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Fun and Friendship Bracelets with Frieda & Nellie!

We love, love, love the bright and bejeweled friendship bracelets of NYC-based jewelry company, Frieda & Nellie. Co-founded by real-life best friends, Stacy Herzog and Sarah Berk, Frieda & Nellie combines intricately patterned knotted bracelets (a throwback to the founders’ summer camp days) with rare vintage jewels from the 1920s-70s to create fun yet sophisticated collections of jewelry in which each piece tells a story.

We teamed up with Frieda & Nellie to create a custom collection of friendship bracelets, which celebrates our shared love of vibrant colors, eclectic combinations, and, of course, the beauty of friendship! Our limited edition Frieda & Nellie for Indego Africa bracelets (handcrafted with heart in Rwanda) feature neon-bright patterned friendship bracelets, which are accented with cowhorn buttons for a unique, eye-catching look. We sat down with Sarah and Stacy to chat about our collaboration and hear what they had to say on inspiration, design process, entrepreneurship, and more. Read on to get the inside scoop!

So, let's start at the beginning. How did you two meet and what inspired you to create your ultra-colorful (and coveted!) jewelry line, Frieda & Nellie?

Stacy: We met during the summer of 2006. I was a wide-eyed college sophomore interning in New York City at Natori lingerie for the summer. Sarah worked there. We hit it off and ended up spending lots of time vintaging, painting and making things together. Frieda and Nellie came to be after a trip I took to Ecuador in 2009. I came back with lots of amazing, vibrant friendship bracelets and was so inspired that Sarah and I started making new bracelets like the ones we’d learned to make at summer camp when we were tweens. We started mixing the patterns we created with embroidery thread, rhinestone and metal vintage pieces we picked up at flea markets and vintage stores in NYC on weekends.  

Sarah: We were walking by my apartment in Gramercy Park when an editor from Women's Wear Daily grabbed my wrist and asked who made the bracelets. We said: “we do!” Next thing we know we are featured in a story called "The New Deals" and had huge orders within a few days. 

We love your mantra "Reuse, Repurpose, Reinvent!" What does this phrase mean to you and how does it infuse your jewelry and design process? 

Stacy: The vintage pieces we use to make the core of our jewelry are storytelling pieces. We love that they have had a history before we discovered them—that each piece has already lived a life and meant something to its owner(s) and then, rather then sitting in a jewelry box collecting dust or be thrown away, we are able to give it a new life by making into a new piece and incorporating friendship bracelets somehow. 

At Indego, we are endlessly inspired by the incredible women we work with in Rwanda and Ghana, so naturally we love that Frieda & Nellie was inspired by two awesome women in your lives – your grandmothers! We’d love to hear a little more about them and how they influence you, whether in life, business, or design.

Stacy: Nana Frieda was a very strong New Yorkie woman. She wore the pants in every relationship she had…She continues to inspire me to stick to my guns and stay true to myself. 

Sarah: My Mammaw Benton was so creative and could make and do anything.  She could see a picture of an outfit in Vogue, be inspired to make something beautiful, and then cut it out without a pattern to fit perfectly. She taught me to sew and to embrace my creativity in all sorts of ways. She was such a strong, hard working, creative powerhouse of a woman.

What motivated you to collaborate with Indego Africa?

Stacy: We love what Indego Africa stands for. We strive to empower women and love how proactive Indego Africa is. We are honored to work with such amazing women to create such beautiful and special things!

Many of the amazing women we partner with in Rwanda and Ghana are aspiring entrepreneurs. As two rockstar entrepreneurs yourselves, what advice would you give to them?

Stacy: Try not to be intimidated. If you have an idea, try it out and amazing things may happen. Most importantly: obstacles are going to make you, your ideas and your business stronger, tougher, better and stronger!

Sarah: You can't plan it out too much, sometimes you just need to jump in full force and figure it out along the way.  Also, I truly believe that you have to love what you do to be successful at it.  So embrace it all, and have fun doing it.

To shop our Indego Africa x Frieda & Nellie  collection (for you and a friend – or two!).