STYLE Stories: Jewelry Designer Erin McDermott In Living Color
She designs pieces to give women of all ages the chance to own jewelry that is classic yet modern. It hasn’t taken long for people to gravitate towards her work and sparkling personality.
Erin McDermott like many others in the jewelry making industry started creating as a hobby for family and friends. Early on she attended the University of Virginia, and began by making elegant and handcrafted pieces. Her idea was to not only make beautiful jewelry but to ensure they were both unique and fashionably transitional.
“I had the opportunity to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York during my third year in college,” Erin shares while her English bulldog Sukie sits next to her proudly wearing one of the newest designs. “It was such an amazing opportunity and my knowledge on fashion grew as I developed a greater understanding about materials and suppliers,” she states. She still applies this in her life today, buying material for designs, and shares this same knowledge with her interns.
Erin took what she learned and began to implement it by selling pieces at a local farmers market in Charlottesville, Virginia. Driven with passion, she began setting up and selling jewelry all while balancing the hectic schedule as a full time student. Still shocked by her outcome Erin expresses with great enthusiasm that she starting with just ten pairs of earring. She began to not only sell, but also create bonds with customers who still continue to come back in support of her craft. She has found that those who bought her pieces were buying them for the same reason she herself was making them.
Erin’s original reason for creating was so the everyday person could have the option of obtaining handcrafted pieces that they could wear in an everyday setting. Throughout college she began to travel back and fourth to New York in order to purchase more stones and other raw materials needed to produce these homemade creations.
“I graduated with a Masters of Arts in Teaching and moved away where I began to teach and focus immensely on my designs” Erin shared while showing her diploma and studio space.
She knows that this was a main factor in why she began to follow her heart and fine-tune her craft. Erin later moved to Charlotte where she says, “It just happened, I decided one day that I wanted to start my own business making and selling jewelry. I began to express my yearning to start a business to my husband Bryan, who not only supported but also encouraged the idea.” Soon after, Cottage Chic became one of the first stores to sell her line.
When asked what inspires her designs she explains, “People inspire my designs, as well as lifestyle which often includes interior design”. She motions towards a stack of magazines on the coffee table, when asked about alternative sources of knowledge when it comes to keeping up with current styles and trends. Erin finds that she gravitates more towards blue but has started to explore and incorporate a wider variety of color into her work, which is displayed in her newer deigns. She on average works on twenty five to thirty pieces at a time and at least two hundred weddings per year. Her talents continue to grow and inspire those who wear her line to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Erin works from home where she has a studio space filled with unique jewels and some finished works. She is often accompanied by Sukie her English bulldog who welcomes guest with her loveable and playful demeanor.