Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, Jewelry Designer to the Stars and the Modern Woman
Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, the woman whose parents met and fell in love over a jewelry case, was destined to be a jewelry designer. Her jewelry is highly sought after by fashion stylists, celebrities and collectors. Her pieces are extraordinary and have worn by celebrities including Sophia Bush, Jillian Barberie, Nona Gaye, to name a few. The beloved jewelry designer tells us a little about herself and her quest to make women feel beautiful.
1. Tell us about yourself. What are your fashion creds?
I started designing jewelry at 5 years old after being inspired by Wonder Woman’s power bracelets. My formal jewelry design and precious metals training began in a 10th grade jewelry class at Mentor High School. After high school I continued my art and business studies via a BFA in Jewelry from Kent State University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Baldwin Wallace University.
I launched my business in 1999. Since then, my designs have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums and worn by celebrities including Sophia Bush, Jillian Barberie, Nona Gaye, Dina Manzo, and Miss Brazil Debora Lyra. My collections have also been featured on the cover of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, LA Brides, and Created Woman magazines and the runways of New York Fashion Week.
My work has also been recognized with a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award from Sales & Marketing Executives International, an Arts Business Challenge Award from the Council of Smaller Enterprises and in 2010 I won the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) Old Becomes New Design Challenge.
2. Why did you decide to design jewelry? Tell us about your line, materials you use, and how pieces are produced.
My art is my life. I can’t remember a time when being an artist or creating jewelry wasn’t a major part of my day. I love the creative process and sharing my work with others. To do anything else doesn’t feel right.
I design feminine ethereal piece for extraordinary women with a unique sense of personal style. My collections feature gemstones and recycled sterling silver from trusted USA based suppliers. I carefully handcraft each piece to ensure the highest quality and to last for many generations.
3. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur in the fashion industry?
Trusting my gut instincts when opportunities present themselves and having the confidence to gracefully turn down opportunities that are not a right fit for me. There are a lot of people in our industry who “over promise and under deliver” and end up taking advantage of inexperienced designers. There’s so much truth to the cliché “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
4. Describe your personal style.
I have a one-year-old daughter so my mommy duty wardrobe is really casual in order to keep up with her. The rest of the time my wardrobe is filled with an eclectic mix of unique pieces from smaller independent brands that are great for highlighting my jewelry.
5. Who are your style icons and why?
Jewelry designer Charlotte Lynggaard, musician Tori Amos and actress Tilda Swinton, each of these women have a unique personal style that reflects their artistic vision.
6. What’s always in your frig?
Almond milk, peanut butter and jelly (my husband’s favorite snack) and fresh fruit and veggies.
7. What three things can’t you live without?
My husband, my daughter, my pets and my studio.