In the midst of a global pandemic that's forced so many to stay home (or at least spend more time there), it's helpful to have a successful jewelry business that also features a robust collection of chic home goods. Just ask Caitlin Mociun. The owner and founder of namesake label Mociun has managed to navigate the storm with her extensive and well-curated home treasures that are as playful and whimsical as they are elevated and well-crafted.
Since its early years, the New York-based company has been no stranger to necessary pivots and evolving. In fact, the label actually began as an apparel company before moving on to jewelry and home decor. "I started [the label] in 2006 as a women's clothing line, focusing on hand-printed textiles that I designed, printed, and sewed myself," says the founder, who studied textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design. "I never imagined then that I would have a fine jewelry brand and a store."
Like its thoughtful and intricate jewelry collections, the label's home goods are carefully selected and sourced with emerging brands and "styles and designs that [my buyer and I] feel are unique and new," says Mociun to TZR. "But we also like to mix in and work with brands that have been in business for hundreds of years. I think a big part of what we are looking for is a unique perspective and beautiful craftsmanship."
Mociun has always pulled inspiration for the label's items from the 20th-century German art school and movement The Staatliches Bauhaus, or simply the Bauhaus. "The college (RISD) I went to was based on the Bauhaus, so I think my schooling really informed how I approach design," she says. And more than being inspired by the actual school (which operated from 1919 to 1933) and artists, Mociun says she is inspired by the movement's principles. Some of those key elements found in the brand's jewelry and home collections include:
- Function before form: "I make wearable pieces, so they need to start with being wearable. A piece of jewelry that is uncomfortable, too heavy, unbalanced, etc. is not a successful piece even if it's pretty or cool-looking."
- Working with true materials: "My materials often inform my designs. Part of what I fell in love with in jewelry is the stones, the color of gold, and how the two so simply play off each other. I find them perfect and beautiful in their simplest forms."
- "Not seeing a difference in artist and craftsperson.
In home decor, these principles manifest as brightly colored mouth-blown Italian vases, spotted ceramic tea cups with playful dog sculptures in the center, and fanciful woven throw blankets with interesting designs and patterns. In jewelry, geometric and unexpected shapes, brightly colored gemstones and timeless, dainty pieces can be found in the label's collections. Yes, each item under the Mociun umbrella strikes the perfect balance of sophisticated and playful — and it works.
In addition to Bahaus principles, the designer says her travels have always served as inspiration for the label's one-of-a-kind pieces. "[Travel] really is about pushing me out of my everyday comfort and routine," says Mociun. "It would make me look at things in a new way. It's been really hard for me in 2020 to find a way to do this without leaving my physical spaces."
Unsurprisingly, 2020 brought with it other challenges to Mociun and her team (and countless other businesses). But the founder says, "working together as a team" has helped keep everyone motivated in these trying times. "No one wanted this ship to sink," she says. "It has been beautiful and inspiring to see my team work together in new and challenging ways and to find solutions to the problems that come up."
Launching a new "and very robust" website at the end of 2019 helped Mociun's online business put its artful wares, especially those for the home, on full display and allowed the brand to flourish amidst the pandemic, which impacted traffic to its Brooklyn storefront. "This was helped along even further by my amazing website manager who keeps improving our site," says Mociun. "As well as my photographer and creative content partner, who help our ideas come to life in the photoshoots we work on."
Indeed, Mociun explains that so much of her namesake labels' magic lies beyond its stunning product offering. "There is a whole world of people and personalities behind it," Mociun explains. "I work very hard at figuring out people's strengths and talents (not always successfully, of course). Just as I have worked towards doing what I like, I want the people on my team to do what they like as well. I have seen all aspects of my brand get better when these things are focused on."
Better indeed. Mociun's "organic and unplanned journey" has led it to evolve to the multifaceted — and resilient — label it is today. "I mostly kept moving towards the things that I enjoyed doing, knowing that there are always going to be parts of this that are challenging, that I am not the best at, or that aren’t fun," says Mociun. "When something really didn’t feel good or didn’t feel like something the world needed, then I would move away from that. [I'm] always checking in and asking myself is this worth spending my time doing and putting out into the world?"
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