Instagram has been around for just seven years, which is pretty crazy to think about. What started out as a place to add filters to your photos and share them with your friends has now evolved beyond that in so many ways. Most notably, in the fashion world, it has become a place where entrepreneurs can grow their businesses and connect with their followers and customers. And as a fashion editor, it’s fascinating to watch young brands paving a path for themselves in a way that wasn’t really possible before. One brand that recently grabbed this editor’s attention is Bagatiba, an L.A.-based jewelry line founded by Jessie Andrews.
Go on to find out more about Bagatiba, how Andrews carved out a place in the fashion world, and how she’s using social media to grow her brand.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Tell us about the background of Bagatiba and how you got your start.
JESSIE ANDREWS: I started Bagatiba in 2012. I wanted to make good-quality, on-trend, affordable jewelry for girls like me. I came up with the phrase “lavish yet affordable” and have stuck with that since. There wasn’t really a middle ground between Forever 21 and Cartier, at least that I knew of at the time, so I wanted to fill that gap! I started with 10 pieces of 10 designs. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to start small. For three years between three other jobs, I continued to handmake, ship, photograph, and run the business from a desk in of my apartment. From there, I started exploring social media, fulfillment, working with stylists and magazines. Bagatiba has grown from a passion project into such a beautiful business—it’s a true expression of my creative ability from photography to design to logistics. I still look at every order that comes in like it’s the first, in awe of someone’s interest in my art. I think the most important thing that I’ve done with Bagatiba is not oversaturate it in the market and through social media. I gift friends and girls I really like—that’s what’s grown the business slow and steady for five years. Patience is key.
WWW: What advice would you give young female entrepreneurs?
JA: Love what you do, do it well, and the rest will come easy.
WWW: There are over 112K people in the world who follow you on Instagram. What’s your secret?
JA: Don’t shove things in people’s face. I post art, inspiration, and detail pictures that I personally take. One important secret to all my businesses is to make your brand tangible. I love reposting photos of girls that take great shots. It makes the brand appealing to any woman. She can buy Bagatiba and possibly make it on the ’gram. I see some brands’ Instagrams that are so curated it makes me sick. I love controlled chaos. My social media may look like a mess, but it’s well thought-out, approachable, and interesting.
WWW: Who is the Bagatiba girl?
JA: The Bagatiba girl is lavish yet affordable. She’s natural, effortless, and on trend but timeless. Her jewelry complements her, not overshadows her beauty.
WWW: How important is the role celebs and influencers play in your brand?
JA: It’s big, but I wouldn’t contribute the entire growth of my business to it. I think ambassadors (aka friends) are the greatest assets. A celebrity or influencer is going to wear your jewelry once or twice and not tag you in a photo or answer where they got it from. Your friend is going to wear your jewelry every day, send you to the website, make you follow the Instagram, and buy something.
WWW: Which popular jewelry trends will we stop seeing this spring?
JA: I reckon oversize necklaces and earrings. More textures like rock and glass. I don’t really build Bagatiba for trends, even though I may follow one if I’m into it. I’ve been making my D2C Necklace that Kendall Jenner wears every day for four years, and it’s now just become a trend. If I keep designing things that I like to wear, hopefully they’ll come into style before I discontinue them.
My main focus right now is creating multi-wear fashion, things you can wear more than one way, to maximize your purchase. I make hoops that are oversize statement pieces, but if you take the second half of it off, it becomes an everyday essential.
WWW: What are the biggest spring jewelry trends to start wearing now?
JA: Besides your grandmother’s jewelry? Bagatiba.
Go on to shop pieces from Bagatiba.
Timeless and classic earrings.