Jewelry designer opens pop-up shop in Montecito Country Mart
Sheryl Lowe’s new pop-up shop in the Montecito Country Mart, where she sells her jewelry designs, is open seven days a week.
But the day she enjoys most is Saturdays when customers can select their own gemstones, diamond accents and charms, and a designer will help them create their own bracelets or necklaces.
“I call it ‘Build Your Own Day.’ I love to inspire the designer in all of us and give them the feeling that they can create something on their own. When they ask, ‘Can I do this in another color or another piece,’ I say, ‘Yes’ and ‘You should’ and ‘We will,’” said Ms. Lowe.
“I want to give them the confidence I didn’t have when I thought about becoming a jewelry designer. I was intimidated by the likes of Tiffany and Cartier.”
She recalled that as a child growing up with her single mother and grandmother in the San Fernando Valley, she had a passion for creativity, especially jewelry.
“I would put on my mother’s jewelry and sneak out of the house and meet my friends at the doughnut shop,” said the unpretentious Ms. Lowe during a phone interview from her home in Montecito. “I painted the walls in my bedroom and painted handprints on my jeans, and I tie-dyed my clothes.
“I was the typical Valley Girl.”
After graduating from Ulysses S. Grant High School in Van Nuys in 1979, she earned her bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Los Angeles.
“I worked three jobs to pay for it — as a cashier in a pizza place, a daycare teacher’s aide and a model,” Ms. Lowe told the News-Press. “While attending the classes, I happened to take an off-campus course in theatrical makeup and fell in love with it.”
After graduating from FIDM, she was a freelance makeup artist for 18 years for commercials, movies and television. She made a name for herself as a makeup artist for more than 30 major motion pictures, where she met her husband, TV and movie actor Rob Lowe.
The couple, who were married in 1991, have two sons, Matthew, 27, and Johnowen, 25.
“Matthew has his law degree, and Johnowen is a writer on Rob’s new show ‘9-1-1: Lone Star,’ ” said Ms. Lowe, who revealed that she was a reluctant transplant from the Los Angeles area to Montecito.
“We had been frequent weekend guests at San Ysidro Ranch, but when Rob suggested we buy a home here, I balked. My family and friends and work were all in L.A. When we began looking at homes in Montecito, I fell in love with the area, and we bought our first home in 1994.”
Along with her career as a makeup artist, Ms. Lowe became an interior designer, working primarily with local clients.
“I don’t travel around the state or across the country. I like my own little area,” she said.
Her work has been featured on the covers of Architectural Digest, Veranda and California Homes.
In 2006, Ms. Lowe launched Sheryl Lowe Jewelry, designing bracelets, necklaces, pins and earrings that juxtapose glamorous materials like white gold, bone and pave diamonds with modern-chic leather wrap bracelets, hand-hand-hewn rings and punk-inspired curb-chain bracelets and chokers.
Prices range from $400 to $12,000. Best sellers are the gemstone beaded bracelets.
“The whole concept of the brand is stacking and layering textures and colors without creating a Bohemian look. I lean toward the classical with an edge,” said Ms. Lowe.
“Gemstones are my favorite material to work with because they have all the elements of the earth, which inspire me. I’m not a hippie, but I do love nature and the blessings it has to offer. I get to wear the blessings, which is the icing on the cake.”
She said her jewelry business “took off” after her best friend Maria Shriver, then married to the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, asked her to design pins for participants at a Women’s Conference.
“I was inspired by a necklace I had seen the month before while on a photo safari in India. It was made of ebony and pave diamonds and set in sterling silver and symbolized a female warrior,” said Ms. Lowe, who added, “Giving back is central to what I do. I believe all of us have a responsibility and a privilege to help those around us in any way we can.
“Recently, I had the privilege to design some special pieces that directly benefit the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, an organization run by Maria that is focused on understanding why Alzheimers disproportionately affects women through research and advocacy.
“I am selling the bracelets in my store and on my website, and I hope that people can feel good about buying a piece that does good in the world, is beautiful, and maybe even be a memorial to a loved one.”
As CEO and chief creative designer for Sheryl Lowe Designs, she oversees 22 employees at a workshop in a Montecito office building.
“I’m having the best time at the pop-up, which I plan to keep open until the end of January, but it could be longer. I’m testing the waters,” she said. “Even though it’s temporary for now, I had Kyle Irwin from Field+Fort design the interior, which is fabulous. This is my hometown. I wanted it to be special. It’s a great hangout.”