WE'RE LOVING: Colleen Mauer Designs


Colleen Mauer designs celebrates clean geometries and effortless angles. She loves creating collections that complement any style, from casual and everyday to chic to timeless. Jewelry is a part of her daily routine; it is the source of her inspiration. She uses texture, color, sounds and tones as her tools for transforming a simple section of material into a unique piece of jewelry.

1. How + when did you get your start?

My background is in architecture and industrial design and I graduated with a bachelor of science from Virginia Tech.  When I first moved to California in 2001, I landed a part-time a job at a furniture design company.  After being in the furniture studio for a couple of years, I decided that working in someone else's space really wasn't what I had in mind.   In my spare time, my jewelry hobby had developed and it became something that made me feel very excited and super passionate.  In the meantime, I decided that traveling might help me to clear my head and to begin the carving of my very own path.  In 2004, I took a big six month backpacking journey around the world and through all of my travel and experiences, I really began to muster up the courage to start my own business.  I thought to myself, if could backpack through unknown lands by myself, I could surely run my own company.  I knew I had the dedication and the drive, and looking back, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  I was young, eager and I knew I had nothing to lose. In 2005, I took a huge leap of faith and CMD was born.  The rest is history.


2. Where do you draw inspiration from? 

I am in constant observation of my surroundings, and subconsciously I am inspired by architecture, colors, contrasts, and textures in nature. The fun part is that I don’t seek out inspiration; it is virtually everywhere. At random moments, ideas flood my mind and I write or sketch them down as quickly as possible. Immediately I begin to imagine these ideas (soon to be designs) laying on a person’s chest or wrapped around a finger. My process is organic and unplanned, spontaneous and surprising.


3. Why did you choose San Francisco?

I got an invitation to live in Mill Valley for the summer after graduation. My friend Gwen's aunt owned an apartment here and was looking for a summer house-sitter.  I was 22 at the time and was all bright eyed and bushy tailed, so I jumped on the chance to move to California.  After moving west, I quickly fell in love with living here.  We have the mountains, the ocean and the country; and it was all in our backyard.  The extremely laid back, wildly creative and very welcoming vibe of the community here was a huge turn-on for me.  I thought I would live in the Bay Area for two years and that was over 16 years ago now. I love it here–San Francisco's home to me. 


4. Describe your perfect vacation?

For anyone who knows me,  I am an oyster fanatic so my perfect vacation is renting a big house on Tomales Bay and hosting a bunch of friends for an extra long weekend.  Outdoor fires, shucking and eating fresh oysters, drinking good wine, lots of laughs and tons of cooking–and sleeping in past 7am.  I don't go on vacation very often so when I do, I really savor each moment....even if it's just a weekend away. Tomales Bay also happens to be one of my favorite places on earth, so I would happily go there for a perfect weekend getaway. 


5. What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to spend time at the beach and my home is just three blocks from the Pacific.  I enjoy spending time with my loved ones and being outside in nature and taking the time to slow down.  My other passion is cooking, so when you don't find me in the jewelry studio, you'll find me in the kitchen experimenting with new flavors and techniques.  We are so fortunate to be in the land of amazing produce and food, so I definitely take full advantage of that.  


6. What is your ideal style?

I love wearing a perfectly tailored white t-shirt and nicely fitted jeans with a killer pair of shoes with a simple cardigan sweater.  I am all about muted tones - black, white, mauve, grey, navy, with very occasional pops of color.  With my simple, classic outfit, you'll see me rocking lots and lots of jewelry–a big pair of earrings with a single earring in my second hole, a square stack ring on my middle left, a round stack ring on my right ring finger, layers of bangles and cuffs and definitely a long necklace. That's my CMD uniform.