DANNIJO was the direct result of sisters’ Danielle and Jodie Snyder’s desire to design a collection of jewelry that was a fusion of their personalities: a little bohemian and a little rock-n-roll. The line, co-designed by Danielle and Jodie, was officially born in early 2008 and now includes a full range of their signature entangled necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, cuffs, and rings.
With a diverse celebrity following that includes Milla Jovovich, Beyoncé, and Natalie Portman, as well as appearances on the CW’s addictive teen soap Gossip Girl, DANNIJO is experiencing a surge of attention that is most unusual for a brand just around a year-and-a-half old. Fashion Group International also nominated the brand earlier this year for a Rising Star Award in its fine jewelry category.
“Our jewelry is a juxtaposition of these two polarities,” said the 24-year-old Danielle, who adds that when designing their jewelry, her and Jodie were known to employ a mixture of metals, sterling and oxidized silver, Swarovski crystals, chain detailing, pops of color, and even spikes.
“Jewelry is so personal. It’s a form of art and we like to find the balance between these two,” Jodie said. “We’ll take something with a rugged feel and soften it up. We like to mix unexpected elements to give our pieces their own unique look.”
For the fall, the two took DANNIJO’s best spring pieces and expanded upon their mantra of welding together romance and rocker chic. They also drew upon their combined inspirations, which include Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and even AMC‘s cult drama Mad Men.
“We took the polished approach that they have in the show. Back then, women paid more attention to detail when getting dressed, which is something that got lost in the ‘80s,” Jodie said.
Jodie holds up the Riley necklace, a layered piece comprised of 18K gold and silver tangled brass chains and a double-strand silver-plated necklace from the Cult Couture collection. The necklace, which retails for around $340, also comes in gold, silver, rose gold, and gunmetal as color options. Another standout is the Rocco ring from the Lost at Sea collection, where many of the pieces include coral, aqua aura, and pearls. This ring is a statement piece in itself, as the oversized diamond-set sterling silver pyrite is sure to up the ante of any outfit. Since they are all handmade in New York, no two rings are alike due to the natural shapes and sizes of the stones.
Interestingly, neither of the girls were formally schooled in the art of jewelry design. Prior to launching DANNIJO, Jodie worked in men’s accessories and for shoe brand Sam Edelman, and Danielle in sales for a jewelry designer that specialized in diamonds. The two had dabbled in jewelry design for years, but it wasn’t until both sisters quit their jobs in December of 2007 that they were able to put all their energy into forming DANNIJO.
In addition to running DANNIJO with her sister, Danielle prides herself on being a devout humanitarian. Stemming from the philanthropic principles that have been instilled in her from a young age was the creation of LWALA– Living With a Life-long Ambition, the non-profit Danielle co-founded with friend Alexa von Tobel in 2006 after the two completed an internship in Lwala, Kenya and created a documentary about AIDS.
“It’s a re-growth and grassroots initiative,” said Danielle of the social-design paradigm she abides by. “We are fundraising so that we can help build the very first health care facility in the village. It’s an intersection between fashion and philanthropy. Once we’re in a position to give back, we will. We would like to weave LWALA into our business model.”
If the girls aren’t busy enough, they can be found updating their Pulse blog on the DANNIJO website. Postings include photos of celebrities wearing their jewelry, a weekly interview series, links to websites where the line has been mentioned, as well as anything that interests the two.
“Our brand is about lifestyle and we like to infuse a journalistic approach,” said Danielle. “It’s a cross-section of industries and a taste of life as an entrepreneur.”