We met up with Katie Caplener, founder of VADA Jewelry, at the beautiful interiors of local restaurant Gardner to discuss launching her own line of fine jewelry and heirloom pieces. Katie’s effortlessly cool style is reflected in her jewelry line with pieces that are designed to last a lifetime. Inspired by her grandmother’s collection, Katie set out to build a business based around her own love of design and jewelry. Be sure to visit her online store for even more of her collection.
What’s your background?
My background is 100% retail. Jewelry became an obsession when I inherited a big plastic tub of jewelry from my grandmother when she passed away years ago. It was filled to the brim with everything from plastic flower brooches, to Zuni squash blossom necklaces to oversized brass collars, to gold pawn shop rings awaiting a meltdown. Since then I have filled many plastic tubs with a range of jewels. I now have acquired a taste for older more special Victorian and Georgian Era pieces, but I will never pass up good chunky lucite.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration is truly everywhere, especially in Austin. If I need to clear my head and hit the restart button I always go to Barton Springs. The water is pure magic.
Who are your style icons?
My style icon today is Iris Apfel. She has such an attitude and opinion on life and style. In her words, “More is more and less is a bore.”
Wake up and DO NOT drink coffee. I am a lunatic on caffeine and can’t get anything done. So I usually go straight to checking my email, making a to-do list, then checking on production for VADA. Now that I am not in a 9-5 my days are all so different. I haven’t fallen into a routine yet.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? Why?
This ugly ID bracelet my father gave my mother in the 80’s. It’s so bad. It says “Susan” in the most awful font and I never take it off.
Don’t always listen to everyone’s advice. When running your own business people generally want to give you tons of advice most of which instills a paralyzing fear that you won’t be able to do it. At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s best for you and what you want your brand to become.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen.” – Dad
Shop Katie’s Look:
Photography by Alysha Rainwaters