We talk with Polly Wales, Creative Director and Founder of her namesake jewelry brand, Polly Wales about her one-of-a-kind style and how she paved an untraditional way in the jewelry world.
What has been the most valuable lesson learned from starting your own business?
Accepting that people will come and go as the business changes. When you start a small business, all the people you work with feel like family and you can’t imagine ever putting your faith or trust in anyone other than those people. But over time people’s paths will diverge from yours and, because it’s your name above the door, you have to learn to trust someone new to carry things on. Learning how to do that has been really fulfilling because I’ve realized that there are so many people out there that can bring different perspectives and beauty to what we do.
How did you develop your style and what is your greatest inspiration for the pieces you make?
I have always been drawn to the idea of “imperfect beauty” and am intrigued by the ways we develop relationships with the objects we treasure – how the marks of wear and tear make pieces more precious to us as we journey through life with them. I wanted the jewelry to tell a story about real life in the same way that our skin tells the story about our real lives…for the jewelry to be able to enhance peoples’ beauty, as true and imperfect as it may be. This affinity for imperfection ultimately inspired the creation of my “Cast-Not-Set” technique which casts gemstones directly into molten gold. It’s a totally unique process that grew out of a research project for my Master’s studies. I have been developing and refining it for nearly 13 years.
What piece of advice were you given that has stuck with you?
The way we do things is completely different than the industry norm…we are unconventional in both the way we make the jewelry and the way we run the business. We have created a space within the jewelry world that didn’t exist before so there wasn’t anyone around to give us advice. We were renegades from the outset…there wasn’t (and still isn’t) a roadmap for us because the traditional rules don’t apply.
What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before bed to help you wind down?
This is an easy one! I start and end my days the same way…by hugging my children. Most mornings we wake up to at least one of the two of them having migrated to our bed.
What is your ideal amount of sleep and in what ways does it affect you at work?
I need A LOT of sleep. I spend most of my days on the bench designing and making the jewelry. My work is very detail oriented and requires a steady hand and I find that if I don’t get enough rest I’ll nod off at the bench!
What does your ideal day look like?
Lots and lots of time in my garden! We just bought a house in Highland Park, Los Angeles and I’m really enjoying being a homebody. My ideal day would also include a fire in our backyard and a dance party with my children!
What Brooklinen products are you most excited about when winding down?
I’m really fussy about pillows…to the point where I will bring my own pillow when I travel. I try to avoid feather down products so I really love the Down Alternative collection of pillows. They’re soft but still supportive and have the perfect amount of fill.