In a jewelry market oversaturated by delicate chain necklaces, metal hoop huggies, and barely-there stacking rings, designer Isabella Lalonde has managed to carve out her own niche from her apartment in New York. Lalonde's jewelry brand Beepy Bella has quickly become an Instagram and celebrity favorite, standing out among the standard accessory trends with its whimsical, fantasy-inspired pieces.
Beepy Bella is the antithesis of what's been trending on the market. Lalonde makes use of whatever she can find — pearls, beads, iridescent stones, fairytale charms, mushroom trinkets — to create childlike necklaces and bracelets. Since she started making jewelry in her kitchen as a hobby, Lalonde has amassed a cult following of celebrities, like Charli XCX, Bella Hadid, and Halsey, along with fashion insiders and cottagecore enthusiasts. Since the start of quarantine earlier this year, the Beepy Bella Instagram account has grown from 3,000 followers to 23.5k, with Beepy Bella dupes cropping up on the platform.
"I laugh a little because I started this in my kitchen for fun, and I didn't expect anything from it. I think it's honestly hilarious when I see even elf ears now are almost like, in my opinion, a mainstream thing. Everything I had been for so long of my life had been super niche," she tells NYLON. "It didn't have that publicness to it. I've never been a person that had a lot of followers [or] that planned to. I've been around fashion influencers, but I've never expected that for myself. And I even remember saying to my partner a while ago when I was in college, 'I'm OK if I'm the type of artist that never gets recognized in my lifetime and I just make the weirdest stuff. That means the world to me.'"
Quarantine may have been serendipitous for Beepy Bella. With more people staying at home, spending more hours on Instagram and TikTok or playing Animal Crossing, the desire for escapism has been at an all-time high. As a trained artist and Parsons graduate, Lalonde has used her new brand as a conduit to create a fantastical play-world and community of artists.
"I feel like the world I've created for Beepy Bella is like a utopia, and it's very much full of joy and self-love and creative expression, and I feel like people really can sense that energy," she says. "I almost think it's like a diary for me. It's a very, very personal thing. And all the art I make for it is like how I continue my art practice, like all the product photography is mostly done by me in my room and just conceptualizing and thinking about ways to further experiment with all the images."
Prior to the lockdown, Lalonde had spent her career in the fashion world. She started as a fashion and accessories assistant at Vogue and worked as a graphic designer at Helmut Lang before taking the risk to quit during quarantine and pursue her brand full-time. Ultimately, it paid off. Escapism jewelry, be it chunky resin rings, plastic costume earrings, or strawberry-beaded necklaces, is now on track to usurp the fine jewelry trend that's dominated the market for so long. Beepy Bella has already collaborated with earring brand Studs and been projected to millions on the mega-screens in Times Square.
No one knows what 2021 holds. Lalonde admits she finds it hard to plan for her own personal life in the coming days and weeks, let alone map out the future of her brand for the coming year. Still, she knows this is just the beginning of Beepy Bella, as both a jewelry brand and community for creatives.
"In any case, I do see myself expanding and growing as artists and also as a brand and just really defining what I'm here to do. Keep people on their toes and expecting beautiful things that talk to them, think more about jewelry, or what they're wearing on their bodies," she says. "I feel like it's such a personal thing for me to create something with all this emotion, all this meaning to myself, and then have someone else purchase it and then put on their own set of meanings and their own set of emotions on the piece. I think that relationship with myself and my clients really keeps me engaged in the whole process of it. So I can only see that expanding in the future."