Jeniece Blanchet knew in her heart that it was only a matter of time before she became a designer. Blanchet, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, began her career as a stylist and quickly gained momentum. She went to Los Angeles for a birthday trip and relocated there at 21 years old. "I wasn't making a lot of money," she says. "Being uncomfortable made me hungry for success." That drive was what Blanchet needed to make her designer dreams a reality.
Styling was a means of creating and networking for Blanchet, though she had other plans. Since high school, Blanchet knew she wanted to use her hands as tools. "I really care about craftsmanship," she says.
Blanchet was still determining what design she wanted to pursue, but she set her mindset on figuring it out. Admiring and studying muses and jewelry designers like Loulou de La Falaise of Yves Saint Laurent, Blanchet drew was inspired by how La Flasise fused life and creation. This led Blanchet into a heavy research period of understanding the fundamentals of life and nature before assessing her next steps, leading her to jewelry design.
In 2018 Blanchet released her first metal pieces embossed with "The future of fashion is humility." This garnered the attention of musical artists like The City Girls' Yung Miami, and quickly after, Blanchet designed pieces for other artists and influencers like Tracee Ellis Ross, Ari Lennox, and Jayda Cheaves. Since then, Blanchet has continued to build her brand with unique earrings and creating custom jewelry upon request.
Ahead, she shares more about her journey, her love for metals, and how she manages to maintain passion, despite being a one-woman show.
How did you get into working with metal?
In 2018, I came across this motorcycle factory where I was walking around and noticed these broken pieces of metal. The sun was shining on them, and I remember thinking: I want to work with this. The guys at the shop were friendly and encouraged me to explore working with metals. Something about silver and chrome makes me feel futuristic, and visiting the factory encouraged me to start researching metals and creating my first pieces.
How did you begin to incorporate color and dimension into your pieces?
At the beginning of COVID, everyone was sad and feeling uncertain. I didn't feel as connected to chrome and metals, so I returned to my hibernation place, where I would walk around and go to the beach and farmers' market.
I met this man selling colored healing stones, and I got so inspired and wondered if they come in beads. This is it, I thought. Everything was so gloomy, and finding those stones helped me feel healed and grounded. Since then, I've incorporated those beads in recent designs like the Brown Glass Beaded Hoop and the Spinal Cord Hoops.
What were some of the early challenges you faced with your brand?
My earliest challenge was sharing what I loved with others to build my brand. I felt like I was constantly annoying people by posting my jewelry and my creations. As an artist, it's a vulnerable experience to share with the world, and I had to get over that hump of sharing.
What were some of your earliest proud moments?
I am proud of myself for my small achievements. The creation process is the most fun part. I'm filled with curiosity, and my proudest moments are when I wake up and start creating, like making time after work to make a set of earrings. I'm most proud when I have fun.
How did you conceptualize your designs?
I was playing with the earrings I had made, and one of the wires broke. The earring twisted on the table, and it looked really cool. That became one of my best-selling earrings, the infamous "Mixed Metal" hoops.
What are some sacrifices you had to make to start your brand?
I had to adopt a healthy, successful lifestyle to have a healthy, successful brand, and I needed to be around creative, like-minded, loving, and kind people. Reading more, getting up early, and being motivated, are just a few ways I practice a healthier lifestyle.
How did you start working with celebrities? Who was your first client?
I can't remember the first famous person I've worked with, but the hardest I've ever worked was on Doja Cat's Woman music video. I made nine outfits in a week while doing Complex Con. I didn't sleep for three days straight, and I did it and didn't look back. You never regret hard work.
What setbacks have you incurred as a one-woman team?
I recently became aware that being a one-person team was a setback. Everyone on set is needed and important in the film industry, and I wasn't in a place where I wanted to give anyone the power to help me. On set, you need to ask for help. I had to be honest with myself and realize that I needed help. I need a manager and will put myself out there to get the assistance I need. I don't want to be in a one-person army anymore. I want the brand to flourish and connect with other people.