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Designing Women: Making a Statement with Emily Kammeyer

November 14, 2012

Emily Kammeyer of E. Kammeyer Accessories

Interview by Jennifer Markas. Photos courtesy of Emily Kammeyer.

Emily Kammeyer is the most stylish woman we know! From her neon wrap bracelets to her exotic headpieces, she is quintessentially cool and never without a pop of color. Emily is the owner and head designer of E. Kammeyer Accessories where she dresses brides in vintage-style birdcage veils and sashes. Her everyday statement bracelets and hair bands have been featured on countless fashion blogs and her line was recently sold on the exclusive flash sale site, Fab.com. Damsels in Design sat down with Emily in her studio to find out what inspires her and how important it is to connect with like-minded women in design.

DID: Your line of headpieces channel Hollywood glamour mixed with charm, sass and a splash of punk-rock. What inspires your aesthetic and creativity? Is it materials, women, places? How do you make all of these styles work?
EK: My collection much like my personal style stems from a broad range of influences.  My Fall/Winter collection was inspired by the amazing punk rock shops I found in London when I lived there a few years ago, my vintage art deco jewelry collection, hunting through one of my favorite little jewelry findings places, Metaliferous, and so much more.  Living in New York is an endless source of amazing inspiration.

Assorted Bracelets by E. Kammeyer Accessories

DID: Why did you decide to design hair accessories? Briefly give us your background as a designer? How and where did you train? What type of woman wears your pieces?
EK: I began making hair accessories about 5 years ago with my best friend.  We would sit in Central Park and create beautiful things. I’m from the Midwest and found that in my early 20’s my girlfriends from home started getting married and needed hair accessories and veils for their weddings. This is when the business began. I’ve always wanted to own my own business so when I realized I could turn my passion into more than just a hobby, I got right to work on building my business. Now the collection has expanded from bridal to evening, and everyday hair accessories. Our newest collection that launched this fall/winter was jewelry and bridal sashes.  I’m so excited to continue expanding the business and keep providing handmade, fashion forward accessories to my fabulous customers. I attended college at Iowa State and double majored in Creative Design and Merchandising.  I spent a semester studying corsetry, shoe design and fashion journalism at The London College of Fashion before interning in the design department at BCBG Max Azria.  After graduation I moved to New York and started making hair accessories soon after.

DID: You recently had an exclusive sale on Fab.com—congrats! What was it like preparing for such a large sale? What advice do you have for designers trying to get their product out in front of a large audience?
EK: Preparing for Fab was such a great launch pad for me.  It gave me the opportunity to show my collection to a broad, national audience and get some really good feedback about what pieces my customers love.  I hired a number of assistants to help with all the prep work and to make sure we had more than enough stock to ship on time.  I was also reminded that I have a bunch of amazing friends–my girlfriends were at my apt drinking wine and stamping hangtags for weeks. For designers that are looking to do a sale like Fab.com I would suggest the following in order to adequately prepare:  First, make sure you have the ability to fulfill the order.  Second, hire a team ahead of time so you are able to train them.  Lastly, work on increasing the SEO (search engine optimization) for your website so that you are relevant in Google searches.  Oh, and one more thing–make sure  you have great product shots of your collection. They make all the difference!

Bracelets by E. Kammeyer Accessories

DID: What advice can you offer women who would like to pursue a career such as yours? How important is networking in your line of work? How has it helped you build your community, garner support, and connect you with new projects/contacts?
EK: To follow your passion is the best gift you can give yourself, though not an easy one.  Expect to get very little sleep and work harder than you ever have before. The number one task of  an entrepreneur/designer is to network.  You can have a fabulous collection but if you don’t have the contacts it’s very difficult to get your line to the next level.  I find myself at a networking event almost every night of the week.  That’s why groups like Damsels in Design are so important.  You never know when you are going to meet the next stylist who will use one of your pieces on a shoot, a designer you want to collaborate with, or a reference for fabric and trims.

DID: Damsels in Design fosters a supportive, engaging, and non-competitive environment for creative women. How important is it that women support and assist one another along the way? What steps can we take to ensure we’re maintaining this camaraderie and creating opportunities for one another?
EK:
I am always meeting other accessories designers, but I find working together rather than keeping my ideas to myself has helped me grow.  For instance, two accessories designers I have had the opportunity to get to know well have been irreplaceable in my growth as a designer.  We constantly meet and bounce ideas off of each other, network together, and have trunk shows together.  It is important to have other designers whom you can rely on to give you feedback, help and support.  We are a close-knit community that must support each other and continue to help each other grow.

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