By Jesse Draper, the Valley Girl
Long Island native, Cristina Vitiello always loved making jewelry. Many young girls do, but few have the ‘chutzpah’ to turn this hobby into a full-fledged business at such a young age. Cristina started out creating her masterpieces at Boston College, where she attended undergrad. In 2005, Cristina began throwing small trunk shows for friends and family. One jewel lead to another and pretty soon, these trunk shows were being held all over the greater New England area. Her prices typically range from $50 to $500, but some of her finer pieces are now being sold for up to $3000 due to her latest collection Transitions, by Cristina V. Cristina does a great job combining precious and semi-precious stones into ‘easy to wear’ jewels for everyone. Today, you can find “Cristina V. Jewels” in Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel’s and other big stores. Her latest designs have even been featured on the hit CW series Gossip Girl. Cristina V. recently chatted with us about being a full-fledged fashion CEO:
How would you describe your jewelry?
My clients say “its addictive!”
What is your favorite piece right now?
At the moment, I would say multiple Layer Chains for daytime fun and Faceted Cocktail Earrings for NYC nightlife.
Your designs are so unique, where do you gain inspiration for them?
Without a doubt, it’s the stones. Sometimes I source things that I have no idea what I will do with or how I will make them work. Sooner or later (and sometimes this can be months!) the color, shape, and weight of the stones speak for themselves and everything else follows.
What is your number one tip for wearing jewelry?
Wear what you love. Jewelry, like any fashion accessory, is an extension of your unique style, personality, place, and mood at that moment. Cristina V. is addictive because we can drape you from a weekend in the mountains to a polo match or opening night at the Met.
Fashion is a competitive industry to break into, what advice do you have for other women trying to break into this field?
“Never, Never, Never Quit!” Winston Churchill 1941.
There will be a lot of distractions and people trying to convince you otherwise, but if you keep your focus and stay resilient, you will see, there are a lot of good people willing to help. Karma!
What is one of the greatest lessons you learned while growing your company?
The principles I was raised with, such as integrity and hard work, easily infuse themselves into every aspect of growing Cristina V. and dealing with people- whether they are a client, overseas supplier or my talented staff. The greatest lesson is to approach business the same way I live my personal life.
Who would you most like to see wearing one of your pieces?
More Strangers. I was walking down Fifth Avenue last month and spotted a layered chain on a chic middle-aged woman who I didn’t know. That was a fun experience. I do have many stars and media clients, and while it’s always exciting to know they like my designs or see them wearing one of my pieces, there’s something about seeing a complete stranger in one of my pieces… This is probably because it validates our growth.