I attended the STLFW Fashion Chat and Presentation at Neiman Marcus on Thursday and bumped in Jewerly Designer Deborah Gaspar. She was in town for her Trunk Show hosted at Neiman Marcus the following Friday and Saturday. This was Deborah’s first time EVER in St. Louis (hard to believe I know!) and she arrived just in time to enjoy a fabulous runway presentation from Accessories Designer Lisa Freede, Creative Director Audrey McLoghlin of Frank & Eileen and Fashion Designer Jonathan Simkhai. Deborah was wearing a three long beautiful necklaces, which immediately grabbed my attention. They were from her Druzy and Labradorite Collection. Two of these necklaces can be worn in four different ways. You will see in the picture below that she is wearing the same necklace twice, one long and one short. The necklaces include a rough druzy stone on one side and can be reversed to a smoother lighter stone.
These necklaces truly speak to the Deborah Gaspar brand as her line is know for it versatility and wearability. Of course I was excited about the meet up and her remarkable jewelry so I arranged a visit to her trunk show on Saturday! Continue reading for the full interview and a look at her collection!
Me: Deborah tell me a little bit about yourself?
Deborah: I have been designing jewelry for over 10 years. When I started I knew that if I was going to design, I wanted something very distinguishable by Deborah Gaspar. I decided to design my own mother of pearl stones. That is when I started creating my very own wearable and versatile collection that had multipurpose. My belts you can wear as a belt or necklace or double wrap necklace. I then started designing Mother of Pearl bangles. I took paintings in my house and starting designing them into the bangles. From there I added in my mixed metal, copper twist and gunmetal tassel necklaces. They include sterling silver tassels and baroque pearls. Each one is a one-of-a-kind and I still hand-make all of my pieces. I design a lot of long necklaces that are very versatile, you can wear either long or double them up. They all include natural stones that are hand-wired with either sterling silver or 14k gold filled. I have a great assortment of earrings with CZs in them that look like real diamonds. The earrings have interchangeable natural stone drops that you can add to them as well.
I later went on to create my natural Druzy collection. They are toggle necklaces that include a couple natural stones and they are reversible! There is rough natural druzy stone on one side and other side a softer polished stone. You can wear them either short or open it up and wear long. You get 4 in one! It speaks to the practicality and wearability of the collection.
You have been designing for over 10 years, how did you get started?
I started designing as a hobby, I am self-taught. My only background is being left handed and a pisces, which they say are both creative traits! I wanted to come up with something unique to Deborah Gaspar and that is why I decided to create my own Mother of Pearl pieces.
What was your background prior to being a jewelry designer?
I was in sales. I was selling the intangible working for Personnel Service, Accounting and Finance. I started up their temporary division for Accountants. Well originally I had started my sales career in BMW sales.
Prior to that I was a grad from the University of Texas, their Communications school. Then I had kids and decided to stay at home for a while. When I got bored and started tearing about my old jewelry and creating new pieces.
Where does your inspiration comes from?
My inspiration comes from mother nature. It is so much about natural colors, the ocean, sand, etc.
What is the process for designing a new line?
Well I design throughout the year. I am working with 12 Neiman Marcus stores and handful of boutiques. Four times a year I will start a new season. With winter I chose bolder looks and darker stones and in summer lighter looks. Then I will go source for the materials.
Starting out did you have a mentor?
No I am 100% self taught. I would go down to the World Trade Center in Dallas and start learning about the stones and metals. I bought the tools, played with them and figured out how to perfect it. Being a sales person I wasn’t afraid to knock on the doors of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth avenue.
How did you really start branding yourself and getting your name out there?
I would wear my pieces and a lot of my friends would comment on them. Strangers would comment on them when I’m out at dinner. I knew at that point that I had something that other people would be very interested in owning themselves. I was walking through a Saks store, got noticed and was asked about my collection. A couple months later the American Heart Association came to me and asked if I would design a belt in the shape of a heart. They used it for their invitation. They had a party at Saks Fifth Avenue and they wanted to invite me to do my first trunk show. And so i had to become registered as a vendor for Saks and that is how it all started from there.
What is the hardest part of designing?
Taking the business to the next level. Since I am still hand creating all of my pieces, it is a challenge to find someone as passionate and caring about my collection as I am. To consider manufacturing my product and still have it represented the way I want it to be represented.
Because you are making every piece yourself?
Yes me and my co-designer. A college student who has been working with me for 6 years and is ready to graduate and move on.
Would you say there are no two pieces a like? About 80% of pieces are very much one of a kind because of the natural stones.
I don’t want anyone to be a walking clone of Deborah Gaspar, but instead have their own unique look with my collection.
What are your favorite pieces?
All of them, ha ha! The multi-ways I can wear my sterling silver tassels necklaces with the baroque pearls, gun metal and copper twists is my ultimate fav. Then the Druzy collection (the reversible toggle necklaces), and my Mother of Pearl bangles, and my belts and my earrings! She loves it all!
What type of advice would you have for someone just getting started in the design or fashion industry?
Just follow your heart or your vision and have what you would want to pass on to others. Have your own unique style and don’t try to copy others.
That is great advice! And where can everyone purchase your jewelry at?
I am currently doing trunk shoes and my jewelry can also be purchased on my website. www.deborahgaspar.com All of my new pieces will be added within the next month. So look out for those!
Do you take custom orders?
Absolutely! I even did an 18k engagement ring last month. I designed it with my jeweler. It is an emerald cut. (photos below)
So I know you participated in the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, can you tell us a little bit about your experience?
Yes, I also participated in the Grammy Style Lounge and Echo Emmy Lounge. It was a very cool experience to watch how the entertainers became attached to my collection. I really focused on my mens’s collection. I got them on a lot of rock stars and on Gilles Marini.
And what about your celebrity following?
Katie Couric is a huge fan. (Katie Couric is wearing her earrings and mother of pearl bangles in the picture below)
What does the future of Deborah Gaspar look like?
There is nothing but up-sight potential. Taking it [the business] to the next level, where I am hopefully in Neiman Stores and getting manufacturing done. I could explode. Today people put back David Yurman to buy Deborah Gaspar. Those people [ I watched two ladies shop around with a sales associate and ended up coming back to Deborah’s table to purchase her one of a kind long sterling silver necklace] put back Apala. I did Saks New York for 8 years and people said I could be the next John Hardy.
What up coming shows are you doing?
I am totally booked until Christmas. I have several trunk shows, a lawyers convention and private shows.
Below is schedule of Deborah’s upcoming Trunk Shows:
- November 5-6th: Tampa Bay, FL Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- November 8th: American Cancer Society Trunk Show
- November 9th: ALS Trunk Show
- November 11th: Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Holiday Bazaar, Nexus Recovery Center, Dallas, TX Trunk Show
- November 12th: Ft Worth, TX Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- November 14th: Willow Bend, TX Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- November 16th: Topanga, CA Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- November 18-19th: Short Hills, NJ Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- November 22-23: Newport Beach, CA Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- December 4-5th: Feinsteins, Little Rock Trunk Show
- December 9-10th: Atlanta, GA Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- December 13th: Northpark, TX Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- December 16th: Ft. Worth, TX Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- December 17th: Willow Bend, TX Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- December 19-20th: Tampa, FL Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
- December 22-23: Coral Gables, FL Neiman Marcus Trunk Show
Are you open to partnering with various bloggers or stylists to help showcase your jewerly, and what is the best way to get ahold of you?
Oh absolutely I’ve worked with several stylist for photo shoots. They can reach out to me directly either by email or phone. firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you get to enjoy St. louis where you were here?
Yes, I went to Blood and Sand. They make the best cocktails in the world!
Sitting down with Deborah was great! I am now a huge fan of her jewelry! It’s classic, it’s gorgeous, you can get so many looks out of one piece and she has some great statement pieces! She is definitely a jewelry designer you should look out for!
You can keep up with Deborah Gaspar by visiting any of the sites below!
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/deborahgaspar (She has a ton of must-see designs on here!)
**To view the full gallery of Deborah’s collection that was on display at her Neiman Marcus trunk show click here
(some photos in the article were borrowed from www.deborahgaspar.com)