Sutton Lasater stays busy. She serves as the vice president of West Model & Talent Management, the director of content strategy with Brazen and an instructor at Saint Louis University – oh, and she also runs her own extensive jewelry line, Sutton Lasater Jewelry. From beaded tassels to eclectic charms, Sutton Lasater Jewelry offers designs for a plethora of tastes and can be found at Byrd Designer Consignment Boutique and The Spotted Pig. We recently caught up with Lasater to find out more about her accessory endeavor.
Looking at your collection, it’s clear Sutton Lasater Jewelry covers multiple styles. There are some minimal pieces, some boho, some even a little preppy. How do you describe your design aesthetic?
I honestly design things that I would wear myself. I think personal style is a fluid concept that can be a mixture of many different aesthetics and can change based on your mood or what you’re doing that day. Everything I create has some similarities. For the most part, nothing is overly trendy. I focus more on classic metals than bright colors, stones or crystals. It is all refined “everyday” jewelry that could be worn for almost any occasion.
How did you begin working with jewelry, and when did you launch your line?
I have always loved to make things with my own hands. It’s a bit of a puzzle to take an idea and make it work and extremely satisfying to create something beautiful.
When I was in high school, my parents became caretakers for an elderly couple in our neighborhood. Mrs. Barca was a fashionable woman and collected costume jewelry her whole life. When my family helped the Barcas move into a nursing home, she gave me a five-drawer dresser filled with her costume jewelry collection. A lot of it was broken or outdated, so I started re-creating the pieces. When I first started selling jewelry, everything was a vintage re-creation. I liked working with those materials, but it wasn’t my personal style and took a lot of effort to source, so I eventually started searching for other materials.
Although I started making jewelry when I was a senior in high school, I didn’t register my business until after grad school, when I had more time to make jewelry, build a website and try to grow my business.
Do you have a favorite type of piece to design?
I love to make earrings! My personal jewelry style is pretty practical, and I like to wear earrings more than necklaces and bracelets because they are out of the way. I don’t make a ton of bracelets because sizing can be difficult. Even half of a centimeter makes a huge difference in the way a bracelet fits, and everybody’s wrists are different. It’s so important to me that customers get something they love and that works for them.
What is your creative process like? Where do you work, and how long does it take for you to make each piece?
I work in a spare bedroom in my apartment that serves as my office and overflow closet space. My desk has a big work surface and is always covered in supplies and pieces I’m working on.
If I know what I’m going to make, I can get things done pretty quick – usually five to 15 minutes. I try to envision the final piece when I purchase materials so I know I’m buying things that are practical for me to work with. If I have materials that I like but am not sure what to create with them, then it takes me a little longer to conceptualize, prototype and finalize the piece.
What do you look for when selecting materials?
Besides quality, I look for supplies that are unique and stand out. I try to find things that I haven’t seen other designers, especially in St. Louis, working with.
You create custom jewelry for weddings. What is the process like when you’re working with a wedding party?
First I talk with the bride to learn some basics: the theme or aesthetic of her wedding, color scheme, personal style, budget and any special requests. I will come to the next meeting with some jewelry suggestions, we will make revisions and a final decision, and then I’ll create the pieces. I always encourage brides to choose jewelry that their bridesmaids will wear after the wedding. Many brides pick out individual pieces for each bridesmaid so they can give them a truly personalized gift.