Designer Spotlight : Melissa Tyson

Melissa Tyson is a wife, mother and a Goldsmith jewellery designer who’s creations are a constant journey of joyful exploration! She has a desire to discover the little things, the colors in a butterfly wing, the glitter in a flower petal, or a rock in the river.

House of Coco was so intrigued by her work that we went along to find out more…

When did you launch the brand  and what was the reason behind it?
I launched the brand in 1999, I was fresh out of art school and was invited by some friends from the Jewelry Program to move to the beach and share a studio space with the five us.  It was a great collaborative effort; we all shared our tools, that was very nice just starting our businesses right out of college! We had a gallery in the front and workshop in the back. The reason behind it:  I was a starry eyed young adult determined to live my dream.

Whats your background?
I’ve been creating jewellery as long as I can remember…. When I was a young kid I would scavenge constructions sites for bright coloured wire and make it into jewellery to sell  at the swimming pool. My technical training started at East Carolina University, the minute I touched metal I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The Metal Design was heavily focused on craftsmanship and design, which I love that my style has evolved into a more rustic or organic style but the construction of the jewellery is well crafted. My studies took me to Italy where I was able to apprentice with a Goldsmith/Sculptor Lisa Sotilis, who was a close friend and student of Surrealist Georgio DeChirico and now owns his Sculpture Collection, we were able to work in the foundry he created in, amazing experience! She also created large gold wearable art worn by royalty and high society members around the world. Also, I’ve apprenticed with Montana blacksmiths and a Montana Swordsmith who was trained in Japan in the art of Damascus Swordsmithing, we mined iron ore straight out of the Montana Mountains and smelted it into beautifully patterned Damascus blades. My goal has always been to learn from as many metalsmiths as possible, this is a craft you can spend your whole life learning and never learn it all, hence my love for it!


How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
The company currently is just myself.  If I continue to grow at this rate, I will be hiring studio apprentices by the end of the year.

If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would have started my business with a Gold Line.  Always I have done commissioned Recycled Gold and Conflict Free Diamond Jewellery but was hesitant to make the upfront investment to launch my own line.  It took me years to save up the money and scrap gold to cash in to start.  I’ve been a very grassroots company never taken a loan and always reinvested into my business to grow slowly over time. I do recall a Goldsmith that I met at a SNAG conference as a student and his advice in starting my business was “Go Gold”.   I think of that often and wonder where my company would be if I had heeded that advice 20 years ago.


What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
The hardest challenge has been the business side of  things.  I’m  a right brained creative type so the day to day business aspect of running a Jewellery Company is my main source of frustration.  I have hired some people to take over the business elements this year as I’ve grown so rapidly.  I would much rather just be in the studio designing and creating jewellery.

Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I used to make large body sculptures if you will…. Pieces to wear across your back or over your shoulder.  I scaled it down considerably as I realised there wasn’t much of a market for that kind of body art.  It would be fun to make those style pieces again for a movie.  I have provided jewellery for two feature films this year River Dogs & Lost Cat Corona, so who knows…

2015 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
This year my goal is to expand my line to a few more high end jewellery boutiques. My goal right now is to work smarter not harder.  I love what I do creating one of a kind jewels!  So I would love to hire a few  people to make my production jewellery and I can focus on higher end One of a Kind pieces and designing.  Also, I love living life, quality of life is very important to me and being a wife and mother to three kids under 5 years old.  I never want my job to become consuming but keep a balance between work and  enjoying life!


To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Getting featured in Vogue Magazine!  It has always been my secret dream to be featured along side other luxury jewelry designers in high fashion magazines. That dream was realised this year.  And now House of Coco, I’m so excited!

Which city do you feel most home in London, Paris or New York?
London, I moved there after college with my best friend after we spent the summer living in Greece!  It was such a vibrant inspiring city and I loved every minute of it!

Three beauty products you cant leave home without?
Ouidad heat and humidity gel, it’s a lifesaver for my wild  long curly hair.  Bare Minerals Mineral Dust its perfect to freshen up your face in a sec.  And my Doterra essential oil, perfume gives me a headache so essential oils are my go to fragrance.

Style means…?
Finding your own voice in design.  Paying attention to things that move you and make you feel alive!  That’s style to me. Being yourself.  I’ve never been one to follow trends.  It’s taken me years to realise that my true style in designing is what people love about my jewellery!  There have been times where I make what I think people would want, and it doesn’t sell.  Every time I make something  I’m in love with, even if it’s a risky design, I believe that that the passion imparted to the piece makes people gravitate towards it and love it even more!  Which in turn fuels my creativity even more.


Best thing about London to you?
The massive amount of Art Galleries and so many cultural events to attend!

Statement shoe or statement bag?
Um can I skip this one.  Would it be faux pas  for me to say I don’t have either.  I live at the beach flip flops are a way of life here.

If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
A long maxi dress.  As a working mom of three small kids I don’t have a lot of extra time to get dolled up.  This is the perfect solution, it takes less than 5 minutes to get out the door and look put together!

Favorite love song?
Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Best place for a  coffee?
Epic Food Company makes the best Carmel Latte on earth, and I love to grab one and take it to the  beach.

Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
My Dad always told me to “Go for it!” having parents that believed in me even when I was a staving artist is priceless.  Surrounding yourself with people that believe in you is so vital for success.


Guilty pleasure?
I love to have chocolate and coffee in the afternoon studio time, it gives me a little boost of energy to get through the end of the day!

If you could spend 24 hours anywhere in the world where would  it be?
I would have to say Norway, two things on my list of dreams are to see the fiords and the Northern Lights, that would kill two birds with one stone!

In the future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
My plan is to hire several artists to do production work for me so I can spend more time designing and creating custom work. I would love to have my work featured at select high end boutiques through out the US and expand into Europe.

Email:  for custom inquiries

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