“The first piece I ever made was an ugly pair of earrings with a bird, a gun, and a heart,” says the charmingly dry jewelry designer Erica Weiner. “People still ask for them. I signed up for a craft fair in Philadelphia. I had like 20 pairs of earrings. I sold them all and made $600. I was so psyched. I thought, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’”
After that first earring design, things took off quickly for Erica, but it was a long road to get to that point—one filled with up-all-night dress-making gigs and apartments in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when the neighborhood was more starving artist than artisanal pizza.
Having grown up in Nansa, New Jersey—“a small, commuter town with all white people”—she was dying to get to New York. As a teenager, she would train it into the city and hang out on St. Marks Place, smoking cigarettes, getting piercings, and
wearing JNCO jeans. She went off to Vassar for college and got into art history and took classes that sparked her interest in ruins and souvenirs—a curiosity she incorporates into her trinket-flecked collection. “I like to buy something and know exactly how old it is and exactly what it was for,” she explains.
Her really big break came in 2005 when she scored a market appointment out of her Ludlow Street apartment with an Anthropologie buyer. “She placed a giant order—like 10,000 necklaces at once. I remember she asked, ‘If we get this P.O. to you now, can you deliver in four weeks?’ I said yes. Then I had to google what a P.O. was.”
Behind The Scenes
See the Antique Pieces Behind Erica Weiner’s Fine-Jewelry Collection 1909 The designer and this project? They go way back.Google 1909, and you’ll learn that that marked the year Robert Peary and Matthew Henson became the first explorers to reach the North Pole (um, awesome). It also happens to be the year Erica Weiner’s grandmother was born—and the name she chose for her fine-jewelry line. “We had this incredible access to antique jewelry. We would get so attached to certain pieces that we’d feel sad when we sold them. That’s how the collection 1909 started—my busi... READ MORE »
How Erica Weiner Found Rad Antique Furniture for Her Brooklyn Shop A hoarding habit we’re more than okay with.No offense to those peeps with top-notch shoe or stamp collections, but Erica Weiner has likely one-upped you with her stash of antique furniture. “When I see a great display case, I buy it, even if I don’t have anywhere to put it,” says the jewelry superstar. Luckily, her scores now have two homes: A sweet little spot on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan, and a killer space at 360 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. See what she’s done with the second place (a... READ MORE »
Erica Weiner Getting Married No surprise here: The jewelry designer’s Maine wedding was straight-up stunning.Flower-girl dress—from the thirties!—waiting for action.The biggest thing to go down in Erica Weiner’s life in 2011: She married her longtime BF Chris Anderson. And while the jewelry designer tried her damnedest to avoid falling down the wedding-blog rabbit hole—full of handmade napkin rings and souvenir menus—she did get a little swept away by the whole affair. But, as with everything she does, girlfriend owned i... READ MORE »