Founded in the spring of 2013, Dallas-based jewelry line B. Stellar has had a fast rise from a dream in the heart of its founders to a line carried at such shops as the Nasher Store, The Shak and Sussie’s in Frisco. As the company enters its second full year, founders Nancy Koen and Misty Incontrera are still dreaming — only bigger.
Friends since the early 2000s, Koen and Incontrera possess complementary skill sets that fit perfectly when they decided to begin a business. Trained as a painter with a background in marketing and interior design, Incontrera started making jewelry as a young mom. Meanwhile, Koen had spent years rising through the ranks of fashion merchandising, working for the likes of Puma, James Perse and, in her current role, as regional coordinator for Valentino.
“We had a heart-to-heart and brainstormed about what we could do,” Incontrera recalls. “She has such a strong background in the wholesale industry, and I’d already done jewelry pieces. We wanted to be creative while we made things for ourselves.”
The duo chose the name for its connotations and potential for spin-off products. “It sounded very strong to us — like be stellar, be awesome, be cool,” Koen says. “We could turn all these words into our inspiration.”
They launched with their now bestselling V-style wire earrings, and each piece in the growing B. Stellar line is named after a friend or inspirational woman the pair looks up to — many from the local art world, including Joyce Goss, Nancy Nasher and gallerist Wanda Dye. Retailing from around $70 for a pair of earrings to $225 for a necklace, each design is handmade by Incontrera, who uses stones such as jasper, pyrite, malachite and quartz on minimalist, modern settings.
“Part of the reason we use a lot of natural things is I find the really, really rough against the super-modern catches your eye,” Incontrera says. “I used to collect rocks as a kid and like the meanings behind things. People believe in the healing power of crystals, and I’m interested in that concept.”
Because the two of them do everything in the company — Incontrera also handles the website, social media and photography, while Koen moonlights in customer service and shipping in addition to sales — the goal for their future includes being more hands-off as they expand.
The partners are currently sourcing an American-made manufacturer so Incontrera will have more time to focus on design, and the two say they envision B. Stellar expanding to a local a brick-and-mortar lifestyle shop.
“We’d love to go into home interiors and textiles, with [drawer] handles and finials,” Incontrera says. “I’d also love to have a space to show local artists. There will be a lot more cool stuff in the pipeline.”
Speaking of the pipeline, the partners are conducting their first workshop at the Nasher Store on May 7, from 6-9 pm, where they will help attendees create a unique accessory using unworn or broken earrings, necklaces and bracelets mixed with the line’s sterling or gold components.
It’s an ideal opportunity to repurpose an iconic piece from a mom or grandmother just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s also an anniversary of sorts for the duo’s first appearance at the Nasher last year, the shop’s most successful trunk show to date.
Tickets for the workshop are $95 per attendee. Cocktails and small bites will be served.