Sustainable Sourcing for Luxurious Accessories Is Key for BaYou with Love
After nearly three years following the 2017 launch of BaYou with Love, Nikki Reed has been busy expanding her sustainable-goods marketplace, which relies on a mission to promote ethically sourced, eco-friendly and locally made products. The Los Angeles–born actor and screenwriter was long an advocate for animal welfare, which evolved into concern for the environment. Upon becoming pregnant with her first child in 2017, she began exploring the manufacturing of more-sustainable, naturally produced products.
“I started feeling like the things I was looking for as a newly pregnant, almost momma, weren’t really present in the marketplace,” she explained. “You start Googling things such as organic underwear, ‘What is in my toothpaste?,’ ‘Should I wear deodorant?’ and all the other things you start thinking about once you start carrying a human inside your body that I wish we thought about before we carry humans inside our bodies.”
It was during this time that Reed was inspired to create the products she would feel comfortable wearing. With hopes of becoming a sustainable version of Goop, the Gwyneth Paltrow–founded online lifestyle destination, BaYou with Love started by creating apparel and bags from recycled plastic in addition to beauty products that were manufactured locally using clean, organic ingredients. Soon, Reed discovered there was an audience that shared her interest in cleaner, responsibly made products—including other companies who wanted to collaborate.
“Shortly after launching BaYou, I got a phone call from the tech company Dell, and they asked if I had any interest in expanding the company beyond the categories I was focused on,” she said. “They had a number of areas within their company that are heavily focused on sustainability in their own supply chain. One potential area we could collaborate on was with gold they pull from the motherboards of recycled technology through their recycling programs.”
This new partnership could aid Reed with the expansion that she envisioned, and she was not a newcomer to the jewelry category. Approximately 10 years ago, she had designed a jewelry collection that was short-lived but proved to be an adequate primer for this next step in BaYou with Love’s growth.
“Through this partnership with Dell, we launched jewelry and realized overnight this was something that the world was not only ready for but asking for subconsciously,” she said.
The challenge for sustainable brands, according to Reed, has been to align ecologically sound and ethical practices with quality. By partnering with the Round Rock, Texas–headquartered Dell, Reed recognized how she could bridge this gap in the jewelry market by using recycled precious metals.
“You’re allowing people to see firsthand that sustainability does not have to compromise luxury. That was where we struck gold—pun intended,” she said. “Gold was the first time I had ever seen an area where you didn’t have to feel you were buying something that was used but it was. Once you refine gold down to its original state, it’s virtually the same as newly mined gold without the [environmental] impact.”
In addition to women’s earrings, rings and necklaces, BaYou with Love also offers men’s pieces. The collection includes tie clips, cufflinks and lapel pins featuring an enamel created from particulate matter that is sourced from Dell and collected by a Chakr Shield fitted over diesel generators, according to the BaYou with Love website. The carbon black that has been extracted from the particulate matter found in the air is used to make an ink that serves as the foundation for the enamel used by the brand.
While Reed finds joy in promoting a message of quality-manufactured, sustainable jewelry, she has a soft spot for the happiness created from her engagement and wedding lines.
“Bringing that special day into fruition brings so much happiness to my life,” she said. “The [pieces] inevitably have special meaning because of their purpose but also give a [client] a deeper story beyond that. Giving them a chance to participate in the creation of their pieces has been the best experience of my life.”
The latest venture for the BaYou with Love jewelry line has been the release of new pieces using recycled brass. Materials for the collection are sourced from a factory partner that collects scrap brass that has been discarded. Originally featuring hair forks and scarf rings, the collection will now include more pieces, such as earrings, that are inspired by nature and notes that are extremely personal to Reed.
“Everything in our new brass collection is nature inspired, so we have dripping petals, the coral collection—I walk through my home to look at textures that inspire me,” she explained. “I have my wedding bouquet from five years ago and it’s completely dried, hanging above my bathtub. I was looking through all the different textures of leaves to create our new leaf-and-petal collection based on my dried floral bouquet.”
Through the BaYou with Love channel, Reed looks forward to working with other female-founded, ethical businesses. She also hopes to set an example for other companies to embrace transparency.
“We’re sparking a conversation with the general population and allowing them to ask questions. That corporate consciousness has to follow those questions,” she said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about progress and imperfections for the greater mission.”
Available online at bayouwithlove.com and at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood’s Goodthings boutique, the primarily direct-to-consumer BaYou with Love’s 14-karat-gold fine jewelry ranges from $180 to $1,500 retail, with bespoke and wedding pieces offered at higher price points. The recycled brass collection runs between $100 and $200.
Photos courtesy of BaYou with Love.