Toronto creatives Anna J. Stainsby, Gabrielle Retta and Meg Degraaf have been taking the accessorizing game to a whole new level with their company Neophyte, which focuses on inspiring other creatives to “celebrate the courage it takes to try something new.”
Stainsby, Neophyte’s founder and CEO, said she is a long-time lover of jewellery. In 2018, she was able to turn that love into something much more.
During a gap year between her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Stainsby enrolled herself in a jewellery making class in hopes of keeping herself busy.
“Almost immediately, I started an Instagram account to compile a mood board of aesthetics I was inspired by, gathering some inspiration for the jewellery I was creating,” said Stainsby.
After continuously creating new jewellery and other accessories as well as continuing to grow her Instagram, Stainsby found herself in a position where she had made enough accessories to share with other people.
So, she purchased the domain name Neophyte, snapped a couple of pictures of her products, and went live.
The response was incredible. The first Neophyte collection sold out within days and Stainsby found herself shipping internationally.
“It was definitely one of those right-time-right-place situations,” she said.
Eventually, Stainsby quit her job and enlisted Retta and Degraaf as creative director and head goldsmith respectively, to help her grow her new accessory brand.
Now that Stainsby had her team and her products, it was time to solidify Neophyte’s image.
Stainsby came across the term Neophyte when working at a data entry job. She described it as “such a refined and elegant way to describe someone who is new to something.”
She felt this word would appeal to anyone who had just begun their journey in jewellery making.
“I felt that by naming my company Neophyte I could take my customers and followers along with me through the growth of the business. I didn’t want to pretend that I knew what I was doing or where it was all going,” she said.
Her dedication to creating a brand that is responsive to its consumers is evident. When the pandemic hit, Stainsby made sure that her company accommodated the strange circumstances the world was in.
Since everyone was locked inside of their homes, jewellery wasn’t necessarily the highest priority. However, Stainsby noticed people’s sudden obsession with homeware.
This revelation contributed to Neophyte’s collaborations with other accessory designers such as Toronto’s Madeline Porter and New York designers For The Ages, Talbot & Yoon and Mara Lookabaugh.
Working with these designers brought something new to Neophyte’s collection, adding a plethora of new homeware and accessory products to its lineup.
“Many of my customers are adamant about shopping small so they’ve been so receptive to drops that allow them to discover new talent,” said Stainsby.
Neophyte continues to make its name known in the world of accessorizing with amazing products such as fine and vintage jewellery, hair accessories, nail polish and more.
Their website is a great place to both shop and read about other creatives they promote to encourage customers to support small companies.
Their inspirational ethos translates into their vibrant Instagram page (@shopneophyte @ajstainsby) where they promote their products, sustainable shopping and advocating for human rights.
Stainsby’s love of jewellery making and accessorizing has created such an incredible company where other creatives and consumers are appreciated.
As for the future of Neophyte, Stainsby said that for now, she wants to focus on nurturing each branch of her brand so it can grow slowly, but sustainably.
“I’m always on the lookout for fresh designers to stock, new ideas to market our jewellery, and ways to connect with more like-minded people – customers and potential collaborators alike,” said Stainsby.