Interview With A Founder: How Adriana Giuffrida of POMS Built a Cult Brand that Caught The Eye of Beyonce
Launching in 2011 as a small jewellery brand based out of Melbourne, POMS has grown to become a global accessories label loved by people around the world. We recently spoke to Founder and Head Designer Adriana Giuffrida about her inspiration behind her collections, the role that family plays in her business and her biggest pinch me moment - hint: enter Beyonce and Solange.
Can you give us your business elevator pitch in a couple of sentences?
POMS is an accessories label with a focus on gemmology and the emotional connection between people and objects. By adorning our jewellery and eyewear with semi precious stones, and focusing on the best ethical practices, we believe that our customers can get some good vibes and healing properties from wearing our pieces.
What sparked the idea for your business?
I had been working for a fashion business for quite some time, and I was feeling frustrated with the lack of connection to the pieces I was handling. As a design student, I fantasised about being super creative in an industry role, and the reality was quite different. I needed to make a change to be in charge of my own destiny, so I started working with my hands again, making little pom pom rings at home. I was using semi precious stones as adornments and enjoyed the fact that while I was working with them, I was giving myself positive energy, that would eventually be passed on to the wearer. That was 9 years ago. POMS has evolved so much since then, but this core element still rings true.
What inspires your collections and your aesthetic and how do you keep it relevant?
Nostalgia is a huge inspiration to me. I have always loved that jewellery and accessories have a story to tell, pieces can be handed down from generation to generation and they come with so much history. That is a driving force for me. A lot of my inspiration also comes from my Mum, I look at old photos of her and what she used to wear, and its still all so relevant, but somehow forgotten.
I like that I can have that connection to her as well.
With regards to keeping relevant, I don’t really stick to trends, I try and change and do things that no one else is doing, and hopefully that means we do stay relevant.
Biggest ‘pinch me’ moment to date?
Seeing Beyonce in our eyewear was a huge moment for us, and then followed by Solange. If RiRi wore them, I think I would pass out.
What are your go-to resources for keeping up with the industry?
My local Op Shop. I love looking around at books, old frames, old clothes and getting immersed in not knowing what I might find.
What role does social media and influencer marketing play in your business?
Social media is great as it allows you to share your vision with the world. Influencers are great too, as they have their own style, and put pieces together in an interesting way which is always exciting to see.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about running a business?
I would say how hard it is, especially with 2 x small children. Both jobs are 24 hours a day, and the demand can be taxing sometimes, but I wouldn’t change a thing!
What's one thing you can admit to being not so good at on the business side of things, and how have you managed to get it done anyway?
I’m not great at small details when it comes to marketing and things like that, but with design, I am super finicky! I’m lucky that I have my husband Tristan working with me, and he is a marketing guru, so I can lean on him for help in this area.
What has been your game changer piece in your current or past collections? E.g. worn by a celeb, most popular, first pair etc
Our first game changer was the POMS Orbit Earring. It was a total surprise that this was received so well, and it really introduced people to the brand. In my hometown of Melbourne, I would see girls wearing them everywhere, and that was really flattering. Then they started getting copied, so we had to move on, which was a blessing, cause our house was covered in fluff!
The second would be the GATTO frame which was our entry into eyewear. This is the frame that Beyonce, Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevigne wore, so that was a really exciting time.
Who are your three major style icons (past or present)?
Camille Bidault Waddington, Rihanna & Paloma Elesser.
Who do you love to follow on Instagram?
I love Marjon Carlos, she is an incredible journalist from the US, who not only has amazing style and wear POMS, but she drops truth bombs daily, and I love how she makes me reflect on the current state of the world. @marjon_carlos
Another fave is @90sanxiety for some great 90’s imagery.
I also love @jerome.gautier, he shares the most incredible old runway footage, its the best.
What are you working on right now that you are most excited about?
I’m really excited about the new jewellery that we have coming. The focus has been on eyewear for the past few seasons to get that built up, and now it’s time to inject some energy back into the jewellery. The inspiration is relics that might wash up on a beach on the coastline of Italy, using frosted glass beads, and it’s taking me back to when POMS first started, sitting on the couch making things again. I can’t wait to get the new pieces out into the world.
As for the ultimate goal?
The ultimate goal is to keep doing what I am doing, meet more people around the world, be a great role model and see my kids grow up into incredible adults.