40 min

How to start a jewelry brand without going to school for it with MATEO New York The Style That Binds Us podcast

    • Fashion & Beauty

Matthew "Mateo" Harris has a fine jewelry brand named, Mateo New York. Mateo was a 2017 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. He also has handbags and candles, making Mateo New York a lifestyle brand. He is from Jamaica and later moved to NYC. First, he thought he wanted to go into Hospitality and Hotel Management. The book Think & Grow Rich changed his life and this is how the brand Mateo New York came about. He was sketching non-stop and trying to find his voice as a designer. He sat at the bench with some jewelry designers and that is how he learned to make jewelry. He saw how they were sauntering the metal and how they were polishing or setting a stone. He also attended "YouTube University" and learned a lot by watching YouTube videos. He believes that if you want something, put your mind to it and do the work, you can do anything. 
 
He launched with Men's jewelry and was making pieces that he wanted himself - clean and classic. The first collection was very industrial like the contents in a man’s toolbox. A screw fell out of the wall when he was moving and he decided to make it into a necklace. Rhianna wore a piece (the zipper necklace) and everyone wanted a full collection. He has grown a lot from when he first started. He knows about different gemstones and pearls, how to tell if they are real etc. Being Jamaican, he is naturally drawn to the colors of the flag - black, green & yellow. He loves Black Onyx, Emeralds and Yellow Gold. Keeping the pieces at the right scale enables him to ensure he achieves the sweet spot price point that is attainable. Mateo's Soho boutique, along with data from his ecommerce site helped him learn who his customer is. 
 
The first time he wanted to join the CFDA, Steven Kolb told him that he wasn't ready. He closed the Men's business and started making Women's Fine Jewelry in 2014. He always wanted to design Women's Jewelry and the first collection was based on simplicity and minimalism. He wanted it to be simple, clean, wearable and affordable. He was a CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist in 2017. There is a lot of pressure, stress and excitement felt during the program. There was an Instagram challenge, a design challenge and many more. They had to do a fashion week presentation, which was his first presentation during NYFW. They got to go to Anna Wintour’s house. His favorite experience during the CFDA Fashion Fund was shooting with Karlie Kloss. He learned a lot about himself and the tenacity he has, how to present your business in the right light and how to work with other designers. 
 
Mateo New York handbags are made in Portugal. The handbag collection has been 3 years in the making. He worked with Firmenich on the candles and perfume. Mateo is precise & informed in the scents he wants for the brand. He wants to create a lifestyle brand, so all of the classifications (handbags, jewelry, etc) go together. Since relaunching the brand, his favorite moment was getting featured in American Vogue. 
 
To design a jewelry collection, you start with a sketch, which is sent to his team and they do a digital cad. For jewelry, some pieces they use a cad or a cast. Most everything is handmade, so they use a wire. It goes from a sketch to either being hand done or cast, polished and set with stones. 
 
For handbags, he starts with a sketch and then sends it to the pattern maker, they assemble the first model, he approves it and it goes into final production. 
 
His inspiration comes from modern art, particularly Alexander Calder. Mateo wants to create handbags that are desirable and that women will crave. They have classic shapes that’ll never go away. All of the bags have female names because at this point, he has so many women in his life. 
 
Putti

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Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/delia-folk8/support

Matthew "Mateo" Harris has a fine jewelry brand named, Mateo New York. Mateo was a 2017 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. He also has handbags and candles, making Mateo New York a lifestyle brand. He is from Jamaica and later moved to NYC. First, he thought he wanted to go into Hospitality and Hotel Management. The book Think & Grow Rich changed his life and this is how the brand Mateo New York came about. He was sketching non-stop and trying to find his voice as a designer. He sat at the bench with some jewelry designers and that is how he learned to make jewelry. He saw how they were sauntering the metal and how they were polishing or setting a stone. He also attended "YouTube University" and learned a lot by watching YouTube videos. He believes that if you want something, put your mind to it and do the work, you can do anything. 
 
He launched with Men's jewelry and was making pieces that he wanted himself - clean and classic. The first collection was very industrial like the contents in a man’s toolbox. A screw fell out of the wall when he was moving and he decided to make it into a necklace. Rhianna wore a piece (the zipper necklace) and everyone wanted a full collection. He has grown a lot from when he first started. He knows about different gemstones and pearls, how to tell if they are real etc. Being Jamaican, he is naturally drawn to the colors of the flag - black, green & yellow. He loves Black Onyx, Emeralds and Yellow Gold. Keeping the pieces at the right scale enables him to ensure he achieves the sweet spot price point that is attainable. Mateo's Soho boutique, along with data from his ecommerce site helped him learn who his customer is. 
 
The first time he wanted to join the CFDA, Steven Kolb told him that he wasn't ready. He closed the Men's business and started making Women's Fine Jewelry in 2014. He always wanted to design Women's Jewelry and the first collection was based on simplicity and minimalism. He wanted it to be simple, clean, wearable and affordable. He was a CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist in 2017. There is a lot of pressure, stress and excitement felt during the program. There was an Instagram challenge, a design challenge and many more. They had to do a fashion week presentation, which was his first presentation during NYFW. They got to go to Anna Wintour’s house. His favorite experience during the CFDA Fashion Fund was shooting with Karlie Kloss. He learned a lot about himself and the tenacity he has, how to present your business in the right light and how to work with other designers. 
 
Mateo New York handbags are made in Portugal. The handbag collection has been 3 years in the making. He worked with Firmenich on the candles and perfume. Mateo is precise & informed in the scents he wants for the brand. He wants to create a lifestyle brand, so all of the classifications (handbags, jewelry, etc) go together. Since relaunching the brand, his favorite moment was getting featured in American Vogue. 
 
To design a jewelry collection, you start with a sketch, which is sent to his team and they do a digital cad. For jewelry, some pieces they use a cad or a cast. Most everything is handmade, so they use a wire. It goes from a sketch to either being hand done or cast, polished and set with stones. 
 
For handbags, he starts with a sketch and then sends it to the pattern maker, they assemble the first model, he approves it and it goes into final production. 
 
His inspiration comes from modern art, particularly Alexander Calder. Mateo wants to create handbags that are desirable and that women will crave. They have classic shapes that’ll never go away. All of the bags have female names because at this point, he has so many women in his life. 
 
Putti

---

Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/delia-folk8/support

40 min