Around these parts, we like to learn about and from people who are running their own businesses – business we love and admire, and the women who are running shit behind the scenes. This week’s interview is with Annika Inez, the Sweden-born artist and founder of By Boe, who designs affordable, gorgeous, and interesting jewelry. In this interview she tells us about her creative upbringing and how important it is to have a good team around you.
Mind your Business: Tell us a bit about your background, previous work, etc. Did you always know you wanted to start your own business?
Annika: I always knew I wanted to create and design but ventured into a few fields before landing in jewelry: furniture and interior studies, assistant designer to Indian bead and embroidery artisans, a footwear collection. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Both my parents and grand parents were entrepreneurs in fashion, and I was always drawn to the freedom it brings running your own business.
MyB: You come from a design-centric home; what moved you to design jewelry specifically?
Annika: I grew up in Sweden, and as I mention above my parents were entrepreneurs, in fashion. My mom lived in NYC in the 60′s and worked as a fashion designer, as a child I spent a lot of time pouring over her fantastic sketches, but I never felt drawn to creating clothes. I have always been on the arts side and jewelry felt right as it encompasses personal adornment and sculpture.
MyB: Why did you feel it was important to be in NYC to start your business?
Annika: Well, I wanted to be in NYC and I wanted to start a business so this is where it happened. My curious nature is constantly fed well being here.
MyB: What is the most challenging part of running your own business? What’s the best part
Annika: Most challenging is definitely finding a balance in a small team of people working together as well as keeping my focus on the big picture and long term goals. The best part is the freedom; even if I work a lot I can manage my time quite freely.
MyB: What inspires your style? Where do you get your ideas?
Annika: Having grown up in Sweden, I spent a lot of time roaming free in the forest (there is no bad weather, only bad clothes is the saying) and it definitely left an impression. As a child one of my favorite things to do was to build these mini worlds with things we found outside. Nature is not a direct inspiration, meaning my jewelry does not look like twigs from a tree, but it is rather how inspired I feel from being in nature: feeling that unavoidable ever-moving cycle of life and really paying attention to the beauty it contains.
I have spent many years in NYC and draw a lot of inspiration from my life here. Ideas come from everywhere, but music and musicians inspire me greatly. Right now I’m crazy about Benjamin Clementine and Chargaux.
MyB: If you could only bring one piece with you on a desert island, which would it be?
Annika: My pinky ring that I never take off.
MyB: Can you give us any insight into new collections or designs on the horizon?
Annika: As I’m writing this I’ve just had a quiet Sunday in the studio working on our holiday collection. It is my favorite collection to work on as it has the most room to play. Today I was working on pieces that will be a combination between a scarf, collar and necklace inspired by the Victorian high neck blouses. They will incorporate our gold filled wire made into clasps and vintage kimono fabric.
MyB: What advice would you give someone who is looking to go into a similar business for themselves?
Annika: Your team is everything. It is important to really know how you want to run your business and assemble a team around you that can help you achieve your vision. Learn–even if not in-depth–all aspects of running your business, from understanding financials to your production.