassandra Sommerville