Michelle Berlinger

MichelleBerlinger.png

Michelle Berlinger

Founder & Designer at Berlinger Jewelry

Santa Monica, CA

www.berlingerjewelry.com
instagram: @berlingerjewelry
facebook: @berlingerjewelry
pinterest: @berlingerjewelry

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I create fine jewelry that celebrates love and changes society’s binary impressions of gender roles and empowerment.

I own, operate, and design for the e-commerce engagement ring company, Berlinger Jewelry, based in Los Angeles.

Berlinger Jewelry Mens Engagement Rings - Michelle Berlinger.jpg

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

I've worked in almost every sector of the jewelry industry (from sales, to manufacturing & production, to gemology, to digital marketing) and have tried to learn a little bit of everything to launch a jewelry company and run an e-commerce store. Most of the steps I've taken to become a business owner have been to dive into the dream head first, and learn as I go by taking risks and doing everything I can to turn ideas into reality.

HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?

Currently, I am one of the only designers crafting men's engagement rings offering the LGBTQ and heterosexual communities more universal engagement and wedding ring designs. My mission and artistic language creates bold, timeless, and powerful symbols that aim to empower wearers -- it’s a uniquely eye-catching love language. My brand ethos promotes equal rights by crafting diamond engagement rings for gay couples getting married. We also would like to remind the world that its 2019, and women can propose too. I’m also a woman designing primarily for men, and am a female founder/owner.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

Dreaming up big ideas to disrupt the bridal jewelry industry. I am growing my company Berlinger Jewelry into an iconic niche fine jewelry company -- the go-to for masculine of center engagement & wedding rings. If you want in, let me know.

Berlinger Jewelry Diamond Scatter - Michelle Berlinger.jpg

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?

My visual language synthesizes bold geometric shapes with Art Deco-era stylistic traditions. I love to marry decorative vintage themes and vintage diamonds and sapphires with modern craftsmanship. I create jewelry with thoughtful design that feels substantial and timeless, and often will work with couples/clients one-on-one to create bespoke custom pieces. Berlinger's core collection of engagement rings exemplifies the modern meets Deco style and can be found here!




WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?

Networking and meeting other artists/designers! I am a very social creature and thrive in collaborative environments. I love hearing of and feel inspired by other peoples visions, passions, and perspectives, especially when mission driven. Running Berlinger solo keeps me on my toes and incredibly busy, so I don't have as much time as I would like to focus on collaborating with other designers or bringing on new partners, but it is a goal of mine to do that more. If you want to collaboration, holler at me, I want to meet you!



WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?


Again, it’s finding a business partner or creative ally. Solitude has been stalling my creative drive and the growth objectives for my business. The task that keeps ending up at the bottom of my To Do list is getting more involved with more local creative and mission driven communities in Los Angeles. I would love to invest time and spirit into more diverse communities locally, to grow artistically, and to meet other like-minded artists and designers to co-develop successful ventures.


IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

Customer acquisition & retention. Inbound sales is its own beast, and I would love to partner with someone knowledgeable to grow our outreach, strategy, and customer base, as well as on general business strategy. I would love to work with someone who thinks outside of the box and finds new, inventive ways to find and engage new customers outside of traditional digital marketing channels, especially in avenues that align with Berlinger’s brand ethos.

Berlinger Jewelry Art Deco Engraved Ring - Michelle Berlinger.jpg

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self to focus more on sales. There was a time when I first started my company where I would think "if I just found the perfect logo, or I just found the perfect font for my website I would succeed." But the key is in putting yourself out there, having faith and confidence in your artwork and mission, and solving problems (for both your customers and yourself!), and getting down to the grit of making sales.



IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I’d also love to learn from Marc Jacobs, who has remained true to a playful and iconic design identity, and grown a powerful company. Teach me your ways. I would love to learn how to start a business, find the right partners and endorsements, and remain creatively consistent and prolific in unison.


WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

I’m looking to meet, chat, and collaborate with other designers and entrepreneurs in other fields; photography, content marketing, blogging, film.


I would also love to meet another fashion/retail designer who would be interested in working together on a collection, line, photoshoot, or brand collaboration.


Also interested in finding other designers who may be interested in creating a joint pop-up shop in Los Angeles.


DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

Ideal collaboration would be to work with someone who is excellent at communicating their needs, vision, and is goal oriented. Even if their skillset or background is seemingly unrelated to jewelry, design, or retail, having a razor-sharp mind and a goal makes it easy to sync ideas and drive to accomplish mutual goals.

Ideal client are people who know what they want, but trust my expertise or artistic visions to bring their ideas (however abstract) to life. I’m a very active listener, so whether i'm designing your website or your engagement ring, I love to truly listen and take people's ideas and bring them to life physically and materially.


WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

For freelance projects, such as digital marketing assistance or strategy and planning, it tends to be on a case by case or a project deliverable basis. Hourly freelance will typically run $50/hr. But I tend to prefer to work on a project/deliverable basis with a set budget.

I’m also a huge fan of trades/ swaps, and love to pay people in jewelry or be paid in services.

WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?

Working with excellent photographers, like Gab Herman, has elevated my website, work, and brand. It’s such an important factor in selling online & having a digital presence. Don’t underestimate the value of working with a truly talented photographer, it’s worth the extra money.



HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Email me anytime or Instagram direct message. Usually I prefer meeting in person to learn more about someone and their needs, but have worked and collaborated with many people abroad v. skype/whatsapp.

I think face-to-face interaction is very important for productivity and a good partnership.



HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Sleep. Outdoors. Honesty. Challenge. Eyes Open. Diversify.


This member profile was originally published in June 2019.

Shawn Binder