Meet The Maker Of The Iconic Cowboy Boot And Hat Earring

Oct 29, 2020 | Interviews

Founder of Shop Zuck, Zuck, is born and based in Los Angeles. She currently attends architectural school, manages Shop Zuck and listens to a lot of Willow. You’ve probably seen the earrings all over social media, they’re taking the world by storm and for good reason. 

Shop Zuck is much more than an accessory. While on the surface we see a cowboy boot or a mushroom, behind the scenes are countless hours of dedication, love and hard work. Zuck recounts some highlights since starting Shop Zuck, and some pieces of advice you need to hear.

Hi Zuck! Who are your current go to artists?

Onyx Collective, All Them Witches, I’m a huge Willow fan and I love her new song Surrender

What are your current obsessions?

I’m obsessed with a lot of things. At the moment, I’m obsessed with stop motion, movies

and set design. That’s kind of my world and what I want to get into. I really, really love objects and I’ve been really into blobby things recently. It’s so obscure.

What makes you feel empowered?

Recently, myself. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in our worlds but sometimes I forget that I have agency in how I feel and I’m able to set boundaries. I’m like I need to give myself what I need right now. If I’m tight, I’ll go on a run and it was so amazing. Sometimes I have to remember, I’m allowed to do this.

How do you continue to keep yourself motivated?

I don’t really know. I think that I love what I do, I love to paint, I love small things and all of the things I make are miniature versions of things that I like in my own life like dice, cowboy boots and fruit. They’re all motifs that I really love. The things that I’m making are things that I would wear and are things that I really like. I think that I just really love what I do and I’m happy to say. I think that’s the first time I’ve said that out loud. I really love how I’m making my income and supporting myself. 

Do you have any rituals that keep your mental health in check?

Definitely, I have a few things every week that I really enjoy doing. I try to prioritize them because they make me feel good. The first is definitely working out, usually first thing in the morning, boxing, surfing, running. On Tuesdays and Saturdays I carve out time to go to the farmers market. 

What is a piece of advice that you’ve been given that has resonated with you?

Yes! This is just in general. I remember when I was younger, I was heartbroken and in love and whatever. My mom told me “sometimes, love isn’t enough”. And I was like, that’s so interesting because in our world, we’re always told that love conquers all and that kind of enables us to accept toxic behaviour. Sometimes you do love something and you have to let it go but a lot of the time what prevents you from letting it go is because we think it’s primordial. We have to check in with ourselves first. That’s something that always sticks with me.

Great advice!

How do accessories play a part in your life?

They’ve always been the most essential part of my outfits. I didn’t let my parents dress me from age three and up. For some reason, putting things on my body is really sacred. If I’m wearing a good outfit, it’s great and that applies to jewellery. If I could wear a white tank top and white pants forever and just have good jewellery on for the rest of my life, that’d be pretty ideal. It just makes me feel confident. Adorning myself with things that I like and love is super important. 

So, how did Shop Zuck start? 

I started 3D printing things because it was a part of my curriculum for school and I would just find ways to wear them. My friend, Camila who has a Depop store Luna Solita, would always see what I would put on my ears and they weren’t earrings, they were just objects. My friends would always be like “I want a pair” or “you should sell these on Depop”. It all started with the cowboy boot and the hat. That was my claim to Shop Zuck. To my like really big surprise, we were selling out. Then I started doing drops and it was all really organic and I think it was based on the fact that I’m a painter first and foremost and second, I love putting things on my body.

Has the process changed since you’ve started?

Definitely changed a lot of things. Growing pains have happened for sure. For a really long time I was doing everything by myself and it was kind of overwhelming. Then I reached out to some of my peers to help with production. It was great to work with like minded people and people who also know the process. The strategy hasn’t really changed. I approach things now from campaign related things. Before on Depop it was just product related shots and now I’m able to shift my thought process to a more creative direction.

Are you able to please explain the process of making the jewellery?

I have one other person that helps me, I used to have to but they had to focus on school which I totally understand, I paint most of things. There are a few products that someone else used to paint because they were her designs. But for the most part, I paint about 85% of everything. 

We try to go order by order but also style by style. The production time to print 100 pairs probably takes 35 hours. It’s not a fast burn, it’s a slow burn. They’re not done once they’re 3D printed. You have to sand them, you have to dip them, you prime them, then we do a spray paint coat, then I’ll go in and paint them, then add in hardware and ship it out. The painting that I do is probably 20%, there’s so much more that goes into it. There’s a lot of time, love and effort that goes into these earrings. Sometimes we’ll make something and we’ll have to scratch it and start all over. Things take a while and I don’t want to be fast. We’re a slow fashion brand, everything we make is biodegradable, we source ethical metals and  our packaging is all biodegradable. I have no interest in rushing.

How do you find a balance with school, managing Shop Zuck and your social life?

I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out! I think that I just have to be a lot more diligent with my time. I’ve cut out all excess things that didn’t bring me joy, that weren’t productive. That means people and activities. I think that quarantine, besides the fact Corona has impacted the US terribly, that has been an amazing wake up call for me to slow down and have agency in what I choose to do. 

Do you have any highlights since starting your own business?

I have made some of the best friends that I’ve had in a really long time since Shop Zuck. The photographer that I hired for the first campaign is now one of my closest friends. Being able to collaborate with people that I admire has been really, really amazing. Working with my friends has been a huge highlight for me and being able to sculpt the people in my universe into my vision. Building connections and becoming friends with people who I genuinely admire for their work. 

There have also been people who I’ve really admired for a while, like Lana, the owner of Orseund Iris, posted our earrings last week. I totally geeked out! Devon Lee Carlson reposted one of our posts on her story a few months ago and I freaked out. Just these little moments when people I really admire see something in what I’m doing and seeing those glimpses have been like chefs kiss. 

Do you have anything planned for Shop Zuck?

Oh my god, so much. It’s hard to choose. We definitely have some new styles coming out relatively soon. There’s going to be body objects which are the jewellery and then there’s going to be objects for the home. I want Shop Zuck to expand so you can wear it on your body but also surround your body with. Hopefully one day Shop Zuck will make furniture. That’s what I want to do. 

Follow Zuck, Shop Zuck and shop Shop Zuck here

Interviewed by Anna Lowe