Wearwell's co-founder Emily Kenney chats with the Founder + Designer of by ren jewelry, Rachael Compton, based in the beautiful Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia. Rachael talks about the silversmithing video that changed her life, how she focuses on sustainability, and the by ren jewelry she reaches for daily.
Rachael: I have always loved jewelry, probably more than the average person. I was a bit obsessed, actually. I stumbled upon a video of a woman silversmithing, and it changed my life. After some research, I decided I would learn to make the pieces that I always searched for but rarely could find.
Emily: So how did your interest in jewelry design begin?
Rachael: I knew absolutely nothing about jewelry before I picked up a torch. I mean nothing. I had zero interest in being a jewelry designer before the day that I decided to be a jewelry designer. It might seem impulsive, but I think everything clicked for me and I was like, “Yes, this is it.” Now, I will absolutely nerd out with you about jewelry from the designing to the making to the industry as a whole, but at the beginning, it was different.
Emily: Wow, I love that it was such an instantaneous fit! What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to shop more consciously?
Rachael: Start small. Don’t get bogged down in the details at first. Choose one place to begin and go from there. Maybe for you, that’s choosing to stop buying from large fast fashion brands. You aren’t going to find a sustainable, slow fashion brand that will be able to replace all of the styles available from those other companies. But overconsumption is the name of the game for fast fashion, so instead, figure out what it is that you like. Decide what you feel good in and what your personal style is. Narrow down to specific items and then find alternative sustainable and ethical brands that make pieces you love.
Squiggle Hoops, Silver
Emily: Totally agree with that mindset. Small steps to shop less and more intentionally will go a long way! In three words, how do you describe by ren’s aesthetic?
Rachael: Playful, minimal, and modern.
Emily: What are your favorite by ren pieces and how do you like to style each of those?
Rachael: I reach for the Squiggle Hoops and the Passage Hoops again and again. These two are my go-to everyday earrings. The Squiggle Hoops are more playful so I like to wear them when I’m feeling a little fun, a little funky. The Passage Hoops are clean, elegant, and classic. They’re the earrings I put on when I want to look like I have my shit together but also feel cute. The Micro Organic Ring is also a daily grab for me. It stacks so well with all of my other rings and the organic shape can be subtle or played up depending on the other jewelry that I’m wearing.
Smooth Ear Hugger Hoops, Silver and Gold-Filled
Emily: The Micro Organic Ring is also a personal favorite, but I also am obsessed with the Stacking Ring Set. It’s so versatile! What’s next for you — any exciting things happening with by ren that you’re looking forward to?
Rachael: The next big thing is a storefront here in Philly! I haven’t officially announced it yet because it’s still in the works, but I am so excited for it. The shop will be located in Fairmount (my favorite place in this city; I love it here!) and will carry a curated selection of fine jewelry, homewares, and accessories. It’ll be a place to find unique and sustainable pieces that nourish your sacred spaces both internal and external. We're aiming to open soon, so fingers crossed!
Emily: Congrats! I cannot wait to visit the new storefront in Philly and am so happy to have you part of the wearwell community.
Shop the by ren collection at wearwell.