This popular jewelry-and-interior designer just launched Rock Magic, a children’s accessory collection, and opens her own retail store this month. And she does it all with style.
Admire a statement necklace or pair of shoulder-dusting earrings at a gala in this town and, inevitably, the wearer will announce that they’re Summer Eliason originals.
Since launching her first eponymous collection of repurposed jewelry and accessories in Fall 2007, the energetic designer has quickly become a favorite of Louisville’s best-dressed set.
She’s the accessory designer you can turn to for head-turning, outfit-transforming accessories that make you look—and feel-- like the life of the party.
She comes to her aesthetic gifts genetically. Father Mark Eliason is the well-loved half of Jenkins Eliason Designs, which may be why the other half of her day job happens to be interior design. Summer has that rare ability to meld her personal talents and professional interests into one dynamic force. Late last year, she and close friend Katie Rhawn launched Rock Magic, a children’s accessory and t-shirt line, and in just a few weeks, she opens a retail space on Frankfort Avenue devoted to home and personal décor. And, yet, she also manages to be a very hands-on mom to her two adorable boys, Halston, 5, and Hutton, 2. We caught up with her to see how she balances it all so beautifully.
You’re launching your third jewelry collection. Why?
My life wasn’t quite hectic enough! It was funny, I’d been helping my friend Katie decorate her kids’room and she said, “I just want to follow you around and be your apprentice.” I told her I had been thinking about doing a kids’ collection, but I didn’t have time and I would love to do something with her. We both have two boys and we’ve really bonded over that. Somehow, we decided it would be fun to do this together.
What’s the concept for the children’s line?
We just wanted it to be bright and fun and whimsical. We tried to make it sturdy. We put some little animals in some of the necklaces and some boy things too. My kids love dinosaurs and zoo animals, so we put some of those into our pieces. We also create some with sand and a little pet necklace. I like to think that there is something any child can wear. We have little leather cord bracelets and chokers in neon colors. Her son is artsy and will wear the choker. My oldest, Halston, is five and he’s not doing it.
Where are they sold?
They are going to be sold at my new store on Frankfort, Summer Eliason Design, which will be interiors and jewelry. Right now, we have it at Clodhoppers and AJ’s in Lexington. We’re just starting to get it out.
How involved are the boys with your jewelry making?
They definitely get involved. They’ve grown up with me having a jewelry table that has tons of tiny little beads with everything on. Sometimes they want to play with it a little, but they understand that it’s my work.
What made you decide to open a store?
I wasn’t planning on going out on my own with a store. But, the thing is, the jewelry is great for holidays and great for Derby. But it’s not as big during the other months of the year. So, I have picked up interior design clients here and there. And then I still have walk-in accessory clients. The store will give me a home base and allow me to have a space to combine what I do under one roof. I will spend part of my days designing for the three collections (Summer Eliason, Summer Bees and Magic Rock) and part of my day doing design. I still haven’t figured out how often I will personally be at the store, but my mom will help some and my dad may possibly come in. I’ll also have a little room in the back for the boys.
How do you juggle owning your own businesses and being a mom of two?
I have always spent Mondays with them—since Halston was born. I like structuring my week like that. And my days are flexible, so I can take him to swim team and pick him up or be home with him when he’s sick. I love that I can be there to do those kinds of things. But it does work a little both ways. Having that flexibility means that I also have to fill orders and answer calls at home.
What advice do you have for other moms who might want to work for themselves?
I feel like owning my own business has been great. You have to be self-motivated to get the work done and grow your business, but it’s nice because your schedule is your own. I watch some of my friends with 8 to 5 jobs and children and I see how hard it can be for them to be there for the little things. Being your own boss can make your schedule a little all over the place, but, for me, it’s worth it. It’s nice to have the freedom to be there when they need you.