If you like industrial-inspired jewelry made with innovative materials, ETCH might be right up your alley.
The laser-cut line, which features designs made of wood, leather and other materials, was founded in 2014 by two Texas women. Mallory Estopinal of Kingwood and Zoe Ganch of Dallas became friends while studying architecture at Louisiana State University when they were paired up for a group project as freshman. The duo later spent a year studying at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center in Washington, D.C., where they had 24-hour access to a laser cutter.
During that time, Estopinal gave Ganch a birthday gift she'd created of a custom laser-cut necklace and earrings. From there, ETCH was born.
“We discovered an underground community of Instagram shops, and we just started making jewelry and selling it online,” Ganch said.
In one year, their Instagram account attracted more than 10,000 followers.
“It worked because we could just post what we had time to make,” Estopinal said.
When the pair moved back to Louisiana for their final year of school, they knew they'd lose access to their laser cutter. They entered a contest through the Louisiana Technology and Business Center and won second place — $4,500 worth of start-up capitol which allowed them to buy their own laser cutter. They also won the audience choice award. The money allowed them to shoot their first lookbook and launch their first full collection in August 2014.
This spring ETCH launched its second line and lookbook, the Alice Collection, full of designs that evoke whimsy and adventure in a candy-colored wonderland.
Estopinal and Ganch graduated from LSU earlier this month. The two are preparing to move to New York City to continue working on ETCH, building new connections and creating new collections.
As for running a business with your best friend? The women, who split work in all aspects of the company, from design to money management, say it's no big deal.
“Having Zoe be the second half of ETCH — we balance each other out,” Estopinal said. “I don't care if she says 'That's hideous.' Because I trust her eye.”
ETCH is sold in boutiques from Louisiana to California, and online at shopetch.com.