• Elizabeth Sayner

    2012 November 7

    Website To Watch: Anthem Wares

    (NEW YORK) Since its soft launch in September and official kickoff pre-Sandy at The Standard, e-commer Anthem Wares has been gaining momentum in the accessories realm. And it's easy to see why. The buzzy website culls emerging artisans from around the world who specialize in jewelry, handbags, and accessories to develop exclusive (and affordable!) collabs you won't find anywhere else. Your Daily phoned founder Elizabeth Sayner for the 411. BY MARIA DENARDO 

    How did Anthem Wares begin?
    I wanted to create a modern, fun accessories site focused on the best of the best in the independent designer market. Before Anthem Wares, it was difficult to find that one authoritative place where you knew you were getting innovative, quality merchandise at a good value. In the early stages of development, we found out that many emerging designers also felt that their brand didn't have a well-curated home. That's why in our inaugural season, we were able to get as many collaborations as we have now.

    Who have you collaborated with so far?
    We're really excited about a capsule collection with a Rome-based brand called Nabi Cooperative, which specializes in luxury leather bags inspired by bicycling. There's a handbag from the collection, for instance, that was created with the help of a carpenter in Rome to make it look like a vintage carpentry bag. We're also working with an accessories designer in London, who uses vintage Swarovski crystals and sequins. We partnered on a line of exclusive collars that will be available on the site in the near future. For other designers and brands, we're focusing more on specific pieces. For example, we sell Campbell Collections, whose designer Michelle Mason made some exclusive rose gold jewelry with us.

    Where do you typically find new designers?
    It's a combination of things--many times we learn by a bread crumb trail. Like, Nabi's designer was friends with a couple Roman socialites who have a whimsical bag collection called TL-180. We're going to start carrying their line in the spring. It looks like something Coco Chanel would wear in the twenties.

    What's your buying method?
    I really like to follow designers and collect their pieces from the beginning to see how they evolve, so we really try to identify those types of designers who are worthy of that. Hopefully our customers will develop the same appreciation! 

    What did you do before Anthem Wares?
    I started out working in finance, then helped start-ups during the dot-com boom developing digital strategies for companies like Salvatore Ferragamo and Sony. I've spent the last seven years in design and branding as the director of strategy at the Rockwell Group, leading initiatives for clients like Disney, Gap, and TOMS. Through that experience, I became very aware of the accessories space.

    How did you come up with the name?
    These brands and designers are my new anthems. I believe in them, and they say something about who I am. And our designers have their own unique anthems. We just try to provide a unique lens in which to view them. For our pre-launch, we took street style photos of stylish people to show their personal anthems. In the future, we'd like to make that space even more community-oriented by allowing people to submit their own style photos.

    What website would you say Anthem Wares is in league with?
    I'm biased because I started this when I couldn't find that one place that sold a great handbag for less than $1,000 that wasn't trying to copy someone else's designs. Look at Angel Jackson. You won't find the atomic mini box bag in yellow except through us! 

    Who's your target audience?
    It's the customer who's curious about design and interested in finding new accessory designers. They're interested in experimenting and taking risks on new talent. We also try to maintain a range of price points for our customer. The bags can get up to the $1,000 level. But we also have enamel and brass jewelry that's in the $20 to $75 range.

    Where do you envision the site five years from now?
    I'd definitely like to see more collaborations and private collections. We'd like to expand into a mobile capacity. I also love what's happening in menswear right now. We'd like to expand our men's offering and really create an accessories space where men and women can shop together.


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