Vivè Le Necklace!

Apr 19, 2011 1 Comment

Laetitia Stanfield finds inspiration for her lines of necklaces, bracelets and headpieces, all available on her site, www.roarkenyc.com, from her French ancestry.roarke-new-york

“Paris was my inspiration for the first line, the Le Marais,” she explains.  “All of the pieces from that first collection were named for streets in Paris. It really started from one necklace. It was an easy-to-wear bib style that would take you from day to night. I was inspired by vintage styles and beading. We decided to take the beading and put it around our neck.”

From there, Roarke was born. The company, which began in September 2009, takes its name from Howard Roark’s character in the novel the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.  It takes its je ne se qua from Laetitia.

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After working for Bergdorf-Goodman for four and a half years, Laetitia learned a lot about the fashion business and discovered that she had a passion for something more. Near the end of her time at Bergdorf, she took her savings and purchased the LLC. For a few months, Laetitia worked all day at one job and all night for Roarke.

“I was just making sure that this was the right decision for me to make. It was also at the time where the economy wasn’t doing very well, so there was definitely a lot of fear,” Laetitia explains. “I really believed I was capable of bringing the company to a level where it would be successful. What I learned at Bergdorf’s was very useful because I understood the importance of branding and the importance of those aspects of starting a company, especially a fashion company.”

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She put the knowledge and skills to work for her. With the help of highly-recommended beaders (all of Roarke’s pieces are hand-beaded), the company grew from the first collection to include several lines with even smaller pieces for different price points which would allow for customer of different brackets to afford the items.

“The small bracelets can also be attached to the necklaces to make them longer, a two for one,” Laetitia says, “Which is nice because people feel like they are getting a little bit more out of it when they get the necklace and bracelet.” All of the items have the same snap-back closure so they are interchangeable with each other.

The unique collection is a favorite of several celebrities, a result of Laetitia using contacts she had from working in the fashion industry to help promote her brand.

“I understood the importance of who to reach out to when, and the importance of being prepared for whatever the press could bring,” Laetitia comments. “Timing was important, as was knowing who to approach first and last.” The good PR brought celebrities to her and before long everyone was seeing how special her jewelry was.

While Roarke gets its fair share of ooh la la’s, in these hard economic times, there are ups and downs. Laetitia’s ability to see la vie en rose keeps her motivated.

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“There is nothing easy about starting your own company at all,” she says, honestly. “ I love working for myself and I love creating something and building a brand, but there are days when it’s really, really hard. I think the most important thing that women need to understand is from the get go, you really have to believe in yourself.  If I don’t get a wholesale order that I want that I was expecting, or if I don’t get press that I was expecting, it’s a question of just seeing past that. There are always other opportunities out there and you have to go after them, they’re not going to come to you. Just being motivated and believing in yourself is the only way you are going to do it.”

That belief in herself has kept her true to her concept and her idea, and her company keeps getting noticed.  Last year, Roarke was featured in the New York Times Sunday Style section and Laetitia has had other moments of pride.

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“I was in a restaurant the other day and I saw somebody wearing one of my necklaces,” she recalls. “That was really exciting. I also wore a necklace and ran into a movie star in a restroom who commented on it and that was cool.”

In The Fountainhead, one of the characters, Peter Keating, says to Roarke:

“Do you always have to have a purpose?…Everything’s important with you. Everything’s great, significant in some way, every minute, even when you keep still. Can’t you ever be comfortable–and unimportant?”

Roark replies simply: “No.”

This kind of attitude is what inspires Laetitia and her Roarke. With her momentum and motivation, she is sure to have more than a Mona Lisa smile; she could conquer all.

Written by: Sherry Liantonio

 

ROARKE NEW YORK

www.roarkenyc.com

Cities, Fashion, New York, She Walks The Talk

One Response to “Vivè Le Necklace!”

  1. Steph says:

    GORGEOUS!

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