Q&A with BZR
Vibrantly colorful with a gothic edge, BZR accessories instantly craft a statement look. Ombre tights in a palette of hues, frameless sunglasses that draw the eye, and understated rings that can be worn everyday. Each piece is chic without feeling trend-driven and temporary.
We caught up with owner and designer Tiffany Ju – a graduate of Parsons School of Design – to hear all about her biggest inspirations, the beautiful places she’s lived, and what’s next for BZR.
Q: You started BZR in 2012 out of your kitchen. How have things progressed and what are you most proud of?
A: So much has happened since 2012! All the big domestic stuff has happened for me since then, a cross country move, a dog, met a guy who is now my husband, a house and now a baby. BZR was insane the first year and then went kind of steady after that while my personal life was gaining these huge steps. But I needed that steadiness from BZR for the past few years too because I had to do a lot of exploring and marinating on what my brand was going to be, what my philosophy was and where I wanted to go next.
Right now, I’m really excited and proud of having all that stuff mostly figured out. Literally, like 2 weeks ago, had an epiphany. I don’t NEED to focus on one thing, because I absolutely love exploring ideas for all kinds of things and that is what I am strong at and what keeps me excited, so I need to leverage that and not fight it. It’s hard though, to do a lot of different things, when you’re such a small business so I have to get creative with the business side as well.
Q: Where do you seek inspiration? Are there particular influences that inform your designs?
A: For me, inspiration is a state of mind. What keeps me inspired is having community and being around other amazing folks who do what I do. Running a small business can be pretty isolating but especially in the past year, I’ve met some great people who I can talk to about ideas, the industry, and all the things in the air. I think people are all influenced to create by basically the same things. We all have our own aesthetics that we gravitate towards no matter what. Then we have those things, trends and images all around us that make us feel excitement and inspiration. Then we have our brains that inform us if it’s possible or practical or unique enough to produce.
I’ve always gravitated towards streetwear, athleisure and bold colors and graphics, which I still do. My style has never been super polished but it’s always been unique and cool. I like to stay on top of trends and art and craft and often feel inspired by things that aren’t even necessarily my ‘style’. Then my brain will kick in with a bunch of hoops for my ideas to jump through. Does this fit your brand? Will it meet a certain price-point? Can you produce it? Is this item unique enough that people will both want and need it?
Q: You’ve lived in so many different places, including Paris, LA, and Atlanta. How have the various cities factored into your work at each stage, and does Seattle inspire you now?
A: From age 18-28, I really had that nomad sense of mind. A different apartment every year, a different city every couple of years. New York and Paris were really about learning, since that’s where I went to school. I was coming into my own talent and sense of style. LA and Atlanta were wandering years. I spent them pretty lost, not having that validation that school always offered me, being broke, going through some family stuff, but also just having a lot of fun because I was still in my mid twenties. Seattle signifies settling for me.
I have a family now and I feel like I will be in Seattle for a while so that’s allowed me to start growing some roots and getting to know my community which has been amazing, and surprisingly new for me. Now that I feel a bit more settled here in Seattle, hopefully I’ll be able to set and meet some real business goals and just stay consistent.
Q: The ombre tights were your first pieces, but now you design rings, dresses, sunglasses. Do you have a favorite design that’s particularly close to your heart?
A: Oh, the ombre tights will always be the most near and dear. How can they not? They started this whole thing! And I still think it’s cool that they’re such a unique product and get so much attention from people. The jewelry, dresses and all the other stuff, I’ve experimented with have been me trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It’s not the most efficient thing to do but I had fun learning how to do a million things! It has also really helped me build confidence in my own artistic intuition.
Q: As a small business owner, you have a strong connection to the local community here in Seattle. Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to make their mark?
A: It’s all about people! Especially when you’re a small business owner, you can’t do everything yourself and it’s not smart to try to do so. Definitely get to know the other people who do what you do, and who do totally different things than you do. It sounds cheesy but you have to network, learn, collaborate, and support others in order to find your passion and grow your business.
Shop the BZR collection.