What Level is Your Design Business?

Ippolita Rostagno: From Vision to Business Enterprise

Episode 733 of A Well-Designed Business®
733: Ippolita Rostagno: From Vision to Business Enterprise

Today with Ippolita Rostagno

Welcome to a Well-Designed Business. Today, I’m talking with Ippolita Rostagno, founder of her eponymous 20 year-old jewelry brand, and co-founder of the luxury e-tailer, Artemest.com.

While taking a leave of absence from her jewelry company, Ippolita learned to trust her professional intuition through all of her challenges, from people saying “no,” to certain technological challenges.

Ippolita and I discussed the, “Come to Jesus” moments she faced with her jewelry business and while building Artemest.com. We discuss the importance of recognizing “failure,” to fail quickly, and to listen to your intuition. Listening to her intuition led Ippolita to temporarily leave IPPOLITA Jewelry. Listening to her intuition led Ippolita to buy back her jewelry company, grow it, while also growing Artemest from 60 artisans to 2000. This is a good one, folks!

Pick it apart:

  • [9:15] Ippolita explains how she gained the trust of the artisans in Italy who had resistance to sell online in addition to questioning how the beauty and detail of their craft could be portrayed.
  • [17:50] Ippolita talks about how instinct and knowledge let her know that there are potential customers for these artisans and where there is demand. 
  • [21:57] Surprising lessons that Ippolita has learned along the way.
  •  [31:00] Ippolita and LuAnn discuss how not giving up, reflecting, and being persistent will lead to success, with examples.
  • [42:00] Ippolita explains how Artemest works.

LuAnn and Ippolita Rostagno’s Ah-Ha moments:

“If you just start to research your industry, you can make choices along the way that really inform your path.” – Ippolita Rostagno

“Execution is everything!” – Ippolita Rostagno

“We say all the time, if you’re not making any mistakes then you’re just playing it too safe and you really aren’t stretching yourself in any way, shape or form. But it’s easy to forget that all of us make mistakes, no matter how amazing, we look at Artemest and think how everything must have been so easy.” – LuAnn Nigara

“Living a life that is full of love and satisfaction is very important and I think it looks different for everyone. You can’t be motivated by money, you have to be motivated by your passion. It’s all going to take a lot of work. Being an entrepreneur means that you have a certain kind of courage to not align yourself to any one process; that you’re willing to find a solution. Put your money where your mouth is, devoting your time, energy, and resources to making your dream come true.” – Ippolita Rostagno

“It’s a good reminder that when we look at two of your businesses, how lucky they are, but there was a lot of intentional strategizing to make them happen. We can take those lessons to our own businesses; interior design firms, architecture firms, photography firms….” – LuAnn Nigara

More about Ippolita Rostagno:

Born and raised in the hills of Florence, Ippolita has always been inspired by the richness and simplicity of Italian culture. As a young girl, she discovered her love for jewelry in the shops and stalls of Ponte Vecchio. An artist first and a designer second, Ippolita studied sculpture and ceramics for five years at the Istituto D’Arte in Florence. After working in bronze and stone on large-scale works, Ippolita was inspired to apply her aesthetic to the world of adornment when she launched her eponymous jewelry collection in 1999 in New York with Bergdorf Goodman. A reverence for women and the female body has informed her style and her design vocabulary from the start. Her highly personal approach to fine jewelry is expressed in the sculptural nature of the organic shapes of her precious metals. A proprietary blend of 18K Gold and other precious metals creates a distinctive “green” hue, flattering to all skin types while her 925 Silver is a color with a brilliance all its own. The stone cuts Ippolita uses are characterized by their artfully random, larger-than-normal facets that conspire to create plays of light and shadow against the skin. Ippolita’s jewelry is an encounter with beauty. That beauty is an experience shared – between seller and buyer, wearer and creator, lover and loved one, devotee and neophyte. It is generous, participatory, outward-facing, welcoming, and open to all. “Beauty in our everyday lives brings joy to the human experience and fosters a culture of care.” 

“Age-old craftsmanship and the texture of the hand-wrought process are essential and defining to every piece I design.”


“I want to sculpt feminine ease using shape and form in organic unity. Celebrating raw materials while also revealing evidence of the maker’s hand. All the while investing in wearable certainty.”


“Wear the mark of the maker. Age-old craftsmanship and the texture of the hand-wrought process are essential and defining to every piece I design.”

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A Big THANK YOU to Today’s Podcast Sponsor:

Revel Woods offers a line of handcrafted and custom curated, premium hardwood and resilient flooring. If you want easy-to-clean flooring for your allergen-free home environment, check out Revel Woods and become a Revelwoods Trade Designer today. Find out more at http://www.revelwoods.com.

Other Shows Mentioned

# 40 Meryl Santopietro- How to Re-invent, Revitalize Your Firm, Even After 20 Years. 

# 540 Robin Baron- Strategic Thinking on Product Development

What Level is Your Design Business?