I absolutely love featuring local designers so I was thrilled when Rachel Mulherin agreed to answer a few questions for me. Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, we were both based in Baltimore during the same time. She’s someone I admire very much, and I love following her stories on instagram, watching her make big, BIG moves with her jewelry brand.
1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to open your shop? How long have you been a jewelry designer?
So I am Rachel Mulherin. I am 34 years old and currently living in Jersey City, New Jersey and I am a jewelry designer and Owner + Creative Director of my brand, Rachel Mulherin. I went to Towson University and majored in Business and Marketing.
I’ve always been creative since as far back as I can remember – redesigning clothes or making vision boards for interior design, sewing, crafting, making pillows and headboards – and in college I started making jewelry as a hobby.
I’ve been making jewelry as a hobby for probably 15 years now, a business for 8-9 years or so. I had done a fashion internship in New York City over the summer of my senior year of college and quickly realized fashion PR probably wasn’t my thing but I fell in love with fashion all over again.
They made jewelry in house at the Showroom I worked at and I would see Vogue or celebrity stylists come in and request things and they’d whip them up in the studio. And that is sort of when I realized people make careers out of this. So I started an Etsy once I got back to Baltimore after that summer and enrolled in some design specific online courses and the rest is history.
2. When did you first launch your line?
I first launched my Etsy store in 2011 I think. That did surprisingly well and so I launched RachelMulherin.com about a year after that.
3. Why did you decide to move to NYC from Baltimore? Was it to further your career? And if so, have you found that there are more fashion opportunities in the Big Apple?
It has always been a dream of mine to live in NYC. The energy and inspiration are just unmatched. My partner was launching a business that needed to be headquartered in NYC and I was leaving my day job to do this full time and so it was just time.
We made the move in the last quarter of 2018. There are so many fashion opportunities in NYC. I always attend New York Fashion Week but also had joined a womens coworking space.
It’s easy to meet people in the industry up here and brands are always having events. It’s been sort of an interesting move though because about a year in, covid had made its way up here and everything shut down. So I’m eager to get back to networking this year.
4. How often do you design and release new pieces?
I typically release pieces twice a year. A Spring/Summer collection and then Fall/Holiday. I try to release in real time though. And I definitely sprinkle a few new pieces in throughout the year.
5. Which designers inspire you?
So many, but I have always obsessed over Diane Von Furstenberg. I love her more is more approach and she’s just an incredible woman with an incredible career.
6. You use some truly beautiful geodes in your jewelry! Are you always on the lookout for these beauties? And what comes first, your design idea or finding the perfect geode.
Thank you! 🙂 So a little bit of both. I’m always on the hunt for stones. But sometimes I will be inspired by something else, a picture, colors, an outfit, whatever it is, and then hunt to source the perfect stones. There is usually some sketching of general ideas and then matching materials to work with those sketches and having hardware made to go along with it if needed.
7. What are some of your most popular pieces?
I would say I’m definitely known for statement earrings. My best seller in a normal year is probably the ‘Adalyn’ earring. She’s an Amethyst set with our signature teardrop CZ – really popular with brides, especially because you’ll get so much wear out of them after.
Then ‘Gemma’, which you see those bright geodes in every color, set with our tear drop CZ. And then any of our evil eye jewelry is really popular. And currently the ‘Drew’ necklace which is a thicker gold chain – I wear her a few times a week. Currently my favorite ear is ‘Amina’ though but that’s because I’m a more-is-more kinda girl!
8. What’s the most challenging thing about being a business owner? Which hats do you enjoy wearing and which do you “dread,” if any?
So the most challenging thing for me is just doing it all. Balancing my creative hat with the business hat. It’s hard to flip flop back and forth. Stress doesn’t necessarily facilitate creativity and so it can be really difficult and overwhelming. Especially these last couple years in the pandemic.
I’m really proud that I was able to keep everything going but trying to pivot and source new things in a pandemic was hard. Events shut down, so there goes the statement earring market. I had to do a quick pivot and focus more on our every day jewelry. Which may not sound hard but silver, gold, supplies, shipping channels, everything was effected in the pandemic and some things still are.
I love designing and making new things, I love helping people pick things out, love doing event or bridal earrings and designing custom pieces. I absolutely love when we have photoshoot days and I really get to style and see things come to life. My least favorite would probably be shipping. Although we just got all new packaging that’s really beautiful so I have found that the packing/shipping experience is much more enjoyable for me now.
9. What’s a typical day look like for you as owner, designer and creative director of RM!
So, every day is a little different, and it really depends on the time of year. Holiday gets wild. But I try to start every morning quietly with my tea and my dog on the balcony, weather permitting.
That’s my thing, and I sit there and figure out my day. And then I usually workout and get ready, look over orders, order any supplies I need, make some jewelry, take some photos or videos of said jewelry before packing it up. And then I’ll either drop them either downstairs for pickup or walk over to UPS.
My dog Kobe does all of this with me which is really the highlight of working for myself. But each day is a little different. Some days I’m making marketing emails or photographing new pieces and making content/reels.
Sometimes I’m planning events and building flower walls and everything that goes along with that. I’ve also recently started thrifting and I sell vintage jewelry boxes on our site now. It’s a very small part of the business but it’s fun for me and brings me a lot of joy.
10. Do you plan on opening a brick and mortar in the future?
So I never say never, but I don’t think so. At least not right now. We generally do two big events each year with Four Seasons. Obviously they have been cancelled with COVID. But we set up a party and people can shop in person for a night. We will have to pivot with that a bit now too post pandemic but we’ll make it work!
I’m more interested in smaller pop-up events now. I’d probably love it because I love interacting with people and working alone can be hard, but brick and mortar is expensive and people really shop online these days. I do want to have an office that acts as a showroom where people could make appointments to shop though. That’s on my vision board for sure!
A huge thanks to the amazing Rachel Mulherin for agreeing to be interviewed. I hope you enjoyed reading about her and her business as much as I did. I always love reading about real hustles, and she’s definitely someone that does it all. For those of you looking to gift something really special this holiday season, make sure to check out her line.
There’s so much to love, but I’m big on dainty pieces so my favorite RM piece is the Alba (pictured above, shot by the amazing Jan Galvan). Alright friends, that’s a wrap for today’s post! Definitely make sure to stay tuned for more posts coming your way. I update every Monday, Thursday and Saturday so check back then. Big hugs!