SEEN got to know Jewelry Designer Karen Stefani, of CCXX Designs, who shares her career journey, the inspiration behind her designs and her a few of her own personal style notes.
By Rachel Schostak
1. Tell us about about your professional background. I worked at MichCon gas in Marketing and Public Relations, for many years. I have my undergraduate and graduate degree from Central Michigan. I live in Grosse Pointe with my husband and two sons.
2. Can you tell us more about your company CCXX Designs and what inspired you to start it? With a passionate appreciation for jewelry, I looked everywhere to find an exquisite diamond belt buckle, to be worn formally or casually, and it simply did not exist. I decided to design a buckle myself, taking inspiration from estate pieces I loved. The exceptional Ahee Jewelers, brought my design to life. I had friends that wanted one too, and so the business was born.
3. What does CCXX stand for or what is the significance behind your company’s name? A representation of the Roman numeral 220, was inspired by the birth of both my sons in room 220. The number serves as a source of strength to me, and CCXX designs are made with the idea in mind that when a woman is wearing one of our buckles, she reflects radiance and confidence.
4. Your most memorable/significant career highlight so far? Being the featured designer at the Polo Club, in Palm Beach.
5. Where do you find inspiration for your designs? The current collection is inspired by my love of estate jewelry.
6. What do you enjoy most about your job? I am able to be creative, yet also be in charge of the business side.
7. A must have piece from one of your collections and why? The Juno, my first design. It is symmetrical and sleek with royal accent of sapphires complimenting the surface set with 290 diamonds totaling over 5.9 carats in an 18-karat white cold setting.
8. Owning your own company is a big commitment and very time consuming, can you explain how you find balance between work and your personal life? Being organized is essential. Fortunately and unfortunately my family is also busy. My work hours are focused, so when it is family time, I have quality and quantity.
9. Since May is our “women’s month” can you please share with us a woman or a few women that you are inspired by in the business world or your personal life? My friends, because I can see first-hand how they balance it all. This first collection of buckles is the “Goddess Collection” which represents and is dedicated to the strengths of women.
Now onto some fashion/style questions…
10. One word to describe your style? Classic-feminine.
11. Accessory or possession you can’t leave home without? Bottle of water. My car does not start without a bottle of water in it!
12. Where do you find style + fashion inspiration? Fashion magazines and following Brandon Maxwell, my favorite, on Instagram.
13. Best style advice ever received? Wear what you feel good in, it will radiate from with-in.
14. Who inspires your style? Do you have a style icon? Actually, one of my closest friends is my inspiration. She has a classic style with a splash of trend. I am not sure if they are icons, but I love Amal Clooney’s style and lately Jane Fonda who is truly amazing!
15. If you could raid one person’s closet, who’s would it be? Amal Clooney.
Now onto some local love…
17. Favorite thing to do on the weekend in your community? Walk or bike near the water.
18. Favorite local restaurant? Gaudino’s.
19. Your go-to coffee spot? Morning Glory, it is darling, with a cozy fireplace.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by? “Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right.”