Built from the ground up during a global pandemic, Sydney used the advantage of event shut downs to take a risk, expand her dreams and make them reality. Simone The Label is a purpose driven, socially conscious, fine and fashion jewelry brand with a focus on creative content by minority/BIPOC makers in fashion. Her label connects sustainability with affordability and community. As an entrepreneur, designer and art enthusiast, Sydney Simone gives back by creating, building and connecting.
A Passion for Fashion Jewelry & Design
Marianna Garcia: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started in this industry?
Sydney Simone: I always loved design and fashion jewelry growing up. I really wanted to go to fashion school, but I ended up going to school for business and hospitality, so I was working in corporate events. From there I transitioned from more corporate events to events in entertainment and fashion. I was doing events for these big brands, a clothing company and a health and wellness company. I was just in this environment with a lot of young people who were really following their dreams, pursuing their passions and just kind of going for it. So I’m planning these anniversary parties, celebrations, and collection launches and realizing that everyone is so young. And they’re just doing it—it was very inspiring to be in that environment. It gave me the extra push I needed to get started. While I was still working, I started ideating and writing a business plan. I was figuring out what I wanted to get started with, and I landed back on jewelry. I have big visions for where the brand is going to expand to, but I decided that was my best bet for getting started. And I was really excited about it, so I just started working on it. What really took it over the edge into full time was the pandemic; events shut down. I just went full time into this, and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s been so much fun seeing this grow, I’m absolutely loving it.
The Future of Simone The Label
Sydney Simone: In summer, we’re launching a web series and more product offerings. We’re developing a few new products—I won’t give it away too much, because we’re still figuring out the details—but likely three other types of products that will fit in nicely. And it’s all going to tie together with a web series paired with our social media channels. I kind of see it being a brand as a whole, that people can turn to for a range of products within the same style. Not fast fashion, but affordably priced: an attainable luxury. People can get multiple things at once and know that their purchase is a conscious, sustainable purchase.
Finding Your Groove
Marianna Garcia: How do you think changing careers changed you as a person?
Sydney Simone: I love it. I think it’s opened me up to a whole new side of myself that I didn’t realize. Besides developing and designing, besides doing events, you have to actually run the business too. It’s been a real learning curve. Obviously I went to business school so I had a foundation there which I’m thankful for. But it’s a lot to do at once; you don’t realize until you’re thrown into it and you’re doing your accounting and you still need to get your inventory and design more and do all the social media and do your photo shoots and everything else. Starting up when you’re a smaller team, there’s a lot to balance. It’s totally changed me. But I think that my event planning background helped me to have a project management mindset. Turning it from a venue event to, “Okay, we’re launching a new product line at this event in July, how do we get there.” Learning to manage what happens in between definitely has helped, but I’ve grown so much from having to step out of that and do more.
Jewelry with an Experience
Marianna Garcia: What’s your overall perspective on the brand?
Sydney Simone: I want people to feel excited to shop! I want it to be an experience and for them to feel like they’re picking something out that’s really special. I want them to be excited when it comes in the mail. This is a silly story, but I remember when I was a little girl I would look through catalogs and was never allowed to order from them. But one time my mom let me get this Disney dress. I don’t know how old I was, I was really young. I remember waiting at the window every day for the mailman to bring me this Disney nightgown; I was so excited. That feeling of picking something out and just being so excited for it to come, and then cherishing it when you get it—and not feeling like you had to break your bank for it. That’s how I want customers to feel. I also want them to feel empowered to define their own style and feel comfortable in what they’re wearing, whether it’s the jewelry, whether it’s clothes, whether it’s something else. Whatever it is.
Marianna Garcia: What are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve created?
Sydney Simone: This is hard because I have some new pieces coming out this spring. My favorites are not out yet, but they’ll be out soon. And it’s the Empire necklace to match the Empire chain. So look out for those. Of the ones that I have already out, I love the Ryan hoops; they’re like just a super thick, large hoop. I think that’s always a staple. I’m always throwing them on when I need to go out. I love the Emerald pendant and the halo bracelet and necklace. I like a stronger piece.
Marianna Garcia: Have you had any instances yet where you spot someone wearing your jewelry?
Sydney Simone: Yes. And it’s been really cool. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is real!” It’s really cool. I get so excited. And then they always have great things to say, which makes me even more happy. I feel more confident when I’m talking to other people about the quality and how long it lasts and everything. It’s really exciting to know that the product is working and tested.
The Future of the Brand
Marianna Garcia: Where do you see the label in 10 years from now?
Sydney Simone: Definitely more retail; we’re on that path now. We just got picked up by another 20 stores, so we’re going to be in around 45 stores throughout the US, Canada and South America. I eventually want to be an international label. I want to be an all encompassing brand that has everything under the sun as well as operate as a fashion discovery platform—maybe like Revolve. Somewhere that people can come to discover new brands. We’ll have our own side of things and a space to elevate younger, up and coming designers.
Something else that I hope I can achieve 10 years down the line is a nonprofit. Right now I do have the Justice necklace, of which 50% of the proceeds go to the Equal Justice Initiative. But I want to take it beyond there. I want to have this resource to help people, whoever it might be. Whether it’s helping someone start their brand, or getting materials, or taking a class, or donating to an organization fighting for something that really needs help that we stand behind. That’s my 10 year goal.
From the beginning I felt like I couldn’t be doing this without giving back. It’s a core purpose of the brand. Yes, I like designing pretty things and giving it to people, but it helps me to stay focused and driven knowing that I’m working towards something bigger than myself. I couldn’t start without doing that. That is my “why,” it’s to help people in whatever way I possibly can and to be able to do it in a way that I enjoy. I get to spend every day designing creative directing photoshoots, doing all of the beautiful fun stuff to build this business. And then through that I’m creating this massive tool that I can then use to help others. There are so many things that we take for granted, we don’t even realize how simple things can help someone so much. That’s my reason. I get to do something that I really enjoy, and it helps me to help others. It doesn’t have to do with fashion, it might not have to do with jewelry, just whatever it is that someone might need.
It’s really awesome to continue to share the brand, to get it out there and spread the word. I hope we’re still kickin’ in years to come and that we keep growing. I’m really grateful for the chance to share and speak with you about it and I’m really excited for the future of the Simone label.
Interview by Marianna Garcia