As she tries her hand at necklaces, Janice Park talks inspiration, summer trends and future pieces.
As an Emmy-nominated journalist, Janice Park has been sharing people’s stories for about 15 years, whether that be on pen and paper or in front of the camera. Over the past year, though, she has added a few other identities to her own story: artist, designer and business owner.
While Park has been painting since she was a kid, it wasn’t until November that she decided to open her personal business, The Pink Reef, a jewelry company featuring hand-painted earrings and, as of this month, necklaces. All of Park’s jewels can be purchased online, but here in Northern Virginia, residents can buy the designer’s products at Bishop Boutique in Old Town. Plus, Park and her family have plans to move to Alexandria later this year.
Also, before summer’s end, Park will be adding a special charity section to her site, giving buyers the chance to donate to the charity of their choosing. Here, Park shares what it’s been like to return to her artistic roots and what locals can expect as her company continues to grow.
Talk to me about how The Pink Reef began.
I made my first floral earrings about 15 years ago and had my brother take them to work, and in a few days he had sold 40 pairs. I wish I had kept it up, but instead I put it on hold to pursue a more traditional career path moving all around the country as a journalist. The Pink Reef officially launched back up last year, and it’s been a fast and furious, albeit, a wonderful whirlwind. I feel so fortunate to be able to inject my love of impressionism painting into my designs, as I hand-paint each of my floral earrings.
Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
As a kid, I loved anything artistic. I had the typical Asian-tiger mom who pushed me to play three classical instruments growing up. I remember painting Van Gogh- and Monet-inspired paintings for my French class projects in high school and would spend hours all day and all night painting in the impressionism style. It may sound nerdy, but I definitely channel my faves, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, along with Monet when I hand-paint my florals.
The Pink Reef is planning on giving back to local organizations. Tell me more about that.
Starting later this summer, my website will have a charity section, where customers can add a charity cart item along with their order. I will then donate a portion of the sales to their chosen charity. I’m so thrilled that in the past six months, The Pink Reef has given back to amazing Northern Virginia and DC organizations including The Prevention of Blindness Society, the American Breast Cancer Foundation, Alexandria Rugby and The Seaport Foundation.
Your jewelry is sold in locations across the U.S., but you live in this area. What is it like designing jewelry in the Northern Virginia region?
What I’ve quickly learned about designing and retail is that everyone likes something different. I definitely think that women in NoVA love a fun statement just as much as classic beauty. The trend lately is white and pink, those are by far the bestsellers. I think the NoVA woman is feminine and knows what she wants. Designing in NoVA is also fun, because you never know who your customer will be. It’s fun finding out that both Joe Biden’s and Mike Pence’s nieces wear The Pink Reef!
Right now, I have been doing a ton of brides. Luckily I haven’t run into any bridezillas, I’ve only had the sweetest brides. It’s been fun to design one-of-a-kind statement earrings for customer’s on what is viewed as one of the most important days in their life.
Are there any new designs to be on the lookout for this summer or in early fall?
I just launched necklaces. They are all hand-beaded on silk and, to be honest, they are a bit of a pain to make! I’ve had so many requests from customers and wholesalers to do this, so I finally gave in. They are very pretty and so far I’ve done a baroque pearl and chinoiserie style. I will be coming out with some more floral- and gold-bead styles soon. This fall, I already have several jewel-toned floral earrings in the works. I love asking customers on Instagram what their favorite winter colors are, and so far, they love emerald, ruby and dark purple for their holiday parties coming up later this year.
Want more fashion-forward stories? Sign up for our Shopping newsletter.