A New York Homecoming for the ‘Queen of Hoops’

In New York’s SoHo area on a recent overcast afternoon, the windows of the new Jennifer Fisher store had a futuristic glow. Inside, women in flowing summer dresses and fitted denim browsed cases filled with gold-plated hoop earrings and customizable charms.

The walls formed a virtual hall of mirrors, with exposed brick for good measure (and a nod to the neighborhood). Salespeople asked potential customers: “Are you familiar with the brand?”

Even those who don’t know Jennifer Fisher by name have likely seen her work, on celebrities and others in the public sphere, including Rihanna, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zendaya, Adele, Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Obama.

Ms. Fisher has been in the jewelry business for 16 years and is a former wardrobe stylist who worked primarily for television shows and commercials. She is known in some circles as the “queen of hoops,” celebrated for her timeless hoop earrings made in a variety of sizes. The gold-plated brass hoops range in price from about $75 to $1,150.

Ms. Fisher’s design philosophy shies away from fleeting trends or zany statement pieces, instead embracing the everyday wearability of hoop earrings and the individuality of customizable charm necklaces.

“I never wanted to be that jewelry designer that makes a piece of jewelry that you’re going to wear once and put in your safe for another six months and not wear again,” Ms. Fisher said in a video interview. “I want to be on your dish on your night stand, that when you go and you put your glasses on in the morning or your contacts, you’re putting your Jennifer Fisher hoops or your necklace on.”

“I want to be there with you every day,” she added.

With Hollywood clientele in mind, Ms. Fisher decided to open her first West Coast store in Beverly Hills in February of last year. Despite the initial challenges of opening during the pandemic, the store has been a good test-drive for Ms. Fisher’s brick-and-mortar retail model.

Ms. Fisher, 51, said the company has found that once people see the jewelry in person, they feel more comfortable buying it online. “That’s really the intention of these stores,” she said.

“We have this whole history in SoHo,” Ms. Fisher said. “It’s like where we grew up.”Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times
A display of Ms. Fisher’s hoops at her new storeCredit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

The new flagship SoHo store is the brand’s only current New York location, though Ms. Fisher opened a store in the city in 2014 that is now closed. And though the California site may cater to the stars, Ms. Fisher said that New York is where her heart is. “We have this whole history in SoHo,” Ms. Fisher said. “It’s like where we grew up.”

Ms. Fisher’s own origin story came with serious challenges. When she was 30, she was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor, a rare noncancerous growth in the body’s connective tissue, in her chest.

The condition affects two to four people per every million globally, according to the National Cancer Institute. She underwent chemotherapy, and the tumor shrank. A few years later, Ms. Fisher said, she and her husband, Kevin, wanted to have children. Her doctor cautioned against it.

“My oncologist said, ‘Absolutely not. You cannot carry this baby. Your tumor grows from estrogen,’” Ms. Fisher said. After the loss of two surrogate pregnancies, Ms. Fisher took some time off and became pregnant naturally. She gave birth to a son, Shane, in the spring of 2005. Almost two years later, the Fishers had a daughter, Drew.

To commemorate the milestone of becoming a mother for the first time, Ms. Fisher craved a piece of jewelry all her own. “I wanted something that felt bespoke and I wanted something that felt custom. I wanted his full name and I couldn’t find it anywhere,” she said.

She decided to design the piece she envisioned: a gold dog tag inscribed with her son’s name. She searched New York’s diamond district and knocked on doors until she found someone to make it. She wore the tag around her neck, on a heavy gold chain. The necklace became an “instant conversation piece,” she said, when she was working on set. She started getting requests from crew members and higher-ups, which spurred her foray into customizable fine jewelry as a side gig.

In a “full circle” moment, Ms. Fisher’s enterprise has gone from a bedroom business to a 1,650-square-foot store in her old neighborhood. Here, an employee shows off one of the brand’s chains.Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

“One day, in our apartment on Greene Street — I had Shane, he was about 6 months old — and I had orders all over my bedroom, on the bed,” Ms. Fisher said. “My husband walked in and he was like, ‘Jen, this is a business.’ So I started a website back in the day before anyone was really doing it, selling customizable, direct-to-consumer fine jewelry.”

Now, in a “full circle” moment, Ms. Fisher’s enterprise has gone from a bedroom business to a 1,650-square-foot store in her old neighborhood. She plans to open seven more stores across the country.

So why is now the time for a brick-and-mortar expansion?

For one, the timing felt right for Ms. Fisher’s family life. “It was really important to me as a mother, if I was going to have these kids, to raise them,” she said. “I wanted to be around when they were younger.”

Now, Ms. Fisher’s children are teenagers. “They don’t need me,” she said. “It’s different. I can be traveling all around the United States, seeing my stores and building stores and traveling internationally now, and I don’t feel the mothering guilt.”

One night before the new store opened for business, Ms. Fisher took a walk through the space. It was still under construction, without its finishing touches, but seeing it come together felt “surreal,” she said. “I finally feel like we’re all grown up.”

Little Gems features joyful, under-the-radar shops and items to spur your fancy.

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