Carolina Bucci

BY Anum Bashir

Her lucky charm bracelets are what first got me interested in her work. She put a fresh and interesting new spin on fine jewelry. Even Carrie Bradshaw was seen wearing her creations. We're digging Carolina Bucci this week, and excited to share her story with you.

 AB: Tell us a bit about yourself? Where were you born/ grew up?

CB: I was born in Florence, Italy, and grew up there. My mother had moved there from NY, so we spent a lot of time between Italy and NYC which was great. It gave me a wider perspective on the world than the average Florentine, I think.

AB: What was your childhood like? Were you always creative?

CB: My childhood was idyllic. Our house is in the hills above Florence so you immediately experience both country and city simultaneously, which is great. We had a pretty strict regime at home, but that was coupled with the fact that we were allowed to pursue and develop whatever interests took our fancy. There were no preconceived expectations or boundaries, but we were expected to take things seriously if we wanted to do pursue anything. For me, that was always jewelry, design, and art. Both my parents really encouraged me, spending time in our family workshops, and at trade fairs from the age of about six or seven. Playing at first, but eventually started to really absorb the valuable lessons I was being taught which still resonate today.

 AB: Childhood heroes?

CB: Cinderella

AB: What is your earliest jewelry related memory?

CB: I was mesmerized by the way gold melts from solid into liquid and back again, but transforms into something else. It still seems magical to me. 

AB: When did you realize you wanted to become a professional jewelry designer? How did it start?

CB: Six or seven! It took a while after that, but the path was always clear and there. After leaving FIT in NY, I started designing things for myself and showed them to a couple of showrooms. I got very lucky (no pun intended), and my first bracelet design, named the "Lucky Bracelet", appeared on Sex & The City with Sarah Jessica Parker wearing one. My creations started to gain momentum within the industry.

AB: Walk us through a typical day…

CB: I start my day off by dropping my boys at school, and then arrive at my store to run through the previous day’s activity and emails from Asia and USA overnight. I will probably have a meeting or two with press or a retail partner during the morning. Lunch is usually at my desk, and then try to fit in at least one ‘formal’ team meeting to internally discuss our business plans, designs we're trying out, etc. I always find these one-on-one structured chats very creative.

In group meetings, I seem to find that I tend to do most of the talking, and that is not necessarily something I prefer. Ideas always come from chance associations – it is good for me to be forced to listen patiently!

I am usually out of the store by 3.30pm to pick up my boys from school, and take them home and get their homework started. Evenings are mostly relaxed family time – I try to do as little evening networking as possible these days. After the boys are asleep, I will catch up on emails and plan for the next day, and hopefully catch an episode or two of the latest box set.

AB: Biggest challenges you face at work?

CB: Getting everything done! We are very ambitious, but I constantly have to tell myself that I cannot do everything, and make careful decisions about my own limits. Boundaries help people prioritize I feel. That is where trusted friends come in. I am always amazed how a friend, who may know nothing about the industry, is able to zero in on the right path just by listening. It's quite incredible.

AB: How is life juggling motherhood, being a wife, and an industry professional?

CB: Chaotic and intensely rewarding.

AB: The best part about what you do?

CB: I am able to set my own agenda and follow my instincts. When you start to second guess yourself, then everyone around you will pick up on the lack of authenticity. That's what I celebrate most about my brand - it's authentic and unique approach to jewelry design.

AB: Any favorite pieces you’ve designed over the years?

CB: The lucky bracelet started it all and is still our best seller to this day. If I had to pick one, then that is definitely it.

AB: Who is the Carolina Bucci woman?

CB: She is anywhere from her 20s to her 80s. She's international, and bears a strong interest in fashion and accessories, but isn’t consumed by them. Self-confident but not showy, she is very comfortable with luxury, and celebrates an understanding of craftsmanship. There's an understated elegance and coolness to the woman I speak to.

AB: You recently collaborated with Audemars Piguet on recreating their famed Royal Oak watch. How as that experience? Can you walk us through it?

CB: Wonderful. Again, it came about through an authentic love for the brand. I was wearing my AP watch in several press features, and they got in touch to find out why I loved the Royal Oak so much. That conversation transformed into them asking me for design ideas, and about three years later, the new Frosted Royal Oak was born. We have added a very small change to the surface of the case of the watch, but I think we have created something entirely fresh and unexpected. 

AB: Favorite color?

CB: A vibrant mid-blue. Very specific. It's our brand color.

AB: Favorite foods?

CB: I'm Italian, so pasta with lemon, and also, very fresh sushi.

AB: Pet Peeves?

CB: People who constantly look at their phone during meetings or lunches. It drives me crazy, and can be quite disrespectful. 

AB: Vices?

CB: Candy. Especially, Swedish Fish.

AB: The best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

CB: It's not actually a single piece of advice, but rather years of struggle to persuade my Father about my design ideas. He is my biggest supporter, yet harshest critic. By making it hard for me, he taught me to fight for what I want. That's the life lesson and gift I carry with me each and every single day that I run my business and create new pieces.

AB: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

CB: The ability to clean-up rooms like Mary Poppins - by clicking my fingers.

AB: Anything exciting we can look forward to from the brand?

CB: Yes…a lot! New pieces, new collaboration, and soon enough a new retail concept.

AB: A fun fact no one knows about you?

CB: I often mistake celebrities for each other. It has led to some seriously embarrassing moments… I won’t tell you with whom though!

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