Two minutes into a conversation with Sheryl Lowe, and you feel like she’s your best girlfriend. And with a circle of pals like Ellen DeGeneres, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maria Shriver, and Cameron Diaz, who wouldn’t want to be in that company?
Innately inquisitive, super fun and chatty, she asked as many questions to get to know me as I asked of her. Her authentic social style is likely one of her many secrets to success that catapulted her into the most famous dressing rooms in Hollywood as a celebrity makeup artist for more than 20 years.
But her fast-paced life eventually got to her.
“It got to that point where a parent needed to be home with our boys, and my husband is on location so much of the time. So, I left working in film to start my own makeup line, which I did for about a year. If I thought the hours were long on-set, it was like I jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire with a new business that had me working seven days a week and 12 hours a day,” says Lowe, who then took her passion for creation and design to a career in interior design, which had a less demanding schedule.
She went on to enjoy a successful career as an interior designer, gaining recognition on the cover of Architectural Digest and in the pages of Veranda magazine for the Santa Barbara home she shares with her husband, actor Rob Lowe, and their two sons.
“I had this lifelong dream to design jewelry. I’ve been collecting strands of beads on every location I ever went on for every movie, and still today when Rob and I travel the world.”
But, ultimately, she felt as though something was missing. “I had this lifelong dream to design jewelry. I’ve been collecting strands of beads on every location I ever went on for every movie, and still today when Rob and I travel the world. I love saying that I collected these from places that I love. My collection is like the Birkin of Beads.”
Lowe launched her original line of fine jewelry in 2006 as her “next thing to do,” leaning into her creative and adventurous side. She used her training at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and passion for fashion to fuel her creativity.
One of her first pieces was inspired by friend Maria Shriver, who at the time was First Lady of California. She was presenting at a women’s conference and wanted a gift for her guest speakers, suggesting a lipstick.
“I can’t do a lipstick. I had just gotten back from traveling to India, China, and Africa, and I had done a lot of research. I was prepared to design a piece for her, later finding out there were 55 guest speakers, including the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, and all these iconic figures. What did I get myself into?” she says.
What turned out to be the Minerva Awards inspired Lowe to design a female warrior on ebony encased in diamonds, along with ebony beads on a chain for men and women alike. Then the orders started coming in and a business started in Lowe’s dining room was off and running.
“The whole point is to feel empowered when you’re wearing the pieces because you chose that, and it enhances you; it doesn’t overtake you,” says Lowe.
“I started designing because of love and passion for design. When I would go to work, I didn’t want to have to change my jewelry to go to dinner at night, I wanted pieces that were transitional and looked great. I call it classical with a little edge.”
She loves layering pieces and stacking her jewelry, mixing in fine jewelry with sterling silver to make things look less “blingy.” And she doesn’t subscribe to the mantra that “less is more”. In fact, Lowe is a maximalist when it comes to her accessories.
Lowe is incredibly inspired by her California upbringing. “I grew up surfing and loved being on the beach. I like to bring a piece of the ocean, the beach, and California with me everywhere I go. I love the idea of mixing metals with beads,” says the designer, who pairs glamorous materials sourced from around the world like bone, opals, and pavé diamonds with hip, modern leather bracelets, hand-hewn rings, and rocker-chick-inspired chain bracelets and chokers.
She is also heavily inspired by her world travels, like her trips to Africa, the South of France, and Tangier, Morocco. Her favorite pieces are butterflies, which represent her desire to be free and express herself. The healing energy of ocean and mountain landscapes paired with her rocker perspective, down-to-earth spirit, and open heart pours into her designs as an inspiration to the women who wear her brand.
“Some people say when they wear a piece, they feel like it just makes them feel really great or happy. I’m thrilled to hear that because the spirit that goes into it is for that,” she says.
And she gives back. As a mother and wife raised by a single mother and grandmother, the idea of paying it forward for women and children’s organizations drives her philanthropy. A portion of the brand’s proceeds is donated to support The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, Teach for America, UNICEF, and a new group she is committed to, the Child Mind Institute, which helps adolescents and teenagers with learning disabilities.
“It’s not enough for me to create beautiful things. I want my work to resonate and have a positive impact on the lives of not only the women who wear it, but on all women and families. Everyone deserves to have more beauty in their lives.”
And that’s what makes her a good friend to have.