Heather Severs, is not new to the accessories industry. Having a career in fashion publications, over a decade as the accessories director at Town & Country, she knows jewelry WELL! It is of no surprise that her longtime passion became her newest venture, creating a new line of vintage charm necklaces called Netherfield. Each necklace is special in that it’s one-of-a-kind, vintage charms are made to order depending on the tales of your life’s journey. They are the best gifts, even for yourself, as they tell a story that you can build upon each year. Today we are giving you a head start with our giveaway on Instagram. Head over to my page @mamaandtata for more details.
How many years have you been in business in Los Angeles?
I made my first necklace for a friend about 1 year ago, and have been thrilled with the reaction and demand ever since - but I like to think of our Mama and Tata meeting as our official launch, which coordinates with the launch of our website.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved fashion and jewelry. I used to scour my mother’s Town & Country magazines and cut out the jewelry advertisements and design my own fashion catalogues.
I am so fortunate to have been in this incredible industry for over 20 years. My first job in fashion was in public relations at Chanel. I loved every minute, but soon realized that editors have all the fun and hold all the creative cards. I became an accessories editor at Elle Magazine and that’s where I fell in love with fine jewelry. When the accessories/jewelry director position became available at Town & Country Magazine, a very jewelry-centric publication, I knew that was my destiny. For 11 years, I led the award-winning T&C team discovering and launching new designers, directing editorial coverage of the jewelry and accessories categories and styling hundreds of bejeweled pages. Then, I joined the Moda Operandi team at launch where I focused on building their jewelry and accessories trunk show offerings.
At Town & Country I met a vendor who specialized in vintage jewelry who had a selection of charms for sale. I think I took all of them! And together we created my first charm necklace. For the last 10 years, whenever I wear it, people ask about it and want to know more. Finally, my husband suggested I should start my own line. I’ve been thrilled with the response and feel so honored to be part of so many momentous occasions.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
At the end of the day, Netherfield necklaces and charms are beautiful and luxurious, but they are about so much more than a piece of jewelry. They tell your personal story. They celebrate moments or people or things that you treasure and in so doing they become special because they represent something.
I think my background as a fashion and jewelry editor and stylist provide me with an understanding of shape and proportion and balance and certainly that is part of it as well - women want to look chic, always. Each Netherfield necklace is styled to maximize the thoughtfully chosen charms, and to ensure that each charm hangs perfectly, includes multiple dimensions and works cohesively. My signature chain, the 5th avenue is hand made and inspired by a vintage watch chain.
But what makes Netherfield necklaces most unique is that they are one-of-a-kind and specifically designed for the woman who wears it, often every day, dressed up or down, and will be treasured forever because of what it represents to her.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
Netherfield pieces are not trendy, they are timeless. So much so that in the same necklace, you could have a custom-made contemporary charm styled with one that is from the 1900s - a truly modern heirloom.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
Each charm on a Netherfield necklace is a constant reminder of something inherently important to its owner, evoking the most positive of memories. On my necklace, I celebrate my boys with a fish (their zodiacs are all water signs), my career as a jewelry editor with a gold trash can filled with gems engraved last year’s jewels and my family with an aquamarine FOB (my mother and grandmother both loved jewelry and wore fabulous aquamarine cocktail rings). Every time I am asked about it, it makes me happy to tell its story and reveal a bit of myself.
What is your favorite part of your job?
There are so many! I am equal parts designer, architect, advisor, collector and confidant. That I have the opportunity to work so intimately with clients to create a one-of-a-kind pieces is a really special part of the job. I also love the creative process. It is highly collaborative. Often, we work together on concepts and then I execute. I love the reveals, the excitement. Most clients start with a general idea of a few themes that are important to them, but once we dig deeper - that’s when the fun begins. For a native New Yorker who had her children in New York, but transplanted to San Francisco, I designed a charm featuring the New York skyline with an opal moon to represent her son’s birthstone. I love creating bespoke charms the more outlandish the request the better!
What is your favorite secret NYC spot? LA spot?
NYC: I raised 3 boys in New York, so museums were always part of our weekends. The Cantor roof garden at the Metropolitan museum is one of my favorite spots. The view of the city is magical and you can always count on a moment of tranquility and a cool exhibition.
LA: I don’t think it’s a secret anymore, but I love Elephante in Santa Monica. In a place where it is sunny 90% of the time, it’s surprising to me how few (non-touristy) restaurants in LA have a view of the ocean. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Pacific and the whipped eggplant is heaven.
How do you benefit mamas?
We love working with mommies to showcase their life story through jewelry. Mommies have the most complex and interesting stories to tell. Most women have identities pre and post kids. We aim to celebrate both lives in your Netherfield necklace. Were you a champion ice skater growing up? Do you run marathons? Love St. Barths? Work as a prosecutor? We feel it’s important to showcase your passions and accomplishments in addition to celebrating your children. And while celebrating your children with their names etched in jewelry is a lovely tribute, I try to think outside the box which often leads to a more unexpected result. To represent a client’s teenage son, I am currently replicating in gold his stuffed monkey (named Mr. Henry Banana) that has been his “lovey” for 15 years.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
My favorite feedback is that “I nailed it.” Because the process of creating a Netherfield necklace is such a personal one, I am afforded the opportunity to learn a lot about my clients passions and interests. At the end of our journey, together we have created a unique piece that showcases her life story. I had one client whose necklace was finished, and when I went to her house, I noticed she had a spiral notebook with a TO DO for every day of the week. She proceeded to show me a box of 10 years worth of spiral notebooks with notes marked for each day. When I delivered her necklace I surprised her by adding a vintage steno pad charm with a little gold pen. She was ecstatic.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or a related field.
I’ve always loved vintage jewelry but it was during my tenure at Town & Country that I developed my knowledge and true appreciation of its history and craftsmanship. Steven Russell, a specialty boutique on Madison Avenue offers one of the most important and well curated collections of vintage jewelry in the world. Proprietors Stephen Feurman and Rusell Zelenetz are masters in their field and two of the most outstanding people.
Simultaneously, they also create contemporary pieces which uphold the same artistry of their vintage pieces. I have spent hours at a time in the boutique, absorbing their knowledge, and completely lusting of their draw dropping pieces. It is virtually impossible to leave Stephen Russell without being inspired.
What is the best advice anyone ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
I have a few, but one of my mantras is to pay it forward. I have always surrounded myself with brilliant, talented women (both professionally and personally) and believe that it’s imperative that we all support each other. In my career, I have always tried to act as a mentor and support my team in every way. Collaboration is key and we can always learn and benefit from each other’s strengths.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Back when I was pregnant with my first child, someone (I don’t remember whom) told me to “expect your husband to help.” Don’t thank him for “watching” the baby - it’s his baby too. I’ve always had a career outside the home and my husband and I have always shared responsibilities. He is an outstanding husband and father who is as equally involved as I am sometimes more!
Now that I have 3 boys, I am using the same advice. Early on, they were expected to make their beds and straighten their rooms before they leave for school. Now my 16-year old makes his bed better than I do! I’m hoping that I am not only teaching them good habits that make my life easier, I’m also raising boys who won’t be complete slobs. You’re welcome future girlfriends...