Marianna HarutunianClothing Designer Female Los Angeles, California, US
My Website: WebsiteMy MM URL: http://www.modelmayhem.com/mariannasjewelry
Mayhem # 1987242
About MeThe Girl and the Slipper
Some designers source their inspiration from pain and torment. Others build beauty through art by standing on the shoulders of giants. Me? Well, running the risk of sounding totally clichÈ and cheesy, my inspiration comes from my family. Scoff-worthy, I know, but true none-the-less.
I could start this story at the beginning, way back when in Yerevan – or the capital of Armenia as the laymen call it –, but I’ll skim over the details and dish the highlights.
My family packed up and checked out when I was 2, immigrating to the US in search of a better life. That better life came in the form of a 16-hour day, truck-driving job for my Dad and a stay-at-home position for my Mom to raise both my brother and me. Times weren’t peachy, but they weren’t the pits either; my parents actually managed to spoil me with what little they had. But of all the gifts I received, the one I cherished the most was an old pair of slippers my mom used to wear; a pair of slippers embellished with beads.
To be honest it was the beads more than the footwear I admired. I remember not-so-fondly waiting ever so impatiently for my mom to wear the slippers out so I could rip them apart and salvage the beads. With my new found treasures I would craft wondrous accessories that my parents deemed ‘cute’… but little did they know what aspirations were brewing.
Flash forward to me cutting class a couple days before graduation. Most kids cut to go smoke, drink or engage in other recreational activities, but me, I found my way into a bead store. I know, I’m a rebel.
So I roll in and am immediately awestruck by the owner making a necklace out of glass beads. I was entranced! Fascinated! Inspired! I grabbed a basket and filled it with everything I needed to create my own. However, blind optimism can sometimes overshadow the very real obstacle of the dollar sign, but even though I fell short on change to buy what I had picked, the owner let me slide and I rushed home to make my first necklace within 8 minutes flat. I was the Phelps of beading! Or… well, maybe the Phelps of amateur beading…but the flame had been ignited and I was off! The engines of creativity had roared to life and my passion burned bright with promise.
When my dad came home that same evening, he fell in love with my necklace. So much so he asked me to make more. I did. A couple days passed and my dad went driving around downtown LA, asking vendors if they were interested in selling them. He hit dead ends left and right, but pushed on, sacrificing his precious hours of sleep until he finally found one store that took an interest, and not just any interest, a genuine business interest.
The order for more came… in the hundreds!
The venture had begun. But with my dad struggling to balance his own profession with my pursuits, he took the risk of selling his truck and giving up his job to help me achieve my dream. He used what little money he had to help me set up my business, a chance I will never forget and forever be grateful for.
So there it is; the story of how my family risked everything to help me pursue my passion, and how they, in turn, became my greatest source of inspiration. We now have our store in Downtown LA, manufacture custom pieces for Disneyland, have featured in shows like ‘True Blood’ and ‘Dancing With The Stars’, and have even spotted celebrities like Cher and Dianna Ross sporting our jewelry. All in all, I think it’s not bad for a girl who began with throwaway slippers.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Bio,
Credits*Rental fee: 25% of the value from any piece your renting....Fee will be waived if I will receive a tear sheet.*
Things you probably didn’t even think of to think of…
The Name – The name of our store is a combo of my name and my mom’s – Maria and Anna. Sentimental, sure, but I wouldn’t change it (or my fab fam) for anything.
The Spider – Nope, no specific anecdote for this. I just happen to like the look of an arachnid on a bare neck. There’s something so dangerous and sexy about it…Something powerful and mysterious…
The Highlights – One of my highlight moments is getting to work with fashion/costume designer extraordinaire, Bob Mackie. Outside of that, getting to work with my family on a daily basis. Got to put them on a par.
The Crystals – We exclusively use Swarovski Crystals. Why? To put it plainly, they’re the best.
The Spotlight – While you may have seen some items from our catalog in shows like ‘True Blood’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’, you may have also spotted them in Gaga's music video Judas.