A Family Business

A Family Business

Each member of the Apply team has a unique and personal path to our sticker-verse. For us (Spencer & Graham), it all started with jewelry. Our mom, Susan Berman, was (and continues to be) a true maker: a rare creative able to manifest nearly anything she sets her mind to across countless mediums. While trained in painting & sculpture at The Rhode Island School of Design in the 1970s, she graduated under considerable pressure from her late father to forge a financially viable future. Commercial jewelry was her way out, but she’d always keep fine art close to her heart (and eventually ours).

As a young entrepreneur, what captivated mom was the world of costume jewelry. Her business, DIVA, started in the 1980s with her dear friend, Sherry Koppel, was all about attainable luxury. From beads made of glass to bracelets glistening with gold foil, their pieces were often inspired by the precious gems & metals of high-end design houses, except you could afford them. Their mantra was about more than bringing glam to the masses. DIVA was about letting normal people participate in culture in ways that would have otherwise been out of reach.

 Take, for instance, her bejeweled eyes, featured prominently in homage to her in our Jewelry Box Collection. While powerful & punchy in their own right, they were a clear reference to the exploits in the medium by surrealist provocateur, Salvador Dali. Where Dali's 1949 original, The Eye of Time, sold initially for ~$10K and recently resold for $1M, DIVA’s were always a tiny fraction of the cost. But wearing it came with more than sparkle. It came with a story that could be shared.

In a sense, what mom showed us was how to talk with pictures, how to bring imagery loaded with cultural queues into new environments, and let it thrive there. She taught us that scarcity can be both a feature & a bug. Where one might be more cautious about wearing precious jewelry out due to loss aversion, costume jewelry and its sticker descendants encourage us to dress ourselves & objects playfully, to take fashion risk. Mom’s Dali-inspired eyes are sticker versions of the least valuable pieces in the Jewelry Box Collection.Everything else in its original form would otherwise be gated & guarded in stately or private collections. Where you might buy jewelry to save and collect, give or get Jewelry Box to play. And if you game, share your makings with us on IG (@applystickers).


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