Along with stressing the importance of family, designers Gabriela Artigas and her sister and sales director, Tere Artigas, have managed to turn Gabriela’s amazing minimal jewelry line into a burgeoning business. Sourcing her gems from all over the world, Gabriela creates flawless, detailed rings, necklaces, and earrings along with many other fascinating pieces. Gabriela Artigas & Co has also started to expand into new offerings by introducing rose water and wood scented candles into their holiday line. With a new brick and mortar retail space located on North La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, the sisters are able to consult and work closely with clients. The retail shop doubles as a showroom and gallery space, filled with beautiful furniture designed by their brother Alejandro Artigas. After meeting the sisters almost three years back at Capsule, and recently crossing paths again at New York’s ManWoman show, it was only right that Infashuated dive deeper into Gabriela Artigas & Company’s creative sensibility and business structure.
How did the Artigas sister get their start in design?
Gabriela Artigas: In 2003, my mother and I came to LA to visit my brother, Alex, who was studying architecture at the time. During our stay, we went to downtown LA and bought some beads. Whilst at Joan’s on Third, I held up a string of beads that I had just made into a necklace to show my mother. As I did so, this woman walked by and said, “I love your necklace! Where did you buy it? Are you a designer?” Before I could say anything, my mother chimed in and said, “Yes, she is!” That was the first time I sold a piece of jewelry. I always knew I wanted to design and had studied art at college previously. I am grateful to that lady for being my first customer.
Tere Artigas: I joined the business about five years after Gabriela created her first necklace. I always knew that Gabriela was an amazing designer and I also understood the challenges of running a business on your own. I knew that I could provide the right support, because our personalities are different and we would want to focus on distinct areas of the business, therefore avoiding any overlap in our roles and any of the typical conflict that might come with that. I also knew that we shared exactly the same core values, thanks to our upbringing, which is important when jointly running a business together. I woke up one day in 2008, quit my job as a grief counselor in Mexico City, moved to Los Angeles, and never looked back.
Based on your roles in the company and logistics, how would you say you both balance each other out? In what ways have you two joined forces and how do you collaborate?
Gabriela Artigas: I am dreamy and whimsical in nature, which suits my role as a designer. Tere is attentive and focused which are the precise qualities you want when you work in sales. We each have our individual strengths, but when these qualities are combined we reach a state of equilibrium that’s helped our business to flourish.
What are some of your most memorable experiences growing up in Mexico City?
Gabriela Artigas: There are so many memories, but one of the ones that stands out the most is visiting my grandfather’s house with my cousins. He was an architect and owned a significant amount of land and we would spend hours going on adventures in the forest. We would make up all kinds of games, go hunting for treasure and create stories which really fueled my imagination.
“I am dreamy and whimsical by nature which suits my role as a designer.”
What are your top three destinations for first time visitors to Mexico City?
Gabriela Artigas: I always recommend going to the city’s amazing museums such as Museo Nacional de Anthropología and Museo Nacional de Historia: Castillo de Chapultepec. Luis Barragán House and Studio, also known as Casa Luis Barragán, is the former residence of architect Luis Barragán in Miguel Hidalgo District and is one of my favorite places. His work, Los Clubes, is also a must-visit.
How was it transitioning from living in Mexico City to Los Angeles?
Gabriela Artigas: My brother was already here, which definitely helped. It was a pretty smooth transition for me, which is also how I knew it was the right move to make
Since the company’s inception, how would you say your style has grown or changed?
Gabriela Artigas: My style hasn’t changed, it has just evolved — and it continues to evolve. I have always had an appreciation for quality and working as a jewelry designer for 13 years has made me more mindful of it than ever! Whether I am designing jewelry for our seasonal collections or buying clothes for myself, I always focus on quality and a clean design aesthetic that will stand the test of time.
Harry and Girl are adorable pups, how involved are they in your design process?
Gabriela Artigas: They are integral to it! Every time I look at them, they make my heart beat faster and I produce my best designs when I am in my happiest state.
Tell us about your grandfather, Francisco Artigas. How did his contribution to Mexico’s modernist architecture influenced your work?
Gabriela Artigas: You can see a very literal reference in our Compass Collection, which references the center-point on which a piece builds, and is a feature found in architectural working drawings. Each piece in the collection features two axes [that] are at right angles to each other. In addition to that, my grandfather’s highly polished, clean aesthetic is prevalent throughout every design. It creates a timelessness to each piece, which is important because I want our clients to wear and treasure our collections forever.
I notice you’ve started to sell candles and fragrances. Are you planning to expand into other areas, accessories, furniture, or clothing?
Gabriela Artigas: We wanted to explore a new lifestyle category this holiday season so we have introduced a candle set complete with a bold, contemporary, cross-shape brass candle trivet and pink matches. The rose scent is inspired by my morning beauty ritual which features essential oils. We burn candles in our showroom on La Cienega every day so we wanted the scent to be evocative, but never overwhelming, so it can be burnt from morning until night. We have a collaboration coming out with a design studio in Los Angeles next year, which takes us into a new realm. I can’t say too much at this stage, but watch this space!
How does it feel to see people wearing your collections?
Gabriela Artigas: Super exciting! What strikes me the most is how women of all ages love Gabriela Artigas & Co. I feel very fortunate when I see someone with one of our pieces and love to see how our clients stack and layer certain styles or if they just wear one of our bold designs for a statement look.
What are your three top current obsessions and why?
Gabriela Artigas: Harry and my other dog, Girl, because their love and loyalty is unconditional and unwavering. I am also obsessed with finding the perfect pair of boots which I have yet to find! I am also obsessed with never giving up when it comes to designing jewelry that our customers love and growing the Gabriela Artigas & Co business with my sister, Tere.
If you could collaborate with any creative, designer, or major influences (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
Gabriela Artigas: I would love to collaborate with Consuela Castiglioni because she marches to the beat of her own drum when it comes to design, and her jewelry and aesthetic resembles the jewelry that we used to create when we first launched Gabriela Artigas & Co. [Also,] this isn’t in the context of a collaboration, but I have always wanted to travel back in time so that I could see Cleopatra’s jewelry collection and observe how she would wear it!
Special thanks to Gabriela Artigas and Tere Artigas of Gabriela Artigas & Co., for taking time to chat with us about their amazing line of wearables and smell goods. Add some awesomeness to your feed by following the Artigas sisters @ladyartigas via Instagram.