Timeless style with a rock ’n’ roll edge: It’s the L.A.-girl way, thanks in large part to the efforts of a certain multihyphenate creative and her eponymous label. Just glance at any given West Coast street style image and you’re likely to be greeted with one of Anine Bing’s signature leather moto jackets, studded boots, stunning diamond jewelry, delicate lace bralettes, and cozy but forward graphic tees. The globetrotting Danish model turned entrepreneur (and mom of two!) launched her line in 2012 shortly after moving to L.A., and her career has been in the fast lane ever since.
She’s somehow still got more she wants to accomplish (more on that below), but like most Angelenos, she also knows the value of slowing down once in a while and really appreciating the moments that have brought her to where she is today. Which made her the perfect person to pose some serious career questions to—most importantly, how does she celebrate her biggest wins? As it turns out, she’s majorly into natural diamonds, and we can see why… Is there anything more one-of-a-kind, long-lasting, or symbolic of the pressure one must endure on the road to success?
On that note, keep reading for words of wisdom from one of the coolest women we know (and shop some diamond jewelry worthy of your next career win).
First off, how would you describe what you do for a living to someone who doesn’t know the industry?
I’m the founder and chief creative officer of Anine Bing, so essentially I design clothes and work with a really talented team to create the pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe.
Looking back, what accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?
There have been so many moments, but there are a few key ones I will never forget. When we opened our first store, that was a huge moment for me, seeing our brand in such a big way. More recently, we received our first round of funding, and taking that investment was a huge step for our brand and me personally. It was really important to me that we partnered with the right people.
As the founder of a hugely successful company that women everywhere (including myself!) adore, do you feel like a success? What was your picture of a “successful woman” when you were younger?
My grandmother was my ultimate idol when I was younger. She was the coolest woman—so fearless, and so true to herself and her style. She always told me to dress for myself. She taught me that how you look should always be for you and no one else. I’ve taken that advice throughout my whole life and learned that my idea of success is for me and no one else. I love what I do and what I get to create every day.
What’s the first meaningful purchase you remember treating yourself to?
I have always invested in pieces that are made to last for a long time… One of my first big purchases was a vintage Chanel bag. It was the nicest thing I had ever owned, and I knew I would keep it forever. I feel the same way about diamonds: These are pieces I’ll pass down to my daughter, Bianca, so it’s important to me that my jewelry is high-quality and meaningful so that it will last.
What makes diamonds so special to you?
My grandmother had the most beautiful diamond pieces; I used to play dress-up with them every time we went to her house. Now I have so many of her pieces that I know I will pass down to my daughter. Bianca already loves playing around with my jewelry; she’s touched it and admired it since she was a baby, probably because the pieces were sparkly and shiny. But I’m excited to teach her how to appreciate those types of things the older she gets.
What is a typical day like for you? Are there any misconceptions that people may have about your days?
My day-to-day is so different, there’s really no routine. Some days I’m in the design studio all day and some days I don’t even step foot in the office because I’m checking in on our stores or have meetings offsite. Also I think people would be surprised to hear that not everything I do is 100% creative. I’m starting to learn more about the business side of things so I’m in revenue meetings and meetings with our board. Sometimes we have to get down to business, but even those moments I love because I’m learning so much.
What’s your work wardrobe like? Is there anything you wear every single day?
I have a few go-to looks that I wear almost every day. My uniform is usually a good pair of jeans, a graphic tee, a leather jacket or blazer, and my diamond jewelry. I feel the most confident in an outfit like that—something that I know looks good and can take me through the day no matter what I’m doing. Oh, and I always have to wear a good pair of boots. Something to finish the look with a lower heel so I’m comfortable running from meeting to meeting.
Can you tell us more about the jewelry? We’re curious to see what one of our favorite accessories designers wears on the regular.
I feel like a little bit of sparkle goes a long way, especially if I’m wearing a more casual outfit. I love layering—the more jewelry, the better. Of course, I wear pieces from my line that I designed for myself. And a ton of rings; I have this square diamond ring, plus these two diamond rings from Roseark that wrap around the finger—they’re really luxurious and look vintage. I inherited the square ring from my auntie after she passed away. It’s not necessarily an everyday ring for me, but it’s so special and makes me think of her every time I put it on.
Aside from the ring from your aunt, how did these pieces find their way to you? They seem really unique.
I love that each of these pieces has come into my life in different ways from people I love and from gifts I’ve given to myself to celebrate some really special moments in my life. The tennis bracelet was custom-made and given to me by my husband; I wear it almost every day.
The Anita Ko ring was a gift I got myself after a really tough month toward the beginning of starting our company. I was really proud of all the work we were doing, and wanted to celebrate with something I would wear and have forever. That time in the business wasn’t so glamorous.
We were working really long days, and there were a few moments I really doubted if we were going to be able to pull everything off. After we got out on the other side, that gift to myself was a moment that made me feel pretty and put-together and proud that I could buy something like that because of how well the business was doing.
Let’s talk a bit about those tougher moments. What are some weird challenges people might not have realized you faced as you built your company?
There are so many struggles that go into building a company. When we were first starting out, I was pregnant, so in between packing and shipping boxes, I would take little naps in my car because I was so tired; we were working around the clock. Also, when you’re first starting out, you do everything yourself. At the beginning, Annika (our COO) and I would quality-check every single piece of clothing and every shoe; if there was a string out of place, we had to remove from every pair ourselves.
Why is it important to celebrate yourself and your achievements?
I love the idea of treating yourself. I think women are always trying to do it all; every day, I try to be the best mother, wife, and boss, and sometimes I forget to focus on myself or reward myself for my hard work. In those big moments in my career, it’s felt really empowering to show myself some love and celebrate everything I’ve accomplished.
We love that! What are some career goals you’d still like to accomplish?
I want to continue to learn more about the business side—that doesn’t come as naturally to me. I have this creative brain that loves designing and being hands-on, but I don’t feel as comfortable with the financial side of things or the business strategy portion of our business. It’s something I want to focus on and gain even more knowledge in.
I really want to take my company to the next level. I want to build a modern fashion house for women—one that’s built for their lives and the clothes they need to build a uniform that makes them feel their best. I can’t wait to keep expanding and opening stores. I want to make Anine Bing a global name.
And finally, we’ve got a few quick closing questions… Think fast!
Gold or silver?
What’s your favorite diamond shape?
I’m classic. I love a simple, round shape (like my engagement ring).
Vintage or custom?
I’m more drawn to vintage, but I do love the pieces I own that are custom.
Are you a minimalist, or do you “excessorize”?
I love to layer the delicate pieces; the more the better.
Ankle jewelry: yay or nay?
Haven’t ever tried it, but I might if I designed my own.