NEW ORLEANS – Local New Orleans businesses, Passion Lilie and Beatrix Bell, are excited to announce their collaboration on a limited-edition, zero-waste jewelry line. Katie Schmidt, designer and founder of the sustainable clothing brand Passion Lilie, collaborated with local jewelry designer Beatrix Bell to launch the line on the heels of the pandemic.
“I had all of this leftover fabric cut into small bits, some of it from making masks,” Schmidt says. She started working tirelessly making masks at the beginning of the pandemic because that’s what was selling. “I wanted to utilize those leftover pieces and not waste them. The idea of a jewelry line popped into my mind and I’m not a jewelry expert.”
Though Schmidt isn’t, she knew her friend and fellow small business owner Beatrix Bell was. Schmidt and Bell thank Louisiana culture for bringing them together (they’ve shared hotel rooms together at Festival International)—and the pandemic for allowing them this opportunity to collaborate.
“Festivals are such an important part of our business,” Bell says. “It’s a huge way we as creators in this New Orleans market do marketing. Even if I don’t sell during the festival, making that human connection is vital and we haven’t had that for an entire year.”
Bell, who owns a shop on Algiers Point, says the vast majority of her business stems from tourists. Though she had to pivot drastically to keep her business going during the pandemic just like Schmidt, she calls projects like this one the “silver lining.”
“There’s a piece for every type of customer,” she says. “The leftover fabrics are all unique which gives each piece its own personality.”
The colors of the collection are neutral yet vibrant at the same time. Schmidt says she relied on Bell’s expertise to create unique, handcrafted designs. The collection includes tassel pieces, bigger statement pieces and a few others. As a bonus, the fabric is light so the statement pieces are comfortable, which was a unique and fun challenge for Bell who usually works with stones and metal.