Missoma, founded by Marisa Hordern, was one of the first of its kind in the demi-fine jewellery market. Worn and loved by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Cambridge, and tons of celebrities, Missoma pioneered gold vermeil over a decade ago and is still leading the conversation on cool, affordable, quality jewellery. It opened up the niche for similar brands like Otiumberg, By Alona, and Alighieri to follow suit.
Straight out of University, Hordern couldn't afford fine jewellery, but she wanted beautiful pieces that were longer lasting than costume jewellery — that's how Missoma was born. "You want that fine jewellery finish so that it has quality, with the finished craftsmanship, and then you want that durability and longevity, but . . . at the right price," Hordern told POPSUGAR.
We sat down with Hordern to chat about the inner workings of Missoma, jewellery trends, her favourite pieces, and how she takes care of her mental health while running a successful business.
Missoma Pioneered Demi-Fine Jewellery, but What Is It?
Some of us might be familiar with the term "demi-fine jewellery," but when the brand launched in the turbulent economic climate of 2008, it was tricky to educate customers on the sophisticated gold-plating method called gold vermeil — high-quality sterling silver that is plated with a thick layer of gold.
"I do think that this huge wave of other brands coming in is because we suffered for years as people had to get to know vermeil. 'Oh, we can trust this quality! Oh, this piece lasts! Oh, this is good quality!' Because at the end of the day, it's all about that in-between where you want that fashion forward look so it's cool," Hordern said.
How Marisa Hordern Took Her Designs From Mum's Kitchen Table to Ethical Factories in Jaipur
The next challenge? Hordern wasn't trained in jewellery but she was certain that jewels and gemstones were her passion. Without even a business plan, she dived into building one of the most successful demi-fine jewellery companies to date.
"I had to teach myself," Hordern admitted. "I started making pieces around the kitchen table with my mum. Then, I started finding jewellery students who wanted some extra cash on the side. They would do the beading for me, I would go around and basically deliver bags full of beads, it was like I was delivering drugs," she joked.
"Then, I had to find the factories, as we grew too big and we needed to scale it," Hordern recalled. "I'd visit Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and ended up finding a responsible factory in Jaipur that prioritises the health and safety of employees."
As a woman looking for the right factory in countries where she was an outsider, Hordern had some intimidating times. "When it was getting dark and I didn't know where I was, I actually had panic attacks. I would go by myself and I had to force myself. It was something where you have to push yourself to be bolder, be more confident, and get through it. And a lot of it is willpower."
"I actually had panic attacks. I would go by myself and I had to force myself. It was something where you have to push yourself to be bolder, be more confident, and get through it. And a lot of it is willpower." — Marisa Hordern
Marisa Hordern's Favourite Jewellery Trends and the Crystals She Carries For Good Vibes
Hordern told POPSUGAR that "men's jewellery is coming back, big time." She's also loving that silver is having a revival. "I think a lot of customers want to wear silver and gold together," she added. Missoma is also "going into a lot more vintage pendants as well. It's all about your own personal style and collecting elements that mean something to you" — like her favourite gemstones and crystals.
"I carry around aventurine which is really good for protecting me against negative energy," Hordern says. "Aventurine encourages inspiration and optimism. It's got a great energy, it's very open, and I like that". There's also a huge pyrite at the Missoma office among many other magical stones, which Hordern said "is for wealth of spirit." "Then I have labradorite on my desk, which is my favourite. It's very grounding and dispels negativity. It's about protecting your energy so that you can give yourself the best chance of being open and authentic. Even if you don't believe in crystals, for me, it's actually about the power of intention. It's your own intention, saying, 'This is what I want to give out to the world or take in.' And the crystals are just a reminder of how I want to live my life."
Ahead, shop Marisa Hordern's seven "current obsessions" from Missoma.