Grad Marisa Perry Owns Jewelry Atelier in New York's West Village
FIDM Graduate Marisa Perry is the co-founder and co-owner of Marisa Perry Atelier, a jewelry design house and retail store in New York City’s West Village.
Born in Santa Monica and raised in Beverly Hills, Marisa Perry attended the nearby FIDM Downtown Los Angeles campus and graduated in 1981. "I use what I learned in my classes, every day, right here, right now, and have for years," she said. "The teachers were amazing and such nice people sharing what they had learned in the business over the years."
Marisa and her husband and business partner, Douglas Elliott, specialize in diamond jewelry, with special expertise in wedding jewelry, including engagement rings, wedding bands, and other custom-crafted pieces. After 11 years in the heart of SoHo, the couple relocated their boutique to a landmarked corner in the West Village in 2015 where they showcase Douglas’s artistry along with a curated selection of pieces by other designers.
"He designs all of the jewelry and oversees all of its manufacturing," she said. "He says he’s romance and I’m finance. Most importantly, I am fully in charge of how the look and feel of my brand is communicated. I oversee all content on social media, our website, and our marketing assets, which I helped to create. I designed my space with a designer to really represent and convey my taste and my personal style."
Marisa said what she enjoys most about her entrepreneurial career is something she never anticipated. "I see families unfold before my very eyes. I see the couple getting engaged, then coming in for wedding bands and getting married," she said. "Then they come in with babies for their push presents or just to visit and its awe-striking. I love it. It's incredibly touching." She also loves creating campaigns for their shop windows and said growing the business is her greatest thrill.
"I don't believe in the concept that a business' gross annual sales level off after five years," she explained. "I have pushed the marketing and sales as hard as I can every year for 17 years, and every year we grow." Even though they're located in a competitive neighborhood, Marisa believes they found success because they took a different approach. "I wanted to take into consideration the feelings of my customers in every design choice and in the way our customers are serviced," she said. "I wanted our shopping experience to be new, modern, and better, but most of all, I wanted us to be approachable."
While the atmosphere is luxurious, Marisa said her customers want to relax on the weekend. They often pop in to the atelier in their workout clothes, with their dog, and have a cup of coffee while they look at diamonds. Rather than salespeople in suits and ties or judging customers on their appearance, they take a downtown approach, which is more casual. "Trust me, we sell many an expensive ring to men and women, in weekend and workout clothes," she laughed. "Another reason for our success is we have, by far, the best looking and the best quality product for the best price."
Marisa said FIDM gave her a well-rounded foundation to grow upon. "I was more prepared for the jobs I had in many ways than other colleagues," she explained. "And I could do more things in more categories. Like I could sell, make beautiful displays, create nice marketing assets, and knew more about the product and fabrics than even my bosses at the time. FIDM is a great school for those of us obsessed with fashion, design, marketing, interior design, jewelry, accessories, and all things luxury. I always say, 'If you have to spend 40 to 50 hours a week working, do something you love, with products you love,' and FIDM can help you do that."
Learn more at marisaperry.com