Sophie Monet Okulick’s design career is even fresher than her college diploma—which, as you can probably tell from her smiling face, is barely dry. And though she’s a relative newbie, the work is in her blood: Her father, John Okulick, is a sculptor, and she grew up around his enormous woodshop. After graduating from the New School in New York, she moved back to Venice, California, and started to contemplate a way to make inroads into design. “I started scavenging, taking clothes apart and reworking them. My goal was to have a stand at the flea market in Pasadena the summer of 2009,” she explains. “But then I had a light bulb moment: I read a story about two sisters designing jewelry in their grandparents’ scrap-metal shop, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?’” (Ed: Turns out those sisters were the super-inspiring duo behind Anndra Neen.)
Sophie’s first undertaking was a two-finger ring constructed with the help of a drill press and her father. From there, her namesake collection came together pretty quickly. After she got a handle on wood, she started bringing stones into the mix, giving her line an earthy, but ultimately sophisticated feel that takes most designers years to evolve to.