Meet besties, Amy Makkabi & Lauren Bupp Swanson. They're the founders and creative minds behind LA-based jewelry label Sheisme, which is giving the friendship bracelet a much-needed style upgrade. Inspiring a movement of female togetherness and empowerment; Amy and Lauren have combined their love of minimalism with an emphasis on detail and quality, to create a friendship bracelet that you and your soul sister can wear eternally. Reminding you that you're together, even when you're not.
Straying far from the love heart charm bracelet you may have shared with your bestie at 12-years-old (who didn't?!), Sheisme's meaningful yet versatile collection of friendship bracelets show that great style and good hearts can coexist.
I caught up with Amy and Lauren to talk all things Sheisme and their own friendship. Like the best of friendships, they totally didn't see it coming...
You know your friendship is strong when you create a company inspired by it! So how long have you been friends for?
Lauren: We have been friends for... jeez.. 11 years? Basically, as long as I have been working in the [fashion] industry.
Amy: Going strong for over a decade.
How did you meet?
L: We met working together at the Forever 21 corporate office. I was in Design and Amy was in color and trend development. I remember spying on her, thinking she had really cute style and wondering if she knew how cool I thought she was - slash - intimidated AF! We quickly realized we were brain twins, though. I would use any excuse to go into her office and we would talk about everything - fashion, boys, food... why we hated a particular shade of pink with the same malevolent passion... ya know. I even took a hungover nap under the lightbox on all her color swatches one time...
A: We were coworkers who quickly became work wives (everyone needs a work wife). We laughed at everything. I taught her Farsi, we hid together, worked late together, traveled together, binged on food together, created together. She made my life better. Still does!
What inspired you to focus on the friendship bracelet?
L: When we decided to start something together, we weren't sure what it was going to be. We just knew that the bond we shared was super strong and that it had to relate to that bond. We had many brainstorming sessions and landed on this after Amy reminded me her Dad was a jeweler. We thought: If two people like us wore a friendship bracelet, what would it look like? After an exhaustive search finding nothing but hearts and hemp, we decided there was a hole in the market.
A: We are always looking for something that both symbolizes our connection and something we love to wear. When the opportunity presented itself for us to start something together (a dream come true), this is what felt right. If we were struggling with finding a friendship bracelet we identify with, there must be others like us out there.
What do you look for when shopping for jewelry?
L: I look for aesthetic first - I have to be wowed. THEN it needs to be made of nice materials. I've got to a place in my life where I can't bring myself to buy mass-produced fast fashion jewelry. That's why we make everything in Downtown Los Angeles. We wanted Sheisme to be uniquely sourced. Then the price needs to be tolerable, but not super cheap cause you get what you pay for.
A: Currently, I'm drawn to dainty pieces with an edge. My heart races when I go to Esqueleto in Echo Park, LA... I want to live in that store!
What is the meaning behind Sheisme?
L: Sheisme is a literal word for "doing unto others as you would yourself" but in a ride or die/I got chu girl kinda way.
A: She is me, but we made it one word because we would like to see it used as an adjective. Meaning you care about someone and look out for them as much as you do yourself. It's living compassionately, kindly, softly, holding space. All that fun stuff.
Do you have a muse for the collection?
L: It has always been our friendship. That feeling of someone getting you, having your back... we want to extend that feeling to our customers.
A: Honestly, we are. Or, I guess all the ladies out there like us. The one's that have next level connections and want to make it official with something meaningful and beautiful.
What's the best part about your friendship?
L: For me, it's the amazement I have, when we hang out or work, that we really want to do the same thing sooooo consistently. Eating, to chilling, to shopping... Oh yeah, she is the only person on the PLANET that has the same shopping stamina as me. We can go for 9 hours straight! She is also incredibly caring, courteous, and a respectful friend. She is aware of my quirks and just... gets me. She is a super hard worker too, I think that is what made our friendship so strong in the beginning and also what drew us to start this business together.
A: Getting in our bubble. We really do have our own world... Sometimes we forget other people can see us. Also, we care deeply about each other and truly want what's best for each other. She-is-me.