An Interview With The Creator
Q: How did you come up with the idea of NN?
A: Bad eyesight (laughs). I was watching music videos on TV while doing my nightly routine around the house when I caught a glimpse of an artist wearing what seemed to be a free floating pendant. After a closer look, I realized that it was not free floating but a standard necklace-pendant combo with a thin chain. It got me thinking. What if it was just a pendant? There was something clean, crisp, and iconic about it. So I went to work.
Q: Tell us more about the pendants themselves. How are they designed?
A: This is really my favorite part of the process because it’s where the artistic essence of NN comes alive. The pendants are created in-house by a small team of designers (which includes myself). We hold creative sessions where we pitch ideas and decide upon final designs that speak to our brand and fan base . Once we agree on a unique, personable design, the fun begins. We first use high-tech programs to render the design and print it in 3-D. Once we have something tangible to work with, we create a master model so that it can be reviewed, relieved of imperfections, and then put into production. After that, the pendants are casted, plated, and smoothed over (a process called “tumbling”). Finally, we fit each pendant with carefully-selected Swarovski stones so that every customer has something suited to her taste.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in putting it all together?
A: Simple as it may seem, it really took a lot of trial and error to perfect. We wanted to bring our vision to life without sacrificing functionality, durability, or comfort. One of the biggest obstacles we faced had to do with the weight of the pendants. If the pendant was too heavy or too big, it would weigh down the apparel. At the same time, we wanted the pendants to be as detailed as possible, which required they be at least a certain size. So we had to walk the fine line between detail and functionality.
Durability was another hurdle. Soft metals are light and convenient in that sense, but they also break easily. For our customers to get the full value of each piece, they should be able to wear it for a long time. We want them to be able to maximize expression without sacrificing beauty. Sometimes beauty comes at a price - discomfort, or a flimsy product. I wanted to eliminate that sacrifice as best I could.
Q: -Now that you’ve brought your idea to life, how do you envision NN being different from what else is out there?
A: By bringing elements together. Not just physical elements, but a union of symbols. Cloth and accessory. “Accessory-Apparel”. The clothing and jewelry industries are generally considered to be separate markets. This ends up giving creative license to two different entities, neither of which are the consumers themselves. In merging the two categories, we’re getting our consumers actively involved in the creative process. Expression should be as personal as possible. But the world of fashion can be repetitive. It can bring back trends for the sake of bringing them back, and make them popular by just saying they are. NN might be channeling the elegance of grandma’s vintage brooch, but with reinvented designs and mechanisms it opens up the world of accessories to a whole new market.
Q: Lastly, can you tell us a little more about your slogan: “Expression Unchained”?
A: Well, if you want to express yourself outside the box, you have to be willing to go outside the box. In essence, that is what NN symbolizes. It breaks free of the chains of tradition. By unchaining the pendant we are forging new ground, just as we are providing new ways for people to express themselves. I can’t say that we’re the first to merge the industries of fashion and jewelry - to incorporate gemstones into clothing three-dimensionally - but I do think that NN’s message and presentation is unique. Our central theme is not just an unchained pendant, but something special that touches people on a personal level. The mechanism is one thing, but it’s the pendants that give character to the operation - a bold while still light-hearted liberation of expression. I think our supporters are drawn to that.