As a girl I love jewelry, love shopping, and love the environment. I’m not the most ‘green’ person on the planet but I do try to do the best I can to reduce my carbon footprint. I was so excited when I found out about Zass Design! It combines environmental consciousness and style all in one affordable package!
That money clip with the funny looking guy is actually an up-cycled money clip made from my husbands favorite soda – Vernor’s Ginger Ale. It was my wedding anniversary present for him back in February. I think it came out perfect and he loved it!
Zass design was actually founded and is run by a mother daughter duo who are passionate about respecting the environment and making eco-friendly pieces with flair! They were kind enough to give Shabby, Chic, & Cheap an interview and some fabulous earrings perfect for the 4th of July! Be sure to read all about them below and enter the giveaway for your chance to win!
Aren’t these the perfect summertime studs? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win!
Tell us about Zass Design and how it started?
We are the mother-daughter team that makes that relationship between recycled materials and your closet work so wonderfully. We are happy to call Raleigh, NC home, where we’ve spent the last 17 years teaching ourselves how to make jewelry & perfecting our craft.
We are purveyors of handmade jewelry from up-cycled materials, and knew there had to be a way to continue the life of such unique + overlooked material without just throwing them in the recycling bin with yesterday’s newspaper. We paired some outside the box thinking with our Graphic Design degrees earned in our professional careers and started making earrings, necklaces, and bracelets with the vibrant prints that were once magazine pages.
In 2009 we took our nighttime hobby and created a limited edition jewelry collection of printed material to launch Zass Design (Zulay and Steph Smith).
How is it having your mom/daughter as your partner?
It’s a blessing! Honestly! We get this question all the time as many people are surprised that we are able to spend hours upon hours together working in the studio. Granted, we have our stressed out days just like everyone else but most of time we know to steer clear! Ha! It’s great to run a small business with family – who else could you trust more? We each bring a different perspective to our designs keeping them fresh and unique.
What inspired you to start your online store?
We really wanted to be able to share and make our designs accessible to all folks near and far! With the great response we had in Raleigh over the past 5 years we decided to open our online shop as we were getting emails for orders and it just made sense to make it easier on our customers. We’re always looking for ways to improve the online shopping experience especially since our pieces are very customizable and vary on materials available.
What types of products does Zass Design provide? Can any orders be customized?
Our products are mainly geared towards the ladies. We offer a wide variety of accessories including earrings, necklaces, cuffs, bracelets, and are always open to new ideas for accessory pieces. We recently launched our Mad For Men line for the guys, which includes money clips and cufflinks created from aluminum cans and bottle caps.
The beauty of our pieces is that they are all very customizable. We have a solid collection of our best sellers online and in our flagship studio/store but we continue to receive requests for custom pieces; particularly our Printed Material line. From Wedding Invitations to Birth Announcements, we create custom earrings out of our customer’s material.
How did you come up with the idea to use up-cycled materials? How do you get all the beer cans and various materials you use?
We are both graphic designers and have collected amazing magazines and printed materials over the years. We started Zass in 2009 with a focus on creating earrings out of these gorgeous prints. Once we realized how fun and unique our idea to transform something that would normally be thrown out into a statement piece of jewelry, our minds went wild! Imaging the endless possibilities of material we had at our fingertips, we quickly began using PET plastics, cans, bottle caps, formica you name it – we’ve worked with it!
We have a great group of supporters and customers who continue to bring us materials. Many of our beer cans & bottle caps come from local restaurants and formica from local interior designers. We recently had a customer from Canada send us a box full of goodies and local Canadian brews! It was like Christmas all over again!
Why is it so important to you to be environmentally friendly?
There’s only one earth and we’re living in it! Everything we do impacts the years to come for our children and our children’s children and we like to think that every little effort helps even if its on a small scale. Our hope and dream is that our pieces can make simple changes in one’s life, and help them move towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Have you always been a crafty person?
Absolutely! And I’m talking hemp bracelets & bead iron-ons baby! We both love so many different aspects of art and design with a true appreciation for the makers.
What makes Zass Design unique from other brands?
Our philosophy in every creation is to respect the environment and the fundamental principles of eco-design: reduce, reuse, recycle. We have a bold and attractive style that is evident in our pieces. Everything we create is something that we would wear ourselves!
Where can local readers find Zass Design in the Triangle area?
Zass can be purchased at our online shop here:
As well as these sweet spots around town: Arrow Haircuts, Deco, Design Box, Escazu Artisan Chocolates, Gather, & Revolver Boutique
How can Shabby, Chic, and Cheap readers keep up with all things Zass Design?
Fave 5 questions: These made us laugh! 🙂
Fave guilty pleasure to watch on TV? Both: Revenge & Nashville (man they can sing!!)
Fave junk food guilty pleasure? Zulay: Chocolate Ice Cream with Almonds // Steph: Nutella (like I could eat the whole container)
Favorite thing to do on the weekend? For both of us we love hanging out at the studio and around downtown Raleigh! And spending quality time with our pups!
Favorite splurge? Both: Plane tickets around the world – we LOVE to travel
Favorite [secret] celebrity crush? Zulay: Orlando Bloom // Steph: Just one?! Ha! Ok, Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Ian Somerhalder (abs!!), Pharrell Williams… ok ok I’ll stop…
Anything else about you or about Zass Design that you’d like Shabby, Chic, and Cheap readers to know?
Thinking and acting environmentally, it’s not a passing fashion, it’s a respectful attitude!