Elizabeth Whitcomb has always gotten a thrill from dabbling in new hobbies—take, for example, her childhood fascination with whittling. But once she grew up and left Rhode Island, Elizabeth took a more academic approach to her interests, studying art history at Barnard and then pursuing a masters in food studies at NYU. Around the same time, she started helping out with operations at her cousin’s Brooklyn art collective, Fort Makers, and when her new co-workers noticed her interest in sculpture and jewelry-making, they encouraged her to join the group as a full-fledged maker member.
Once she wrapped up her grad degree, Elizabeth put it to use, moving to sunny L.A. for a job at a food-delivery startup, but she found herself longing for the work she’d left on the other coast. “I really missed doing things with my hands, so I started making jewelry pieces in my kitchen. I didn’t think anyone would really buy it,” Elizabeth explains. She was wrong about that second part, and her designing side hustle came in handy when her employer closed up shop. She took it as a sign, moved back to New York, and started selling her elegantly rough-hewn silver rings, earrings, and pendants under the name Tapley in 2015. “I still feel a little bit of imposters syndrome, and it took me awhile to be say I’m a jewelry designer,” admits Elizabeth. But rest assured: She’s very much the real deal.