Over the years, I have learned that anything blue takes first place in my customers' hearts, just as it does in mine. And here are just a few of my favorite pieces. I hope you love them too.
I was a “Lucky Girl” and got to see not one but two shows with the inimitable Jacqui Naylor who imparts her classical jazz training and sultry voice onto standards like Nina Simone’s ”Feeling Good”, which she makes her own by layering the lyrics over the melody from Bob Marley’s “I shot the Sheriff”. And not to be missed is her original “Celebrate Early and Often”.
“In the never ending “Next Big Thing” sweepstakes, but on Jacqui Naylor to be a frontrunner. She bears a striking resemblance to Diana Krall and echos the Canadian diva’s roundly rich sound. Naylor’s voice suggests, though, a slightly deeper sensuality and is charged with a strong jolt of Norah Jone’s folk-jazz electricity. Her originals are Joni Mitchell good”.
- From Vogue
It all started with Ryan, the lowly hermit crab.
On a trip to her parents' beach house in the summer of 2003, Meg Carter's towheaded younger son Garretson bought a hermit crab and named him after a Power Ranger. When Ryan luckily abandoned his home, Carter — a Northwestern MBA who left a consulting career upon the birth of her oldest son Teddy — couldn't bear to toss the unique, pearlized shell. Instead, she ran it through the dishwasher and found a way to pierce a hole and attach it to a string of pearls.
"My father is the one who helped me figure it out. He was a talented amateur craftsman who could build just about anything. I still use some of his tools from ship modeling."
When her summer friends saw the shell choker, they begged Carter to make more. Working furiously, she made a dozen more necklaces and sold them all. "My father couldn't believe I could sell this stuff," Carter laughs. (The original Ryan shell now resides in an Upper East Side apartment overlooking Central Park in the jewelry box of Meg's stylish friend, and first customer, Caroline).
Back in her home in Virginia, Meg Carter Designs was officially launched at Christmas of 2003. "I had no experience in retail, and also had to learn where to buy shells, to find the right clasps and to source stones. I started taking my designs to stores I knew and loved. It was such a thrill to see women wearing my jewelry."
Carter spent her childhood summers on the Delaware shore, was a member of the Dartmouth College sailing team and has always had a love affair with the sea. She now summers in southern Maine.
"I was always creative – painting, needlepointing, cooking, gardening – but never found my artistic stride. I was an economics and math major who studied spreadsheets for a living. I thought work had to be serious — not fun. Boy was I wrong!"
Slowly, with the help of her website, Carter's designs began showing up in elegant resort boutiques from Bermuda to Palm Beach and on fashionable types like Katie Courie and Lilly Pulitzer. The combination of classic style and natural materials took "beach chic" to a new level.
"People on vacation want something that reminds them of their time in a beautiful place. The jewelry does that in a fun way. It's definitely a luxury that looks like more than it costs," says Carter, who takes her inspiration from old movies and style icons like CZ Guest. "It's the perfect little indulgence."
Pale sunset pinks and perfect Caribbean blue stones evoke sun burnished women in white caftans sipping Veuve Cliquot on their verandas. But Carter's designs also appeal to the white skinny jean and Tory Burch sandal set.
"Each one is a work of nature."
Now sold in more than ninety stores, Carter's designs are feminine, one-of-a-kind pieces that never fail to attract the "where did you get that?" request.
But far from being jaded after her second decade in business, Carter always takes a moment on Christmas or Valentine's Day to stop whatever she's doing and picture all those tiny white boxes with her signature blue ribbon being opened.
"I imagine putting smiles on all those women," she laughs. "That's the best part."
-By Stephanie Mansfield