As a style entrepreneur with boutiques, spas and salons, a regular on The Rachael Ray Show, and author of Style and the Successful Girl, Gretta Monahan loves talking personal style. She shares the story behind these colorful earrings, made by a female designer and entrepreneur.
How did these beautiful earrings come into your life? "Esmeralda Lambert is a designer who came here to be a student and go to business school. She came into our store, admired and loved it, and I met her and thought, 'What a cool girl.' She told me the whole story of her company, which she started [while] earning her MBA at Babson University. She's Dominican, and her whole family is from the DR. She wanted to start a company where she could go back and not only purchase from the DR, but get some of the work done there. So that's why she started her jewelry company."
Entrepreneurial spirit must resonate with you personally! "Yes, I'm a person who started a small business myself, and I'm always interested in women who are making their way and doing something different, and helping other women. It's a soft spot for me. I love her products because they're not too expensive, and it kind of gives you a little smile and it's unique."
There's definitely a connection between the traits required to express one's unique personal style, and to start a business. "Yeah, I think jewelry is personal, and people's personal style is what I've made my entire world about. From my stores to working in TV, it's been about helping people make that connection and embrace their personal style, where they feel the best they can. So when I wear those earrings, or anything special to me, I would say there's a sense of empowerment and pride in how we adorn ourselves. It's been going on for centuries and it doesn't really matter what you pay for it—what matters is the story behind us and how it makes you feel, and it becomes part of your story. I think that kind of connection I have with a young woman setting out, making her name and hanging her own shingle means a lot."
What do you love about the look of these earrings? "Aesthetically, I love that they're fun, they have their own look and feel. They really do stand out! [Lambert] really brings to her design the sensibility of an island vibe—in a very glamorous way. And I like that. My book, Style and the Successful Girl, is less about the clothing and more about trying to help women make their way and put the right recipe together to make them feel great in their own skin and with their own style—so they feel their most confident. Whenever I wear something I love, anything I believe in, I always feel my best."
They have almost a vintage look. "I collect a lot of old antique and vintage [pieces], and I love the vibe that this is sort of fun and feels very much like vacation wear, but some of her designs do feel kind of 'old' in their own way. So I mix it with my own goods, and I love it. I love to wear variety. I always wear high-low, designer with not. I like to focus on names people don't hear every single day. I like to see what new people are bringing forward. If they have the desire, and a real statement to make, that really matters to me. And these earrings are a real conversation piece. I'll be at a meeting and someone will say, 'You know, I love your earrings!' And I find myself telling her story. I love that it brings the opportunity to spread the word and help women help each other."
Do you remember when you were young and just starting out? "I always tell my team, and people I work with, 'For me, it's a fresh start every day.' Yes, I've dressed thousands and thousands of women. But I think every experience is always evolving. My very first store is going to be 20 years old in 2015. I love things that keep me really close to the feeling of being new and fresh and learning. When you lose that, you're just on wash and repeat. And that's definitely not anywhere near where an artist or designer should be."