Stories are there to be told! Everyday we show you what we love, while we believe the story behind these items can be just as inspiring. Today it is time to get to know a little bit more about the jewelry label Monocrafft! Since they recently launched their Monocrafft Collection 3.0 we thought this would be a great opportunity to tell you the full story about Monocrafft, the new collection and Merrel Westhoff, the driving force behind this Rotterdam-based minimalistic jewelry label.
Let’s get back to the beginning of Monocrafft. How did it all start and what was the turning point that made your label come alive?
During my fulltime job as a stylist, at some point creativity was lacking so my boyfriend gave me a metal smithing class for my birthday. This was something I desired to do for a long time. These classes took place in the evening so I could school myself next to my fulltime job. After 2 years of attending the smithing classes I loved it so much that I decided to quit my job and work exclusively on the development of Monocrafft. This all happened 1,5 year ago. So I am quite a new kid on the block!
Can you tell us a bit more about the idea behind Monocrafft?
I never had the ambition to start my own company. Monocrafft grew naturally out of a real passion for nice delicate and timeless designs. At first I started making jewelry just for myself. Many times I couldn’t find the right pieces I loved, or it was too much out there, too shiny, too much gems etc… I love the real simple, pure and clean designs made of great quality materials so I ended up making them myself.
During my job as a stylist, I worked a lot with models, hairdressers and photographers. Many times I received the question where I bought my jewelry and when I told them I made them myself, the orders came in… This was the moment I was like: “hmm maybe more people miss these kind of jewelry”.
Why did you decide to name your label Monocrafft? Could you tell us more about it?
Monocrafft is a mix of Monocrat, which means Ruler, and Craft! The double F is from my last name which is Westhoff.
Where does the inspiration for all the different collections come from?
Inspired by ancient patterns, architecture and the shapes of shadows, I created my own minimalistic style in jewelry design. Each piece is created and handmade in my atelier in Rotterdam. My collections are designed the way they complement each other. They are more an extension of the former collection, than a replacement. Lots of designs I carry over to the next season as they can all be mixed and matched. That’s why for example I love to sell my earrings as individual pieces, so my customers can make their own ear story. Lots of Monocrafft customers become Monocrafft collectors, how amazing is that!
Difficult question – we know – but what is your favorite item of the Monocrafft range?
As I said, I started making jewelry for myself. I still do. This is how I design. So I love every single piece in the collection. I think Monocrafft’s signature pieces are the earrings and than in particular the closures with the pin and the little chain which you can wear in one earhole or two.
Can you tell us a bit more about the production process of the Monocrafft jewelry pieces (from designing till the end result?)
As I am really bad in 3D drawing/sketching, I design everything by moulding it on the body parts. Many times I had an idea, but when I started making it, it turned out totally different. I really like this part of the process, you have to interact with the possibilities which are created on the spot. For me this works really well, it keeps you open minded and you won’t get stuck in an idea or plan how it was supposed to be in your head.
What was Monocrafft’s most memorable highlight?
When I just started, my friend in New York walked into a shop and a really cool guy approached her by saying; “Hey… are you wearing a Monocrafft?” When she told me this I was like.. “iehhhh they recognize my soldiers (as I like to call my pieces) overseas.. How great is that!” And another memorable highlight was when my friend – who is a model and loves to wear my jewelry all the time – was booked for the Donna Karan campaign, she could keep the earrings in during the shoot because Donna really liked them!
You recently launched the Monocrafft Collection 3.0, so exciting! Please tell us a bit more about this brand new collection: What kind of soldiers are added to the Monocrafft family? And what was your main inspiration for this line?
Monocrafft’s third collection tells a sparkling story about enjoying the little things in life. It’s all in the details. A minimalistic interplay between fine lines and circles define this collection. The rings, earrings and necklaces are available in sterling silver, 14kt yellow gold and 14kt rose gold. Collection 3.0 compliments every moment and is a true joy for everyone who loves delicate jewelry with an edge.
Any other cool new, secret stuff coming up that you are willing to share with us?
I just finished my collaboration with Eastpak and GROOS (which is a really nice concept store in my hometown Rotterdam). They approached me and asked me if I would like to give my vision on a classic Eastpak bag. I had to “Monocrafft” five bags and they would be sold as a limited capsule collection. This was an amazing opportunity as I had to work outside my comfort zone. I love leather, so I chose for a black leather “The One” bag. This bag isn’t really an eye-catcher in the first place, but I thought “how cool would it be to turn this little one into a sparkling handbag?!” I put all my Monocrafft details in it and I am very happy with the result. And in 24 hours they were sold out! YEAH! A nice ending I would say haha.
Where do you see your brand 5 years from now?
I see the Monocrafft soldiers entering more cities around the world and find more collectors. They’re pretty up and running so far, great things are happening, so let’s see where time leads us. I really love my job, and I know how fortunate I am to do so. So I think the most important goal for me is that I still love my job in 5 years.
Are you just as excited as we are about the Monocrafft Collection 3.0? Make sure to visit the Monocrafft website and get your hands on one of those pretty amazing soldiers!
Photography: J. Kunesova
Model: Nicole R. at Touche Models