We loved chatting with Jesse about how Marlo Laz was born, where she draws inspiration, her gorgeous Bleecker Street boutique which holds a special place in our hearts (the space was once home to our shared pop-up, Spring on Bleecker), and what it's like running her ever-growing business in the Covid era.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND?
Marlo Laz was created for the bon vivants and aesthetes of the world who have an appreciation for the rare, unexpected, and exquisite.
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU WENT OFF ON YOUR OWN?
In a sense I have always been off on my own - I was living in Paris and exploring the world. I spent a lot of time in India, Morocco, and around Europe. I moved to New York and launched Marlo Laz.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS A GROUNDBREAKING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER?
One of my favorite moments was when we launched our Desert Rising collection in collaboration with Ballroom Marfa. We had a southwestern fete in a townhouse in the West Village to celebrate Haroon Mirza’s stone circle installation that we co-sponsored. It was where my passion for jewelry and love of art came together in the most harmonious way.
WHAT INSPIRED THE STUNNING DESIGN OF YOUR WEST VILLAGE BOUTIQUE?
My goal was to bring my inspirations to life through our boutique. Our brand colors of pink and orange are inspired by the rooftop terrace of Luis Barragan's home in Mexico City as well as the vibrant colors found in Jaipur and Marrakech.
The first thing I purchased for the store was the entire last dye lot of the Fortuny fabric that now hangs under the archway of the jewelry salon room and also became the fabric on the risers of our jewelry displays. That fabric set the whole mood of the store, which was then layered in with Murano chandeliers, Kagen chairs, Milo Baughman shelves, and all of our other very eclectic pieces. Our store is an Italian palazzo meets an Indian haveli meets a Moroccan riad.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE YOU HAVE DESIGNED?
I love our Porte Bonheur Coins - they are a reminder to live each day with positivity, to allow yourself to dream, to create your own luck, and to choose happiness. I also love the double message behind our En Route Coins. They are first and foremost for us travelers who are always en route somewhere, to the next destination in our exploration of the world, but also about our journey in life, looking forward and building the future of our dreams.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Where do I begin! I wear many hats, so I would say figuring out how to jump between design to P&L reports and everything in between.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORK DAY LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
I am a night owl and the furthest thing from a morning person, so my day starts (and ends) later than most.
In the COVID era, every day starts with FaceTiming my COO Carly, for a quick catchup and our plan for the day. I then do a quick check of emails to see if there is anything urgent and get on the phone with my production teams (we have four now) to talk about anything such as new product development, bespoke orders, etc.
At noon I have a standing zoom with my CFO and accountant to go over our weekly numbers. Next, I usually have a call with my CMO to go over newsletters and other creative content. After that, we have a FaceTime catchup with our PR team and then I will have a chat with one or two of our retail partners.
I usually treat myself around 4 with what I like to refer to as an art break- a chat with my art advisor to discuss an artist or a piece. It feeds my soul and clears my head for the second part of my day
When the “work” day starts slowing down around 5, I zoom with my CAD designer, who translates my designs and sketches into digital files to develop and review new pieces of jewelry.
6 is when I take a break and get in my daily Tracy Anderson workout & take a sunset walk.
After dinner is when I can sit and work on new designs. I use these few hours to either get lost in some research or sketch. The days are too crazy!
Around 12 I check my emails for the last time, usually respond to a few and fall asleep.
WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FROM?
Art, travel, iconic women, life.
WHAT'S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR DAY?
Without a doubt, the emails, texts, or DMs we receive from clients letting us know how happy they are with their pieces.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE LOOKING TO START OUT IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY?
Trust your intuition, listen to advice but don’t always take it, have a plan, and always be willing to evolve.
THREE KEYS TO RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS?
Don’t overthink, surround yourself with the best people, and know that at the end of the day, business is about solving problems, so be prepared for that and have fun with it.
QUICKFIRE ROUND: FAVORITES
ARTIST: Matisse & Ed Clark
COCKTAIL: Tequila Anything
CITY: Paris, New York, and Tokyo
ISLAND: Formentera & St Barths
HOTEL: Not quite a hotel - but the James Turrell House of Light outside of Tokyo.
RESTAURANT: La Conca del Sogno on the Amalfi coast, for the zucchini pasta, Kunitoraya in Paris for udon noodles, Via Carota in New York for the neighborhood spot, Miznon in Tel Aviv, and Contramar in Mexico City.
DESIGNER: My go-to's are Chanel, Erdem, Etro, and the Elder Statesmen.
PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU'VE DESIGNED: Our Porte Bonheur coin