West Point graduates, Shark Tank contestants and Target designers? Look, we're not saying that Ashley and Paige of fashion accessory brand Stella Valle are overachievers or anything, but if you're not at least a little inspired by their tenacity, you may want to reevaluate. After serving in the Army, the business grads and sisters followed their passion and started a jewelry brand befitting of their military background: masculine motifs mixed with Swarovski sparkle. Once they got their brand in the door at big-deal stores like Bendels and Bloomingdales, they wowed the judges on Shark Tank and left the show partners with both Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, and today have a thriving business that includes a Target line as well as a Woman Warriors collection featuring inspirational quotes. Add in a good dose of philanthropy – a portion of proceeds of certain jewels go back to military-related causes – and you have a success story that definitely deserves a serious salute.
What's your idea of ultimate luxury?
Luxury is about differentiated quality and aesthetic – every aspect of the product or experience is beyond what is expected. It makes you feel special and unique!
The gemstone you are currently lusting after is...
Our aesthetic is clean, modern, and classic, so we love opaque stones like howlite. Hint, hint: we might just use these in our next collection.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Taylor Swift seems so down-to-earth and cool, we’d love to grab a casual bite with her. Maybe we could even sneak our way into her girl squad! She also just seems to have remained so humble and authentic despite her fame. We admire her for that.
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another CFDA member, what would it be?
Rachel Zoe’s jewelry is typically art deco inspired and super fun. She has a ton of amazing pieces in her line that we’d love to get our hands on! We are also looking forward to meeting her at a CFDA event!
Where's the last place you visited that inspired your creativity? Give us some details!
We were just in Paris to present our Spring 2016 collection, Simply Complex, and attended Paris Fashion week. We are obsessed with Parisian architecture. The cream colored marble buildings have streamlined opulence with a hint of femininity that is evident in our personal style and designs.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, what would it be and why?
It would be so hard to decide. We think we’d have to choose Balmain, because his collections are sleek, sexy, and military inspired! Since we were both in the Army prior to our fashion careers, we are really into military-inspired fashion.
If you could be anything other than a jewelry designer, what would it be?
This one is easy…we’d be interior designers and maybe even get into some home construction. We love the creative world, and we are both really into designing our homes since we grew up around it. Our dad owned a construction company and built custom homes for a living. We lived in 14 homes that our dad built during our childhood. While the moves were tough, it was so fun to take part in the process and help pick out the finishes with our parents.
Be honest – who is your celebrity crush?
We are both into athletic men and Tom Brady is pretty darn hot! To our hubbies: don’t worry, I think Tom is pretty taken by the hottest supermodel in the world!
What's your spirit animal and explain why.
Ashley: I’m a Leo, and I definitely portray personality traits of a lion. I’m loyal, calm, passionate, and confident but can definitely stand my ground when I believe strongly in something.
Paige: I’d have to say that a French Bulldog is my spirit animal. I am obsessed with them, so obsessed that Ashley and I named our brand after my Frenchie, Stella! They are silly, loyal, and so lovable which I think sums me up too!
What does it mean to you to be a member of CFDA?
It is such a great honor to be a member of the CFDA. We are humbled to be in an organization amongst America’s finest designers.
We have been following the organization since the start of our journey and we recognized early on that the CFDA is the single most prestigious organization for designers. We passionate about CFDA’s mission and the important role it plays in supporting the member designers.