Shopping for jewelry can be a daunting—and financially humbling task whether you are buying something for yourself or for someone else. This is particularly true in an industry notorious for insane mark-ups that get passed off unbeknownst to the consumer.
To buck the old system and to shake up the status quo, this past July LA-based veteran designer, Shelley Gibbs Sanders along with her CEO husband Teddy launched their direct-to-consumer start-up solution—The Last Line, a collection of expertly designed and crafted jewelry that cuts out the middle man without sacrificing quality and passing the savings on to you.
Sanders, who studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design followed by learning the tricks of the trade with master jewelers in San Francisco before heading to Los Angeles, tells me, “I really enjoyed working for other people. I have created hundreds of designs through the years. I never wanted to do my own line until Teddy and I came up with the concept of The Last Line”.
Continues Sanders, ‘With The Last Line, I can design a wide range of styles and price points where there is something for everyone. I didn’t want to have to stick to one aesthetic or just design pieces that I would wear. That’s boring and confining. We wanted to create something massive and accessible to women of all ages whether you are a jewelry beginner or a seasoned collector. Jewelry has gotten so expensive especially with mark ups”.
Sanders’ collection, which officially launched July 20th with earrings and will soon include necklaces, bracelets, and finally rings, is two-fold including The Heart and The Soul. Sanders tells me, “The Heart, which includes pieces that represent the core of the brand are your everyday go-to pieces like studs, ear jackets, cuffs, pendants—basics that everyone needs for fine jewelry that are done perfectly with a modern twist. The collection is affordable for fine jewelry (prices start at $60 per earring) with classics that will offer something for everyone ”.
“The Soul includes pieces that are modern heirlooms in the making,” Sanders continues. “These pieces are made seven minutes from my house by a jeweler that I have worked with for over fifteen years. When I looked at the fine jewelry market no one was offering proper design that was affordable. The Soul collection pieces are handmade with love and are my attempt to bring the aesthetic of the iconic design houses to consumers without the mark up”. Regardless of which collection speaks to you, what you’ll find consistent is the premium put on the attention to detail and the use of quality stones that are set properly.
When it came to naming the business Sanders tells me, “Naming a business is very hard for me. I never name anything—I just describe it. I don’t like names. I put my mom on the job and when we landed on the name “The Last Line”, it just made sense. It could be the last line that I ever design (said in jest), the last line I will ever name, but more importantly hopefully it will be the last line of jewelry that anyone needs whether you’re looking for the perfect studs, huggies, an ear cuff, necklace, or ring”.
What I love about Sanders and her collection is that although she is insanely talented she doesn’t take herself too seriously. That playfulness is evident in many of her designs like her range of safety pin style earrings that add a touch of “punk luxe” that comes in every size and stone imaginable. I also appreciate her stick it to the man punk-rock attitude aimed squarely at industry she has been entrenched in for the last two decades.
Sanders tells me, “I was coming at this business from a selfish woman’s perspective in that if I have five thousand dollars to spend I want it to be the dopest piece I can find for that price—not some one thousand dollar item marked up to five thousand”. Who can argue with that logic?
In terms of what customers can expect from The Last Lineshopping experience Sanders tells me, “Right now we are still small enough where I can work directly with customers. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t feel like the Amazon of jewelry; we wanted to be available for our customers. People are sending us pictures of piercing positions so we can help determine the size that would fit best virtually. In fact for the holidays we plant to use live chats to simplify the shopping experience even more”.
Now that the company has been open for business for roughly two months I was curious what’s been the most challenging aspect of starting her own company rather then working for someone else. Sanders tells me, “As a perfectionist who wants her hands on everything I have had to learn when to let go and know when to keep my mouth shut. There is so much more to running a business then I thought. On the flip side we are getting orders everyday from people we don’t know who love our jewelry and that is priceless”.