Erin Sachse, founder of Los Angeles–based fine jewelry brand Eriness, debuted her first collection at age 18—she made jewelry out of her Boston University dorm room—and introduced the fine jewelry side of her business soon after graduating college, in 2015.
Along the way, she found her voice as a designer, and she is now well-known in the industry for her playful, spirited gold designs that often incorporate colorful gems.
But, like so many independent designers in their early years, her evolution as an artist and entrepreneur wasn’t reflected on her website, which until last week—when she debuted a dynamic new site for her brand—was perfectly pretty, but on the bland side.
“During the COVID-19 lockdowns, I realized I never really did any real branding,” she explains. “I looked back and realized that when I launched Eriness at 18, I made a friend a bracelet, and she made my logo for me. She made a beautiful font, and she asked me what color I wanted. I said I didn’t care. And my mom said, ‘Taupe.’ And I said, ‘Okay, let’s make it taupe.’ That was my branding. That was it!”
It’s not an uncommon story for independent designers, who initially need to be hyperfocused on product and sales. Which is why we asked Sachse to share her rebranding journey with JCK.
JCK: You’ve been wanting to redo your site for a while. Why was now the right time?
Erin Sachse: I’m lucky that Eriness grew so organically that I didn’t need the big, beautiful branding to back it up at first. But now I really need it to get to that next level.
Approaching [rebranding] was very daunting for me in the beginning because I was always a one-woman show and I’ve always done everything on my own. I’m always like, “I can just figure this out.” But the results are sometimes not as good as they should be. I’m not a web designer.… I realized, “I cannot do this. I need to find someone to help me bring this vision I have in my head to life.”
How did you find that someone to help you?
I started looking at branding agencies. I had no idea how much it was—it’s so expensive. But I probably talked to something like 20 different companies. In the beginning, I didn’t really know what I needed, but as I talked to people, I was picking things up. It was almost like I was researching while [interviewing] agencies.
Part of me was thinking, “This is really annoying having to explain myself and my business so many times.” But saying things out loud, you realize where the gaps are. It helped me.
Which agency did you finally go with?
Studio Listo in Los Angeles. They’re so amazing and they understood me and Eriness and the playfulness of the brand, and also the elegance. I just never thought someone else could interpret my brand for me. But they did. It was such a fun, amazing collaboration. They brought everything to life in a way I could never have imagined. Everyone alway says, “Hire people to do the things you can’t do.” And that’s what I kept repeating in my head.
The new orangey-red font all over your site is gorgeous! Where did that come from?
It’s from my signature red nails. They told me, “We did your logo in red because we noticed your nails.” Isn’t that great? They had such an eye. I didn’t want a black logo—my jewelry is all about color.
What was most important to you in terms of the look and functionality of your site?
What has always been important to me is that I want my website to be shoppable. I wanted it to be fun and playful.
How did the communication between you, the branding agency, and your web designer work?
Every step of it was a collaboration. My web guy I’ve been with for a long time. So it ended up being [all] of us talking all the time about what works, what doesn’t work. Make this font bigger, change this color, etc.
Tell me about the uppercase E logo—that single E with a dot over it—that you have everywhere on the new site.
We call it the “E Dot,” and I like to say the dot represents the chickenpox [scar] I’ve always had on my forehead!
Follow Emili Vesilind on Instagram: @emilivesilind