Interview with Soluna Soluna

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Soluna Soluna is a design studio focused on accessories and founded by two sisters. Lillian and Helen create pieces that are simple and bold at the same time, inspired by a love of typography and geometric shapes.

The sisters are quite different. Lillian focuses on design and likes her K-pop, while business-oriented Helen prefers peace and quiet. They complement each other and come together in the creative process, drawing inspiration from shared memories and their NYC upbringing.

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Their current collection features pendants, earrings, cufflinks and notecards. Lillian and Helen tell us more about themselves, the Soluna Soluna story, and their plans for the next few months.

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A little trivia about yourselves

– Born & raised:
NYC
– Cups of coffee a day:
Lillian: 4-5
Helen: 1
– Currently reading:
L: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
H: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo
– Currently listening to:
L: K-pop music
H: Likes her peace and quiet
– Favorite pizza place:
Unanimous: Inatteso Pizzabar Casano
– Hidden talent:
L: So organized that she can’t find what she puts away
H: So not organized but can always find what she never put away
– If I didn’t do what I do, I would be a…
L: Psychologist
H: News Anchor

What inspired you to start your business?
After spending time in Hong Kong and Seoul, Lillian returned to New York City to pursue a graphic design degree, where she fell in love with a way of thinking and a way of being. As a designer who spent hours in front of the computer, Lillian searched for outlets to work on more tactile things.

In 2007, she took her first jewelry class, where she was introduced to the technique of ring formation and an appreciation for an art form that dates back to ancient Egypt. She took her love of typography and geometric forms and started applying this to jewelry making. Lillian was hooked and she invited her sister, Helen, to join her on this adventure, which they lovingly call Soluna Soluna.

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What is the production process like, from concept to finished product?
Each piece in our collections has its origin from a memory in our upbringing or a place we have visited. We believe that the magic is found in the everyday and from looking at the world through the lens that our parents raised us in, specifically a world based in a grittier New York City influenced by both the American and Chinese cultures and values. Most importantly we create base on ourselves as the starting point by focusing on what we may not be able to find immediately available to us.

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We tend to use different techniques to bring our sketches to life, but focus on casting, laser-cutting and silkscreening to produce our jewelry and line of jewelry and type inspired tee-shirts. Each piece of jewelry is hand finished by us, where one or both of us have polished, soldered and packaged each piece to send it on to another admirer and wearer. We take pride in being able to personally say hello to the customer.

What are you planning for the next few months?
We would love to turn their attention to some custom work after some recent requests for rings and the extension of the area code collection, along with extending the designs for our line of “on-the-go” tee-shirts. Most importantly though, we want to continue to daydream, play and make the things we love for ourselves and others.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
A making space is really important. Ideas can be forgotten or not realized without giving oneself the room to go to to sketch and make things. As Soluna Soluna has grown, so has our tools, materials and ideas. Creativity and ideas come along when we can look at our work-in-progress. After several years of creating our collections on our living room coffee table and commuting to another studio to produce certain pieces, we realized that to be productive we need to designate a making space in our apartment to be the most productive.

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Taking breaks are important. Spending time with people important to us is crucial. We create when we are at a good place in life whether mentally, spiritually or emotionally. Ideas do not appear without us living our lives and having new experiences. Good design come from living our lives to the fullest and creating those memories that can fuel our design.

Finally, reach out to the world beyond what or who you know. We grow because we are interacting with others in our community regularly, and interesting adventures and ideas evolve this way. We definitely cannot design in a vacuum, so in order not to do so, we definitely go seek our own adventures.

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Cheers to Soluna Soluna! You can shop the full collection at solunasoluna.com. Don’t miss Lillian and Helen in person at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar on Nov 28 & 29.

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