What The Nell started with bananas. My friend Marissa Von Bleicken was set to be on the show “The Glee Project” and wanted to make an impression on TV. Specifically, she wanted to make an impression with a pair of enormous cartoonish banana earrings. The problem? This jewelry did not exist…yet. The solution? Me. My vision. And my ability to create custom-made works.
Marissa asked me to make a pair of big banana earrings from scratch and I happily accepted the challenge. I designed and created a bold pair of hand painted wood earrings, which she wore so many times on the show that there was a sudden surge in demand for the exact banana earrings. The trouble with this was that Marissa had the only pair in existence. So to supply that demand, I had to decide if I would make more. I decided yes because I love to make things. Essentially, I started my What The Nell business just to sell big goofy banana earrings.
I've been expanding the line by adding bold, colorful playful pieces through the years. I craft jewelry after food, animals, symbols, body parts… you name it. Sometimes I change the details, sometimes I customize for clients. I still make each piece by hand including the bananas. The bananas have stayed.
You may be wondering why I make everything by hand. The answer is simple: it’s my passion. The most automation involved in any What The Nell product is pouring resin into a mold. Of course, I am completely involved in this process because I am the one sculpting every mold and I personally mix the resin fresh each time.
Today, the What The Nell brand is an outlet for my adventurous and vivid ideas. I incorporate the things that make me happy like bright colors, sweet foods, cute animals and vibrant styles into my jewelry creations. Every single item from my What The Nell line captures the playful joy that I felt when I was designing it. Eye-catching style that nobody will expect, but everybody will see coming. I mean, they will see it the moment you walk in. How could you miss bananas that big?