Sculptural, show-stopping pieces inform the aesthetic of Steff Eleoff’s eponymous jewellery line, which is inspired by nature, architecture, and contemporary design. The self-taught designer and silversmith turns her inspirations into drawings before crafting each piece by hand inside her Toronto studio. We caught up with Eleoff to speak more about her design process, sustainable business model, and her unique campaign imagery.
How did you get your start in jewellery making?
“I got my start by joining a creative studio in Toronto. I originally joined for their photography studio and a place to do my online schooling—my Master of Fine Arts—but was intrigued to see the inside of their metals studio (having zero knowledge of jewelry-making or the ins and outs of being a silversmith). In between classwork, I would go into the metals studio and play with costume jewelry that I thrifted. The machinery I could use was limited because it was reserved for fine metals, so I hesitantly made the switch from costume jewelry to learning how to work with silver.”
Where do you turn to for inspiration when designing?
“Recently, I found a stack of old National Geographic magazines that my mom collected over the years. I’ve been very inspired by rivers and bodies of water lately, so I’ve been using those old magazines as tangible forms of research. I love objects with free-flowing lines and repetition—you see that so much in nature. More generally, my inspiration is rooted in my background in art history and my love of architecture and design.”
Your campaign imagery is always so captivating and inspiring. How do you navigate that creative side of the business?
“The creative side of the business is my favourite part! Just like my process with designing pieces, I view the process of creating campaign imagery in the same light. I don’t have a final image in mind before we shoot, so the process is very much rooted in play and playing with makeup, styling, photographers, talent, etc.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? What is the biggest success?
“The biggest challenge was having the courage to launch, despite recognizing that I did not have all the kinks worked out. Without having all my business processes well-defined, that forced me to resolve problems in real-time. I was able to “fail fast”, solve problems, and move on to the next set of challenges.
The success is all about the team. I’ve surrounded myself with incredibly talented people that have couched, supported, and inspired me every step of the way.”
Is there something you can share that not many people know about your business?
“We strive to be sustainable with our made-to-order model. We don’t waste material and use only recycled wax for every new design. Also, fun fact, my mom does all of my packaging and shipping.”
What can we expect to see next from Steff Eleoff?
“New silhouettes, more refined shapes, and different accessories, not just jewelry!”