Jewelry label Annika Inez is based in Brooklyn, but its chic aesthetic seems rooted in the sensibility of a city nearly 4,000 miles away: Malmo, Sweden, where the line’s founder Annika Inez Wikstrom was born and raised.
“Maybe it’s the Scandinavian simplicity,” she says of her brand’s unassuming but confident look. It was fitting that she said it over the phone during a visit to Malmö last month. “I feel like when I’m designing, I’m always trying to reduce, reduce, reduce, but still be myself.”
Mostly in silver, her sculptures are often plated with 14 karat gold, but occasionally 10 karat gold, often tweaking traditional shapes to make them unique.
Take the brand’s best-selling Heart collection, which includes rings, necklaces, earrings and brooches. This ubiquitous symbol of love by Ms. Inez Wikstrom is fluffy and has a smooth silhouette. Unlike more traditional heart jewelry — which, as she puts it, is often “very cute” — she wanted something that was “feminine, beautiful, and soft, representing all the warmth and fuzziness, but still super clean shape. “
As Tanika Wisdom, Senior Buyer at Matches, puts it, “They’re not kitsch hearts; they’re hearts.” They’re more for the modern woman. Matches has carried the brand for about a year, she said, and for the past six months, the brand has been a top-five seller in the retailer’s fashion jewelry category, which is non-solid gold jewelry.
Annika Inez also has a line called Cravat, featuring silver- and gold-plated pieces that resemble floppy fabric bows, inspired in part by online tie-tying instructions. Ms Inez Wikstrom said she perfected the design by folding thin sheets of bubblegum pink wax into the shape.
Pieces from her Serpent collection include open-neck and cuff bracelets, whose curved details suggest the outline of a snake’s head rather than a faithful depiction. (Its streamlined curves are reminiscent of another Scandinavian brand, Georg Jensen.) Her Rolling Stone ring has a center ball of frost quartz or green amethyst that spins, a high-profile alternative to fidgeting.
Prices range from $145 for a small silver heart necklace to $795 for a pair of thick hinge hoop earrings in 10-karat gold.
“I get really annoyed by brands with unbelievably high prices,” says Ms. Inez Wikstrom, 51. After all, she points out: “A good design and a good product don’t have to be in the highest price range.” Products . “
While she would not disclose revenue figures, she said the brand’s sales in the first six months of 2023 exceeded its sales in all of 2022.
Jane Collins, senior strategist at trend forecasting firm WGSN, said the brand “has really hit a sweet spot of super granular pricing that consumers are willing to pay, especially when it comes to self-service purchases. That’s the whole idea of making a statement, but without At the expense of the earth.”
Later this year, the brand is expected to release a choker carved with dark green jasper with rust-colored flecks for about $400, and a handbag adorned with the same stone that could cost twice as much. “I feel comfortable with the more expensive items because of the way they’re made and the materials we use,” Ms. Inez Wikstrom said.
The designer and her three staff are stationed in a small walk-up building near the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a cluster of studios; her neighbors include a tattoo artist and a recording engineer. (She and her 16-year-old daughter live not far from the hotel in the Clinton Hill neighborhood.) Launched in 2019, the brand is sold by retailers including MoMA Design Store and Assembly New York in the US, Liberty London in the UK, Beams and Tomorrowland in Japan , as well as Chicun and FilterBoutique in China. Nordstrom said it would start featuring the brand on its website in October, and Ms Inez Wikstrom said Selfridges also planned to showcase the brand this autumn.
Most of the collection is made in India, and the factory’s operations are certified sustainable by the Responsible Jewelery Council, with some produced locally and in upstate New York.
Ms. Inez Wikstrom has lived in New York City (mainly Brooklyn) for over two decades, though her English still has a Swedish accent. She grew up in a stylish family – her mother and grandmother were Swedish designers, and her parents ran a womenswear store in Malmö when she was very young.
She moved to New York in 1995 and soon began studying at Parsons School of Design, but left before graduating. Within a few years, she married—now divorced—and started running a Manhattan store with her then-husband; it was called Annika Inez, and it sold Ms. Inez Wikstrom jewelry, as well as new and vintage accessories from other brands.
In 2005, the couple founded the By Boe jewelry brand, designed by Ms. Inez Wikstrom, which is a bit more refined than her current designs. She launched the current version of Annika Inez in 2019.
Ms. Inez Wikstrom says she loves seeing how different customers incorporate her creations into their own looks. “It’s almost like, you designed it and that’s 75 percent of it, but the other 25 percent has to be the wearer,” she said. “They do it by wearing it.”