The 2 Bandits is a jewelry line from Texas bred designer Tamar Wider. Heavily influenced by Texan culture, Wider grew up immersed in a family-run diamond wholesaling business. In a quest to hone her craft, she set off to Ramat Gan in Israel to train and become a certified gemologist. Following her return to the States, she furthered her studies in jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Technology before starting her brand, which is now stocked at a number of retailers including Fred Segal, Free People, The Reformation and Planet Blue; the line retails for $55-$298.
Wider chats with us about her background and what's she's learned from the process of starting her own brand.
theFashionSpot: Have you always been interested in design?
Tamar Wider: Yes! I've always been a creative person, constantly crafting and thinking of new design concepts. Throughout my education I was not interested in the normal curriculum; I was always drawn to the arts. I’m glad I stayed true to myself and followed my interests, which has lead me to where I am today.
tFS: What is it about jewelry design in particular that you find so appealing?
TW:I love creating items that enhance a woman’s look as well as her self-confidence when wearing my pieces. The 2 BandIts tagline is “Born 2B” — we believe you are most beautiful when you are being yourself. Our pieces are designed for the confident woman who is comfortable and loves who she is.
tFS: What are some challenges that people might not think of when it comes to producing your own line?
TW: There is more than meets the eye when it comes to designing. While you do have to come up with great looks, getting them from an idea or concept and into a customer's hands takes a lot of steps, expertise and a team full of people. Each step adds complexity and cost which affects your pricing.
tFS: How many of your designs end up in production?
JW: I try to keep my collections cohesive around a central theme or story. My current collection is called 'Shine On' and is inspired by Pink Floyd. I usually start with a couple statement pieces and then branch out from there, so most of the designs end up in production.
tFS: How important was becoming a certified gemologist to your design process?
TW: Looking back, it was the right decision for me at the time, but I wouldn't say it's integral to everyone's progression. It was part of my path, and I learned a lot about stones, which led me to the diamond wholesale business, where I learned a lot about the business of jewelry. Ultimately, I went into costume because of the ability to "do more" with the designs.
tFS: At what point did you decide to start your own brand?
TW: I started making these patchwork skirts for friends in high school and continued throughout college, selling to classmates and locals in Israel. After a few years of success I realized that I could create my own company.
tFS: Can you explain the name?
TW: The 2 Bandits is the idea that someone is always riding with you, whether in person or in spirit. I wanted people to feel that when they wore my jewelry they were getting a piece of me and the brand.
tFS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
JW: I find inspiration from everything around me; in my day to day life, simply walking around San Francisco and seeing the houses and architecture and the intricate details of design. I'm currently obsessed with all the different garage doors!
tFS: What are some of the biggest challenges that come with operating a small design business?
JW: Prioritization. I have an endless amount of ideas that I would like to try, but keeping production and brand identity consistent is the strength of a small business.
tFS: Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known when you started your company?
JW: It takes a lot of trial and error to find the right partners and vendors, and that never changes. My advice to someone starting out would be to design what comes naturally and surround yourself with people that support your vision.