High-spirited energy and purpose is behind the meaning of West Village Tribe. With each piece sourced and handcrafted with articulate attention to detail, it’s the perfect style accessory for the wanderer at heart.
What is the story behind West Village Tribe? WVT began years ago, before it even had a name or an identity. The makings of the idea really started in 2007, when I attended The Fashion Institute of Technology. I spent so much time working, studying, and playing in New York City, discovering a version of the city that I never knew existed. My recent buying journeys to India and Southeast Asia have continued to fuel the passion of creating a brand of my own, and have allowed me to put West Village Tribe into action. On my third trip to Bali in 2014, something in me had ignited and the inspiration was pouring out of me. I didn’t even know how to make jewelry at this point. Something in me just took over, and I had no fear. I came across these incredible gemstones at a Tibetan shop, and I figured I would give it a shot and try to make something out of them when I got home. The brand, the logo, and the idea of what West Village Tribe would be, had actually come about before the physical product. I like that it happened that way.
What is the company’s overall mission? Our company strives to promote a way of life that is without boundaries. We provide handcrafted, meaningful wares to adorn your everyday self. We are more than just jewelry. We are a brand to inspire wanderers. We encourage you to live your life to the fullest. Every day, in some small way, you can explore. Wander near. Wander far. Most importantly, “let your soul run wild.”
Where did your love of travel originate, and what is your most impactful travel experience? After graduating college, I landed a dream job that allowed me to travel throughout Thailand, India and Bali, on the most incredible buying journeys. An experience that has shaped my view of the world, and the way that I want to live for the rest of my life. My most impactful travel experience was visiting India for the first time. There really are no words to describe the energy it holds, and the explosion of emotions that I felt. The sounds, the people, the colors, the food, the beautiful mess of fascinating chaos. Stepping out into the wild streets each morning draped in scarves and shawls, dodging rickshaws and motorbikes, playing with street dogs, drinking a fresh juice on my way to the street markets, searching for treasures to bring home, sharing a cup of chai with a shop owner, purchasing pieces of wearable art from the makers themselves. I love playing this high-spirited, adventurous game more than anything.
When sourcing goods, is there anything specific you’re most drawn to? I’m always drawn to gemstones with luminescence. I love to use rainbow moonstone and labradorite in my jewelry, because each little cut of stone has a unique color-play and depth to it. I’m also really drawn to raw stones that are misshapen and sort of ugly. I like to make pretty things from strange pieces. I’m always looking to mix different metals and shapes. Most of the time, I have no specific plan when sourcing new materials. I just buy what I love and what I think might work, and figure out what to do with it once I’m sitting down at my bench to create.
What has this work meant for you, personally and professionally? I never thought I could be capable of creating a jewelry line on my own. I have always imagined myself establishing a brand someday, as many fashion students do. I just didn’t think that I’d be the creative force AND the actual crafter of the goods. I took a somewhat outlandish idea and turned it into a reality. I have no professional training in jewelry making, but I made a decision that I wanted to learn. I did a ton of research. I made a LOT of mistakes in the beginning. I took a leap of faith and put myself out there with my jewelry line. I have made some wonderful business relationships and friendships since I started WVT. I am so thankful for the people who have supported my work from the start, and for the continued encouragement. It has been wildly overwhelming to feel so loved and supported in my work.
What inspires you? So many things! And they’re ever-changing. I find new things every day, but I am most inspired by places. I love walking around cities and just staring at everything. I take a lot of quick photos with my iPhone and look back at them when I’m making a new piece of jewelry. I love walking around NYC aimlessly, and I love people-watching. There are so many fascinating humans. I find so much beauty in patina green metal staircases and tree-lined city streets. I love surrounding myself with a jungle of cacti and fresh greenery. I love layers of exotic textiles and messy pottery. Anything handmade. Nature.
I am most inspired by just traveling anywhere, and pretending to live like a local.
What do you hope for the future of West Village Tribe? The future of West Village Tribe – I have so many hopes and dreams for this little company. The fact that it’s grown so much over the last year and half gives me a lot to look forward to. I want to keep growing and moving forward in a way that is always true to our brand. I want to continue to advance our quality and skills in crafting jewelry. I hope to eventually extend the West Village Tribe jewelry line into an expanded brand of related products and lifestyle services.
To learn more, visit West Village Tribe.
Photography credits: Nick Rayment and Kaitlyn Zuverink.