Happy Mother's Day
I was fortunate to grow up with the example of not just a working mom in my life, but a seriously impressive, incredibly hard-working, talented designer who built a business from scratch with the help of my father. In my world, I didn’t see a disparity between women and men in terms of what they could earn, what they could achieve in the workplace, and the contributions they could make professionally. I learned later in life that these gender differences exist out in the world, but in my Sorrelli/Oswald family bubble, my mom was a force to be reckoned with.
(Lisa working at her jewelry bench in Brooklyn with Lily in the baby swing)
I can remember as early as 8 or 9 years old my mom teaching me how to use the little toothpicks she had covered with beeswax to pick up crystals and semi precious stones, and carefully place them in bezels to be set in our Stoning Department. I learned how to mix our epoxy glue and set stones just right, then close the prongs delicately to prepare the pieces for orders.
(Lisa with Lily after picking corn & flowers)
When I got to high school, my mom would ask me my advice, as a young teenager, about new designs she was working on. Did I like them? Did I want to wear them? I would scope out the new pieces and try them on, giving her editorial feedback from my 13 year old lens.
(Lily, Lisa, & Collin)
Fast forward a few years, and my mom taught me to solder at her designer bench, the torch in my left hand, and a pair of tweezers in my right, working to mirror the skill she had been perfecting for over 25 years at that point. I was terrible at it at first, flooding all of my pieces with too much solder, applying too much heat, and generally doing more harm than good to the pieces I was trying to build. Over time, I got a little better, but I’m nowhere near as proficient as my mom and sister, and the many artisan women who make our products every day.
(Lisa with daughters Ivy & Lily in the Holiday 2020 Collections)
I still work with my mom to edit our collections and she still cares about my opinion 20 years later, as she brings new design ideas to the table and shares inspiration. Just yesterday we chatted about a crystal flower concept she’s working on for Spring ‘22. We collaborate on color development, mixing semi precious stones and the newest crystal hues to create combinations that will delight our customers.
(Lisa with her sister Susie & daughter Lily in front of a Keith Haring tag in Brooklyn)
My experience with working with my mom has always been collaborative and iterative. Mostly I’ve learned from her - Learned that women can do anything they put their minds to - Learned that involving your kids early in your career can only broaden their horizons - Learned that when you give someone trust and responsibility, even if that someone is just a 13 year old kid, they just might take you seriously and follow in your footsteps.