How Jennifer Fisher conquered adversity and turned it into a thriving global business
-Aug 20, Jenny Paul, Living -
We’re going to be profiling many of our favourite inspiring women over the next few months. There’s nothing better than reading about women who have conquered adversity, tragedy and then gone on to conquer the world.
Inspiring women are simply the best and one of the many who we know and love here at Lumity is Jennifer Fisher.
The New York-based mother-of-two and jewellery designer to the stars has a client list that reads like an Academy Awards night invite list. She counts other inspiring women including Rihanna, Uma Thurman, Gwen Stefani, Cara Delevingne, Justin Timberlake and Rita Ora amongst her many A-list fans, and her distinctive pieces can be spotted on red carpets and on the pages of glossy fashion magazines across the globe every single week.
With a flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York and a list of high-end stockists across the globe, including Barneys and Net-A-Porter, Jennifer’s certainly a force to be reckoned with and has taken the industry by storm since she started the Jennifer Fisher Jewellery brand just over a decade ago.
But behind her instantly loveable personality and savvy entrepreneurial spirit lies a very personal story of Fisher’s ultimately triumphant battle with a rare tumour, chemotherapy and infertility – which in turn helped to forge her entire brand.
We were delighted when Jennifer agreed to give us an interview and were dying to learn more, she’s not just one of the inspiring women who we look up to and we wanted to know what pieces of wisdom she has gleaned over the years.
You’re our favourite jewellery designer – not just because everything you create is so unique and doesn’t seem targeted at a mass market like so many jewellery companies – but also we feel your personality stamped all over each and every piece. You’re so rock and roll and positive. What drives and motivates you?
First of all, I am flattered. Thank you so much. I am constantly driven and motivated by the customers who buy my jewelry. Something about the momentum and excitement that you see from a customer, it is a natural high that keeps you going. The energy makes you want to make more and do more. I love meeting my customers and I have them to thank because they are what keep us going. Trying to be a positive role model for my kids – that really pushes me. You have to work for things and children need to learn that.
Can you tell us about how the brand was born? It sounds like when you gave birth to your son you also gave birth to an entire new business! It can’t have been easy though. We would love to hear the story behind it all.
I worked as a fashion stylist for 10 years on major national ad campaigns. When I was 30, I was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor while I was living and styling in NYC for an LA based director. I received multiple rounds of chemotherapy at Cedars Sinal in Los Angeles and at St Vincents in New York.
When Kevin (my husband) and I wanted to have children, my oncologist didn’t think it was a good idea for me to carry a baby because my tumour grows from estrogen – so we went through the process of hiring a surrogate to carry for us in California. After multiple rounds of IVF where the surrogate was pregnant twice and miscarried twice, I came back to New York and decided to try IVF on my own, against my doctor’s orders.
Unsuccessful yet again, they recommended that Kevin and I adopt or get an egg donor. I needed a break from it all and took the summer off. That’s when I became pregnant with our son Shane, naturally. Against the wishes of my oncologist I carried the baby. A perfectly healthy pregnancy and baby boy later, I learned that my tumor had actually shrunk from the pregnancy.
After Shane was born, I began receiving jewelry gifts to represent him in the form of single letters that were very dainty. Shane’s birth was a major deal for us and I wanted something to wear that represented him in a way that felt like me. When I couldn’t find anything I liked I decided to go up to 47th Street in New York and have something made.
My first piece of jewellery was a dog tag to represent Shane. I was wearing the dog tag every day while on set styling and started to get multiple requests for the same necklace. I then happened to make a necklace for Uma Thurman that she ended up wearing on the cover of Glamour Magazine. Jennifer Fisher Jewellery was born.”
We love that idea of inspiring women helping each other to build their brands. What happened next?
“After six years of selling fine jewelry I had garnered a pretty significant following. In order to offer jewelry to a growing customer base as well as supply magazines with what they needed I decided to expand the line with the launch of the brass collection, focusing on large statement pieces at a more accessible price point.”
Having a rare tumour, being told you couldn’t conceive and going through chemo must have been devastating. But here you are with two kids and a thriving global business. What’s your advice to other inspiring women who are going through something similar? What kept you going and fighting during the dark times?
Just believing in yourself and if your product is not for one person that does mean it is not for another person. If someone is negative towards you or your work, check that mental note and remember that later in life. What kept me going? An innate feeling that I would be okay, I always tried to stay positive even in the hardest moments.
Your brand has taken the celebrity (and the rest of the) world by storm – your pieces are spotted on A-list stars on red carpets across the globe. That must be so rewarding and exciting. What would you say the biggest life and business lessons you have learned on the way to the top and what would your message be to other inspiring women and aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Trust your gut. Separate your fashion (work) friends from your real friends. Have a team that has your back as people come and go – everyone is replaceable. Don’t take it personally because they will, that is a big lesson I have learned.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned in your life?
Nothing is for free.
As a busy working mother how do you do it all? Do you have one secret that you can share that helps you cope and balance all those demanding areas of your life?
I am still figuring it out but a good martini and at least seven hours of sleep is helpful. Don’t forget your Lumity before bed.
Tell us about what inspires you when you’re creating new pieces… how does the magic happen?
I am inspired by everything. Architecture, art, lighting and design to name a few. Just now I saw a piece of metal on the back of a trunk which I photographed for next season’s inspiration board.
And what’s next for Jennifer Fisher?
Jennifer Fisher Kitchen. Stay tuned.
If you’d like to shop Jennifer’s jewellery you can buy online here. You can shop her new collection, (the classic hollow hoops are an A-list must-have and the iconic Samira Hoops are back in stock after being sold out globally) or you could build your own necklace and personalise it. Looking for a special gift for a child? – you can’t go wrong with Jennifer’s JF Junior range, take a peek at Jennifer Fisher Kitchen (we hear rumours about curry salt), and we are of the firm belief that no wardrobe is complete without at least one piece from Jennifer’s fine jewellery collection.
Did you enjoy this? Perhaps you’d like to read about other inspiring women? – Here’s what Helena Christensen told us when she sat down for a five minute chat, and one of our other favourite inspiring women – British Olympian Rebecca Adlington also gave us a brilliantly frank and honest interview recently as well.