We spoke with Tierney Schiff, the 19-year-old founder behind Métier Essentials who puts customer experience and accessibility above all. She covers her journey, brand, inspiration, and ability to truly listen to what her customers want while seamlessly shifting her brand accordingly.
I’m at home in Connecticut. It’s been for the most part really great because I’ve gotten into a rhythm. I’m in my freshman year of college and now that I’m home, there are so many things I can focus on, since I’m not currently in classes and have much more free time. I had all these things in the back of my mind, I just didn’t have enough time to get it all done. Now, I’ve been able to get a lot of projects done that I’m really happy about. So I’ve been able to be more personal on Instagram, do digital jewelry try-ons, ship more orders out, market more, and fix my website.
When I was younger, I was always making something like duct tape purses and friendship bracelets. I was always fashion-inclined and wanted to be a fashion designer as a kid. I’m at the Villanova business school right now to grow that skill set. Ideally, I want to do something in fashion and keep my own brand for the rest of my life. I started out with beaded jewelry—literally string and beads—and then I got into tassels. My cousin, who had a pop-up shop in Montauk, saw my jewelry and wanted to sell it. It started from there. I was making inventory for her, and then I started my own Etsy shop. It was called T Originals back then. I changed the name to Métier Essentials when I started doing gold and became more established. I wanted to use a French word that fit. Métier means your job in French. In English, it means your forte or your calling. I came across a gold chain in a local bead store and it immediately caught my eye. I started to do gold chokers, and through the years, my jewelry has evolved with my style and what I like. It’s fun to see—I think I have my style figured out, but it always ends up changing. Right now, I feel like I’ve really found my groove with layering necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets.
I had a thrift obsession last year and I started wearing a lot of vintage chunky chains. Currently, vintage jewelry has inspired my own brand. I’m obsessed with a little chunk, something that’s not as refined and dainty. Obviously, I still like dainty. I use some of my mom’s vintage crystal glassware for photoshoots, and I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and people I follow on Instagram.
I have a little cabinet I run everything out of in a workshop, it is currently the basement of the library at my school. I run everything from there. The lighting is not the best. I’m happy to be home because fluorescent lighting is everywhere at school. I use the little mailroom there to ship everything. It does the trick.
It’s definitely different than the average 19-year-old lifestyle. But I can’t imagine myself doing anything different. It’s something I can always put energy into if I’m in a rut with school. I can shoot content with jewelry as a release, that takes away my stress. But it’s also very time-consuming. These past few months have been pretty crazy with customer service emails with delayed shipments and all that, so I’m not sure what will happen when I go back to school. I’m lucky to have all this free time at home right now. But at school, it’s a different lifestyle compared to what other people are doing. Other students are staying up late doing homework, while I get school work done in the morning and read emails for the rest of the day. It’s an adjustment, but I love it and can’t imagine my life without it. I ship out about 20 orders every Monday and 10-15 every other day of the week. I try to get to the post office every day. Customers seem to really appreciate it when their orders are shipped out fast. I just pop on my mask and head over to the post office.
I used to buy all the chains in bulk, cut them to size, put the extenders and clasps on, but recently I’m getting more orders and I don’t have enough time to hand make them all. Now, I’m working with a factory in New York City that does all the assembly and ships the final products to me. I’m very excited about the new factory in New York City. I have put a lot more focus on sustainability in the last year. I research all of the factories I’m working with beforehand, making sure that they pay their workers well and that the working conditions are good. They are incredibly transparent about every material they use.
I don’t know if this is the best thing to do, but it works for me: I wake up and answer all of my emails and DM’s basically while I’m still in bed. I wake up with so many things on my mind, (“Did I answer this person?” “Did I tell this person that the item is back in stock?”). I like to get that all done and then get ready for the day. Usually, in the middle of the day when the lighting is the best, I shoot some content, package orders, go to the post office, respond to more emails and DM’s, and contact the factory.
I’m a night routine person, I always look forward to it. At nighttime, I do my skincare routine, stretch before bed, and read a few pages of the current book that I’m reading. For things like internal health, apple cider vinegar with water every morning makes me feel so much better throughout the day. I have food sensitivities, so maybe that’s related, but if you are lactose-intolerant or gluten-intolerant, apple cider vinegar is your friend.
My favorite piece is on pre-order right now, The Agnes Chain. I don’t take it off. I picked out a very similar vintage piece for my high school graduation from my parents. Then, I made this version and I love it so much. Definitely my bestseller, and I think for good reason. It sits at the perfect spot and bounces the light off perfectly. Plus, you can shower with it and work out in it.
I started doing a few custom projects recently. One was a larger pair of hoop earrings, and I was like wait, I love that. Now, I sell them on my website. People have really great ideas, sometimes I just need another set of eyes to see what my collection is missing.
Everything evolves with my style. I feel like I have my niche right now, and a lot of customers can relate to it. I want to stay here for a while, but since the brand is so young, it will continue to evolve with my style over time.