The Daily Front Row & Jennifer Miller Jewelry
DESIGNER JENNIFER MILLER ON HER 30TH ANNIVERSARY, RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, AND NEW SOUTH BEACH LOCATION
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Jennifer Miller Jewelry, which has kept the world’s chicest women decked out in the most striking jewels for decades now. With stores in the Hamptons, Palm Beach, and most recently inside the W Hotel in South Beach, Miami, the brand is showing no signs of slowing down. Founder Jennifer Miller tells THE DAILY her secret recipe for success and what her customers can always count on.
Congrats on 30 years in business! You’ve been around for decades now! How did you start the brand? Decades
Yikes! I’m ancient! It’s incredible that this year marks 30 years in business. I started my career working for Lancôme cosmetics, climbing the corporate ladder. I also had an adventurous stint in hospitality with Club Med. I was raised by a family of designers, and my passion for fashion was in my blood. I started [the company] by offering trays filled to the brim with sparkling jewels to a captive audience of glamour girls while they were getting coiffed at super chic salons in New York and California.
When did you start seeing real success?
For me, making those first sales and then seeing clients recommending me to their friends and family was a first measure of success for the brand. I started getting referrals to style pop stars, national TV personalities, First Ladies of the White House.… It was incredibly exciting and rewarding. I strive every day to deliver that same experience in my boutiques and online. I’m doing what I love. I’m around beautiful jewelry and accessories 24/7. How lucky am I!?
Why do you think you’ve had such longevity?
While we introduce new goodies to the collection almost every day, I stay true to my instinctual sense of fashion and will not sell anything that I wouldn’t wear, use, or would love to have in my own home. The Jennifer Miller collection includes trends and classics, but it’s a cohesive look we created that works and speaks to the longevity. I love when clients come in wearing “Vintage JM” and mix it with pieces from our newest collections.
Your first store was in Southampton. When did you open, and what’s it been like being there all these years?
Even before opening my eponymous boutique on Jobs Lane 20 years ago, I had a store-within-a-store in an ultra chic boutique called ZOOM for 10 years. I absolutely love the Hamptons. I met my husband, Mark, who happened to be my neighbor. I married the boy next door, and he’s now my business partner. I have clients [there] who started shopping with me while carrying their first-born and now their daughters, sons, and husbands are collectors and clients.
How has your customer changed over the years?
Oh, we have all changed so much, but what I find consistent is that even first-time customers become clients for years. We focus on consistently delivering an ever-changing assortment of the latest and greatest at the fairest prices, with excellent customer service, in a low-pressure environment. That’s my secret recipe. It never gets stale.
Where are your other locations?
Besides East Hampton and Southampton, of course, online at jennifermillerjewelry.com. In New York City, we’re on the Upper East Side; Palm Beach, Florida; and at the W Hotel in South Beach.
Your South Beach location is your newest location. What differentiates this store?
The W South Beach is a trophy oceanfront property. Our boutique is in the “living room” of the hotel surrounded by a curated collection of Aby Rosen’s personal modern-art collection. You must come and see it! We’re the only store in the hotel, so it gives me the opportunity to spread my wings as a curator. Many residents and guests from the nearby hotels come in every week to see what’s new. Exclusive to the W, we offer not only jewelry but men’s, women’s, and kids’ resortwear, including everything from sundries, W logo items designed by me, even sex toys! They’re designed to look like jewelry, of course. The hotel just completed a $30 million-plus renovation, and it’s spectacular!
I’ve been. It really is! Why did you want to open in Miami?
When the W South Beach hotel opened, it was one of the first super sexy luxury boutique hotels on the ocean. About 12 years ago, I asked ownership if I could be considered to open Jennifer Miller in the hotel. Their answer was maybe…someday. Here we are!
Any other plans for additional stores? Where else would you like to be?
The resort hotel marketplace is a natural for us. I’m a sun and turquoise water seeker, so my answer isn’t maybe. It’s when! I curate from an active list of more than 200 global designers; some are new and some are brands that have been around longer than my decades. What’s even more interesting than the list is how we merchandise the varied brands together. I rarely have a full collection from one designer but rather cherry-pick my favorites from each of the designers I work with.
What type of jewelry do you typically wear?
My uniform includes two of my triple-strand tubogas bracelets on one wrist and a mighty fine wrist party going on the other. I love to layer my necklaces, mix metal colors, and lately I have to admit I’ve been in a sparkly mood, wearing lots of diamonds and at least two ankle bracelets.
Your price points are truly high and low. Why did you want to sell fine and faux?
Interestingly, fine and faux are no longer just differentiated by price. We carry 14k and diamond Demi Jewelry starting at low price points, and faux jewelry starting in the thousands. We offer both fine and faux at all price points. Demi Jewelry is my 14k gold micro pavé diamond jewelry collection, which starts at about $395. It’s perfect for gift giving. I even offer many of the same or similar designs in fine and faux. My classic triple-strand 18k tubogas bracelet is $8,500, while my sterling-silver version dipped in 18k gold is $650. The confident chic clients know how to mix fine and faux with ease. Carrying both is signature to the brand and organic to our roots. I credit that with why more than 90 percent of purchases are female self purchases, an unheard of statistic in the jewelry industry.
You and your husband work together. What are your different roles, and how do you separate your business and home life?
The key is roles and responsibilities. As founder and creative director, I have the lead for everything aesthetic. Mark is everything C—the CEO, COO, CMO, and CFO. As for separating business and home life, for couples working together I would be lying if I said it was easy. It takes work, and it’s crucial to always remember to stay in your own lane and practice balance. The key is that we both respect, love, and care for each other so much that we know we always have each other’s back.
You’ve been in the game for a long time. How do you still keep “the job” fun for you?
Shopping around the world, and creating beautiful jewelry, accessories, clothing, and then watching it sell in our stores and online is beyond fun and incredibly gratifying. It’s in my DNA! Growing up with a family of fashionistas I’ve been obsessed with accessories from an early age, and I still love them today.