Well, a lot has happened since our last interview.... This Friday, we bring you some quarantine content. So take some ‘you’ time… Switch off the news, self-isolate and keep reading.
This week, I had the pleasure of chatting to Anna de Lanoy Meijer of Anna + Nina. Anna + Nina is a jewellery, clothing and homeware brand born in Amsterdam, inspired by the girls’ travels around the world. We hope you enjoy this week’s chat!
Hi Anna! Could you begin by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel that has influenced you today?
I was born in London and raised in a village just outside Amsterdam, near the forest. I was always outside and had a very happy childhood.
A girl of nature! So, how did you get started in the jewellery industry?
Nina was my neighbour and we both worked in Fashion. She brought home some jewellery from Bali and we started our business from there! My grandmother was a goldsmith and she collected stones and shells; always working with her hands. So I guess I was inspired by her from a young age as well.
"We use our gut feelings a lot; not a lot of business-planning has gone into this business!"
Sounds like a family passion. When did you decide to start up Anna + Nina and why?
We set up a small business selling jewellery to retailers and it grew organically. We decided to open a shop quite soon after that. I think we needed that creative outlet and we were drawn to the idea. We use our gut feelings a lot; not a lot of business-planning has gone into this business!
Well, it certainly seems to have worked out for you. How do you come up with new ideas for pieces?
The ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere: art shows, nature, movies, friends, Pinterest, vintage markets…
And has working with influencers always been key to the brand?
Yes! Although this too has always been an organic thing, never a plan. We work with people we have genuinely met, and we really like; not just because they have tonnes of followers!
That’s the way I approach collaborations too. I think people can see-through inauthentic advertising nowadays. What is your favourite thing about having started Anna + Nina jewellery?
All the places we’ve seen and the people we’ve met. We also love being able to have this amazing creative outlet that allows us to evolve and try new things.
Speaking of creativity, what is your absolute favourite piece that you have ever created?
A fish brooch with pearls coming out of the mouth… Nobody bought it, but it was such a cool piece!
Sometimes the things we love the most aren’t the most loved by others, but maybe that is what makes them special. What were your biggest challenges in starting up a business?
Oh… too many for one page! Finding staff, handling cash flow, changing production countries…We had lots of challenges.
That must make your success so much sweeter! What would you say makes Anna + Nina stand out?
Our brand, the shoots and art direction are the strongest elements of our work.
What has been your biggest “pinch-me” moment?
Our interview in Vogue, Liberty London buying into our collection, and opening our store in Antwerp.
"The trick is to keep the balance! Nobody’s perfect… "
Those are incredible milestones to achieve! What inspires your work?
People, movies, music, travelling, and magazines.
And what does your average day look like?
Ordinarily, I wake up, have breakfast with my kids, go to the gym, take the kids to school, go to the office, make coffee, start the day – most of it is meetings – and return home to have dinner with my kids and husband. I might read a magazine or go for a short walk after dinner and then go to sleep around 22.30. I repeat the whole thing the next day!
I’m also a fan of early bedtimes...Do you think you have a work/life balance?
I think I have finally got the hang of it, but the trick is to keep the balance! Nobody’s perfect…
It would be boring if they were! What words do you live by?
Life is for living!
100%. So what is next for Anna + Nina?
Like what you read? Head to Anna + Nina to find out more. Or if you fancy checking out some previous interviews you can find them here. All images are via Anna + Nina.