We got to chat with the beautiful Elle Sakellis of Otrera Scarves & Jewelry about her beautiful and mysterious line of evil eye scarves and her goddess like jewelry. The Evil Eye scarves have become the most recognizable piece from Otrera and they have made their way onto the necks of celebrities like Alicia Keys, Paris Hilton, Maggie Gyllenhaal to name a few and into high-end department stores like Henri Bendel’s and Intermix. The Evil Eye scarf is now being sold in stores around the world. Elle designs her exquisite jewelry for Victoria’s Secret and Boston Proper. Elle’s Greek heritage has played a prominent role in her entrepreneurship. When searching for the perfect name for her company, Elle reached back to her childhood, when her grandmother would captivate her with bedtime stories about Otrera, the mysterious Greek warrior goddess known for her astounding beauty and strength. Long inspired by Mykonos, where she spends her summers with her family, Elle created her Evil Eye scarf after admiring a display of Evil Eyes in a small Mykonian tourist shop, hence the inspiration of her evil eye scarf.
POSH: Wow I love your jewelry and your beautiful scarves and I know that your Greek heritage has played a huge role in the designs of your scarves. How long have you worked as a designer? Thank you so much! Actually I haven’t been a designer for very long and I find myself learning as I go. I was working in finance for almost ten years before I decided to call it quits and take a little time off. During that time, I fled to my favorite place in the world, Mykonos, for some long overdue R & R. It was during that time that I started playing with jewelry and coming up with various ideas for printed scarves. That was about five years ago. I have been so pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response to my collections.
POSH: What are some of your accomplishments as a designer that you are most proud of? My goodness, where to start? My first design project was for Victoria’s Secret Catalog. I was given various pictures of outfits that the stylists were planning on running in the catalog and asked to design jewelry for the outfits. They ended up running a ton of my styles and I got such a rush from seeing my items being sold in the catalog. It was a feeling I will never forget. From there, to see my scarves in the windows of amazing retailers such as Intermix, Barneys & Henri Bendels has also been quite an experience. I am always delighted to see pictures in popular culture and entertainment press but the real tangible excitement and pure gratitude that I get is seeing beautiful, busy and fashionable women walking down the street wearing my scarves & jewelry in my hometown of New York City.
POSH: With your beautiful creations do you tend to consider yourself more of an artist? No, not really. I do love coming up with new and interesting good luck icons to use in my prints however, it is my graphic artists that help me design the prints that are the real artists. I like to consider myself more of an “idea girl”.
POSH: Do you have any new designs or collections in the works for this year? I am about to launch an exclusive collection for Net A Porter next month that I am very excited about. I designed a Hamsa Scarf just for them after the Evil Eye Scarf sold so well for them. I am very excited and honored to do this collaboration with them. I will also be launching my new Hamsa Scarf for Spring next month as well which will be debuting in various stores across the world as well as on our website. Lastly, we will be bringing back the original Evil Eye Scarf as people are still asking for it as well as redesigning it for Fall 2010. My dreams for Otrera are too many to name. I am trying to maintain positive and organic growth while keeping a healthy pipeline of new styles and vibrant prints. I feel blessed that the brand has been so well received and is continuing to grow both on a domestic and global level.
We wish Elle continued success with Otrera!