September is one of the biggest months for fashion, did you go to any shows or was your jewelry featured in any of the shows?
No, not this season. I just moved to Los Angeles, so we are setting up shop on the West Coast.
Is there anything or any designer in particular that you’re looking forward to seeing this season?
I like Zimmerman. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them.
Who are your top three favorite designers?
No one in particular… whatever inspires me at the moment... I’m obsessed with this season’s hottest color Bordeaux. I just got an amazing velvet Gucci fanny pack in that color and a killer pair of the over the knee boots from Zara. I love wearing a great mix of high and low designers. My style is simple, but chic. I also love to layer with great accessories.
When did you know that you wanted to be a stylist? How did you break into the fashion industry? What was your first job like?
While studying Film & TV Production in my junior year of college at Clark Atlanta University, my professor introduced me to Costume Design & Wardrobe Styling. I loved fashion but at that time there were very few stylists so I didn't think there were many opportunities. My professor gave me a handbook that included a directory of Costume Designers and Stylists working in the industry. I called every single person on the list, every day for 6 months straight. One of them finally answered and offered me my first internship on the set of Monica's "The Boy is Mine" CD cover photo shoot. Since the first day I stepped foot on set, I knew I found my passion and was doing exactly what I wanted to do.
What is your favorite part of being a stylist?
My favorite part of styling has been the opportunity to travel the world and setting trends via my clients.
What trends can we expect to see this fall?
Wearing just one statement earring, pleated dresses and velvet booties and everything in the wine color palette
What advice can you give anyone who wants to be a stylist?
Assist, assist, and assist! I assisted for two and a half years before I went out on my own. Assisting gives you the opportunity to make mistakes on someone else's job
How was your experience on House of Glam?
House of Glam was a great experience. I learned a lot about TV production. We shot for almost one year, which is unheard of in the Reality TV world, which consumed a great deal of my time. I also launched my jewelry collection on the show, which opened the door for so many other opportunities, not to mention, it was great for sales.
How did you make the transition from a stylist to jewelry designer?
As a celebrity stylist for over 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in entertainment from Mariah Carey and Jay-Z to Patti Labelle and Will Smith as well as some of the top designers in fashion. When styling clients for red carpet, videos, commercials and performances I often have to design and custom-make a lot of their wardrobe. Creating my own jewelry collection was a natural progression. I chose accessories because I’ve always been drawn to jewelry. Jewelry, unlike clothing is more personable, it tells a story and completes your look.
I started designing jewelry in 2008 while on maternity leave with my daughter Lyra. I don’t think I will ever completely give up styling. It's the foundation of who I am as far as who I am in my career. I've just become more selective on the projects I accept and my role has just changed a bit. I'm more of a Creative Director... Style Expert then a Stylist. With years of experience and the wealth of knowledge I’ve gained, my role is less hands on and more of a consultant.
Tell us about Crystal Streets Jewelry.
Crystal Streets Jewelry is a company that I was inspired by my love for all things celestial and reminiscent of a night’s sky. We design fashion jewelry, fine jewelry and bridal. I design engagement ring for the modern woman. There aren’t many black diamond dealers who are women, I am very proud to be among the .2%. We source our diamonds from South Africa.
What are the major differences between a stylist and being a designer?
Becoming a jewelry designer was something that I’ve always wanted to do even when I was styling. Many stylists start their looks with shoes or a dress and then they build on that, but I would always start my looks with accessories and I was obsessed with that.
As I mentioned earlier, another reason why I began my jewelry company after I had my daughter in 2008, the service business was very taxing on my time. I just wanted to be present, so while on maternity leave, I launched my jewelry collection and it took off. So the biggest difference for me is, it’s a service business vs. a product business. I can now make money while I’m sleep.
What did you learn as a stylist that has better prepared you to become a jewelry designer?
What I've learned the most from the industry is how important is to be an entrepreneur. Styling is not just about picking out great looks for your clients, it's a business and it's takes a great team to be successful. I’ve definitely transitioned this philosophy as a jewelry designer
What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and how did you over come them?
The diamond business has been such a crazy experience for me, not only am I a minority, I’m a Black woman with blond curly hair. I think in the beginning they thought that I worked for someone. Honestly, it’s a secret society. So I definitely had to build relationships.
What has been the most important lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Never use your own money to start a business.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur?
Be prepared to work longer hours, you get what you put in. You have to be more discipline when you work for yourself. There will be times when you want to give up, but that’s probably right before the moment things get better. Don’t be a quitter that is not an option.
You will also need to get a great team. If you’re looking to get an investor, ask for the triple the amount you actually need—think long term. Be sure to make a five to 10 year financial plan. You should also know everyone’s responsibility of your business before you pass on or hire someone to be in charge of it.
As an entrepreneur and a mother, how to unwind and find your balance?
Balance is the key to my happiness. I find that when I’m happy, everyone feels it in my household. So, for me that entails taking time for myself everyday whether that’s with meditation, working out, a massage/facial or online shopping that’s how I unwind. You have to love yourself first before you can love anyone. I also don’t believe you can have it all; I believe you can have it all, but not all at the same time.
Who inspires you?
My tribe inspires me. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by powerful, dynamic women who are amazing moms and entrepreneurs. My friendships are what keep me grounded, grateful and laughing—hehehee…
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for my children, Zen and Lyra. I never thought I would experience so much in motherhood, but I absolutely love it, it’s the most rewarding hat that I wear.
What’s next for Crystal Streets?
As I mentioned earlier, I just moved to LA and I am planning to open my first West Coast location in 2018, a diamond atelier. I will continue to build my career in the diamond industry, dominate the red carpets with my jewels and continue to design engagement rings for the modern woman.
I want to educate my people. I feel like we’ve been ripped off for so many years, because we lack knowledge. We need to be educated about our own natural resources that we don’t own, let alone are aware of. We need to take ownership, so we can have a seat at the table.
What are the top three products in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal—what can’t you live without?
I am all about serums! My every day lineup is IS Clinical Active Serum, Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic and Environ C Boost.
To keep up with Crystal you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter. You can also follow Crystal Streets Jewelry on Instagram and Twitter.