Erika Peña Strikes Gold
by Rebecca Kleinman
Provenance: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Saved by the shell: When the fashion showroom she’d been working for failed to pay her, Peña began designing jewelry, creating her eponymous collection’s initial earrings by deconstructing a shell chandelier. “I knew what would sell from years spent in the industry,” says the former lingerie designer, who grew up in Fort Myers and was selected as one of Gen Art Miami’s Fresh Faces of 2007.
Glittering Success: The stuff of emerging designers’ dreams, Peña sold $70,000 worth of jewelry at her first trade show in 2005, made her editorial debut in InStyle and grew quickly to 700 accounts in 30 countries. This year she added oversize leather handbags and batik wovens using traditional Balinese techniques. “I’m a big-bag girl, and so are my customers. Busy women have a lot to carry.”
Starck mad: Peña’s designs can be found at Dulce in the Gables and Lace Nail Labs on the Beach. In September, she launched a glossy, whimsically designed San Juan boutique reminiscent of her signature aesthetic. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Philippe Starck and his quirky Alice in Wonderland themes.”
JUST THE FACTS
Miami fave: Pasha’s for tabouli Jewelry for men? I’m a fan. In fact, I introduced my first men’s line recently.
More inspiration: My former homes—Bali, Sevilla, Puerto Rico
Looking ahead: I’d like to add fine jewelry to my repertoire—diamonds, baby!
photograph by mariela alvarez