Today we’d like to introduce you to Mo Watkins.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Mo. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My mother was a very creative person who loved to make a splash with every outfit. She had a flair for the dramatic and avant-garde and often wore monochrome St. John knits, huge floral hats, red lipstick, blue eyeliner, and lots of gold jewelry. In 2012, she was visiting me in NYC and suffered a traumatic brain injury. When the hospital allowed her to be moved back to LA, I immediately quit my job and moved to be with her. Back home with no schedule and a sense of idleness, I found myself designing costumes, repurposing vintage jewelry, and learning how to make jewelry pieces of my own. After she passed away, I began to put more work into MoCoLa and it has grow and evolved tremendously. I consider the company a special way to honor her memory and celebrate feisty fashion mavens everywhere.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road. I’m self-taught and self-funded, and it has been a lot of trial and error, with many frustrating and sometimes expensive errors! I originally made every single piece myself, a process that was illuminating, but ultimately not sustainable. It took several manufacturers before I was able to find one that could deliver consistent quality, and now that I’ve solved the manufacturing part, advertising and sales is a whole other arena that I am just beginning to navigate.
Please tell us about MoCoLa.
MoCoLa is a whimsical and quirky jewelry company that makes unusual and out-of-the-box pieces like life-sized cicada cocktail rings, statement-sized heart earrings, and oversized scissor necklaces. I like bolder pieces that spark the imagination and reveal something about their wearer. I deeply care about the environment and social responsibility, so all pieces are Eco-conscious, made from recycled sterling silver, and handmade in Los Angeles.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I was to start over, I would design pieces and purchase materials with manufacturing in mind. Many manufacturers have order minimums so they can’t easily incorporate my one-of-a-kind gemstones, and some of my original designs were so intricate that manufacturers didn’t want to be bothered making them. I also would have taken more time developing my “brand.” I always wanted my brand to be inclusive and my pieces wearable, but I think I initially tried to appeal to everyone, instead of doing what appeals to me, and trusting that customers would know they could take any MoCoLa piece and make them their own.
- Prices range from $58-$1025
- Website: https://mocolajewelry.com
- Email: Mo@MoCoLaJewelry.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mocolajewelry
Emily Sandifer Photography