Ethical Edit: Sandra Martinelli's vision for Delicora and socially responsible jewelry
Drop earrings or dainty minimalist ring? Picking the right jewelry has the power to transform the look and feel your entire outfit. But how often do we stop wonder about whether or not our jewelry is doing the right thing?
Socially responsible jewelry is hardly new, but it is hitting the mainstream channels with greater frequency.
Sandra Martinelli chats with us about how she founded Delicora and her vision for making an impact through her pieces.
How did you become interested in jewelry design and what has your career path been like?
I’ve always been artistic and had a passion and likeness for being crafty and creative. My journey into jewelry design started with creating pieces for myself with hypoallergenic materials. I have very sensitive skin so I have a negative reaction to most jewelry purchased at department stores. I started to design jewelry for myself out of necessity. From a career standpoint, my background is in product management in tech and eCommerce. While I was working on a selling platform, I did a competitive analysis and listed a few of my handmade pieces on Etsy. To my surprise, my designs started selling right away! I continued to create pieces and develop my Etsy shop. Offline, I connected with local shop owners to sell my designs in trunk shows and pop ups. As connections were fostered and momentum grew, I began to land shelf space in specialty boutiques. This once was a hobby, but has flourished into a small business. While I started out with a focus on designing jewelry, Delicora has allowed me to learn the ins and outs of retail buying, accounting, non profit partnerships, eCommerce, sales, marketing, social media, and more.
Why did you start Delicora?
I started Delicora based on the transformation I experience when I put on a great pair of earrings—the feeling is priceless. I believe every woman should have access to high quality, lightweight, and unique jewelry that simply makes them feel great and won’t break their bank.
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
Family and fashion. I grew up with a mom and grandmother who are jewelry minimalists and Gold Souls, so naturally I became one too. You’ll find predominantly gold tones in the Delicora line. Fashion also plays a large role. Over the years, my sense of fashion has also changed and evolved — less into trends and more into high-quality slow fashion. Slow fashion is a goldmine for my inspiration with Delicora. I’ve always looked at jewelry as the finishing touch to your look. I am inspired by fashion that stands the test of time, and love to design pieces that stay true to that philosophy.
How does the brand make an impact?
We donate 20% of our profits to a different cause each month. We are on a mission to deliver something that is far more impactful than what meets the eye. While we are incredibly passionate about jewelry design and sharing our line with the world, we hold ourselves to social responsibility in giving back to our community and communities in need. Our metal materials are sourced in California, and gemstones directly sourced through small U.S. and international businesses.
Why is the brand’s mission important in 2019?
Delicora is an evolving business with a growing social community. While the idea of fostering a community through Delicora is a positive one, the reality is that there are serious issues that exist within our local, national and international communities that span across education, natural disasters, empowerment, health and environmental challenges. We have a special opportunity to connect with our customers and followers through fashion and jewelry design while educating and spreading awareness of these realities and the incredible organizations that are tackling these issues.
What are some shifts in the way people are buying and wearing jewelry that you’re interested in or excited about?
Gold is back, baby! I could not be more excited about that. I’ve always preferred warm, gold tones, and you’ll find that in my collection. The most interesting feedback I’ve been hearing from customers is that they were formerly “silver only” but are now incorporating more gold into the mix. Another shift that I’ve noticed is the growing appreciation for handmade jewelry. When a piece of jewelry is designed and handmade, there are unique qualities that can’t be found anywhere else. When you wear a piece of Delicora jewelry, my goal is for you to experience the beauty of individuality.
Any tips on caring for jewelry pieces that are meant to be worn every day?
Keep your jewelry out of the shower and ocean! This goes for Delicora and any other type that you own. Other than that, you can always use a dry tissue or soft cloth to gently polish your pieces over time. Every piece of jewelry purchased online comes with a dust bag, we recommend you hang onto it for traveling to keep your pieces from getting tangled.
If you could wear one piece of jewelry forever, what would it be?
This is way too hard for me to choose. Can I choose 3? I’m going to choose 3.
My wedding ring of course!
The Redondo Hoops - These girls simply go with anything and everything. The hand hammered look brings on the perfect amount of sparkle and they are so lightweight that I forget I’m wearing them!
The Pfeiffer Bracelet - This is a new addition to our online store and my personal collection, and I’ve been wearing it daily. It was designed with a magnetic clasp, so I’m never wasting time awkwardly pressing my arm against my chest, cramping my thumb holding the clasp open, and fishing around for the hook. It sounds dramatic, but the struggle can be real! The magnetic enclosure on the Pfeiffer Bracelet is a GAME CHANGER, and I hope you love it too.