This is the Sister Duo Designing The Best New Jewelry
by Emmy Liu
Images: Ventrone Chronicles
Valentine’s Day can conjure up some pretty divergent thoughts depending on how you feel about the holiday. For some, it’s a festive day filled with (too much) candy and (just enough) love (whether that be with an SO, friends, or family). For others, Valentine’s Day exists as a negative reminder of what you might not have. At Milk Makeup, we’re taking the positive parts of V-Day and running with them. Whether you choose to acknowledge the Hallmark aspects of the day or not, we think it can be a great time to shoutout your crew, gift people who make your life a bit better, and take a moment or two for yourself. The Milk Fam got together to share who makes them glow, but we also linked up with rad people who have shaken up their respective V-Day-related industries to get their perspectives on the saccharine-filled 24 hours. As it turns out, V-Day has evolved in a pretty cool way. Meet sisters and rad jewelry designers Sophia and Daniella Ventrone.
Milk Makeup: How did you start Ventrone Chronicles/get the idea to turn your industry on its head?
Sophia Ventrone: My sister and I bought the domain for Ventrone Chronicles in 2014. We had no idea what exactly we were going to do with it but had a specific vision for aesthetic, and an end goal in mind. In 2015 to early 2016, Daniella and I would fight over fabric belts that we were tying around our necks as chokers. We’d get so many questions and compliments regarding them when we were out in public; chokers were such a trend then, and there really wasn’t a place for anybody to purchase them from, or consistently purchase at the least. We started working with soft material, and the Ventrone Chronicles shop went live. It’s so humorous to me because if someone told us four years ago that we’d have a successful jewelry line, we would’ve thought they were mad!
Daniella Ventrone: Aesthetic and mood were always the initial ideas for Ventrone Chronicles — even when it was just a blog. Once the jewelry came, and VC became a brand, we wanted to keep expression and aesthetic our top priorities. We do things very unconventionally. We really know our customer and what she/he/they want. We are inclusive; we make jewelry for everyone, at all price points. We’ve created a community.
MMU: What has been your biggest career milestone?
Sophia: My biggest career milestone would have to be the positions my sister and I have created for ourselves. Every day I wake up in awe of everything VC has blessed us with. Being self-employed, and supported by so many major fashion publications and people all around the world… it feels surreal, honestly. I am completely self-supported at 22, and in a position where I do have two thriving careers, both in creative fields; I am an actress, as well. I’m at a place in my life where I’m constantly creating and supporting myself that way, alongside my sister and best friend. I couldn’t be more grateful to call this my life right now.
Daniella: To me, everything with VC is a milestone. Creating our own brand, and working on something I love every day is a milestone; answering these questions is a milestone! But, the biggest milestone thus far has been seeing our jewelry in major publications. We get so much support from Condé Nast. Seeing our jewelry in W Magazine for the first time was the biggest ‘OMG moment’ for me, personally. I had grown up reading these magazines hoping that one day I would create something to be in them.
MMU: How did you convince people you were doing something different/cool?
Sophia: We didn’t really try to convince anybody of VC being different, or cool. We put out things we like, that hold sentimental value to us. Every piece we put out, we do because of the passion we have for it and perfection we find in it. We make what we want because we want it and love it. We’re chasing our own visions, not popularity. I think that’s why people love buying our jewelry so much. Talking to so many of the amazing angels that support VC, I’ve come to find that most times, our pieces end up holding sentimental value to them as well. Every piece of jewelry we make really comes from pure love. Jewelry is such a delicate and personal thing, and that’s exactly why we’ve grown to love it so, so much.
Daniella: We really march to the beat of our own drum; we are 100% ourselves, and I think that reflects in our brand and its identity. We aren’t trying to be like any brand out there, and I think our image does a great job of translating that. We look at Ventrone Chronicles as more of a lifestyle brand than just a jewelry brand; Ventrone Chronicles is a mood and a feeling. We obviously want our brand to be different and cool, but that’s not our main goal at the end of the day. If you are doing something to only please others, you’re going to end up crashing and burning. We do what we do because we love it.
MMU: Was there ever a time when you thought you fucked your career up or felt scared about the direction of your future?
Sophia: Before opening the VC store, I couldn’t even get hired at a coffee shop after I quit my miserable corporate fashion job. I know how hard it is out there. I know what it feels like to work shitty side jobs, or still have a job in an office without any windows…and the pure starkness and emptiness of broken dreams. I used to get to work before the sun came out, and would leave when it was dark outside. I literally wouldn’t see the light of day, and my boss would play the same Disclosure album every day, over and over again — a personal hell. I’m not cut out for work like that. I am an artist, and only feel fulfilled when I’m creating, expressing, and sharing. It’s definitely a fire underneath my ass knowing I’m not happy, or functional, in ‘traditional’ work environments. When you become more in tune with yourself, you realize your intuition is like a compass; it’s always there, and it’ll always guide you in the right direction, as long as you’re listening closely. My sister and I both know what’s right for ourselves, and our worth. If anything, owning our own business and watching its success continue to develop has made me more trusting of myself, and my future.
Danielle: Yes! I left my steady corporate job to work in a more creative field and find my dream job. Turns out, there is no dream job. I am a very tenacious person; feeling stuck and jobless had to be the lowest I have ever felt. Looking back, if I had not been in that place, or had the courage the leave my job, I would not be where I am today. Ventrone Chronicles would still be an idea in the making. It takes a lot to create a life that’s very different than the norm because that’s not really respected until you’re ‘successful.’
MMU: What does Valentine’s day mean to you?
Sophia: Valentine’s Day is no different than any other day for me, personally. I believe Valentine’s Day is a reflective day for many; most people have a heightened sense of gratitude for their loved and dear ones on the 14th. I try my best to exist in love and see through love in every moment of my life. I seem to be benefitting from working and living in my heart space. When I was younger, I’d always be so upset on Valentine’s Day because “NOBODY LOVES ME!” Until one day I realized, I have myself, and my dear loved ones to celebrate!
Daniella: Valentine’s day, to me, is a day of love. It’s a day to show yourself, family, friends, and a significant other if you have one, love. But then again, these are things I practice on the daily. But a day dedicated to love, red, pink, candy and Hello Kitty Valentines is just fun.
MMU: How do you celebrate?
Sophia: I think love is celebrated through gratitude, art, poetry, dance, song, and joy. All of that starts with self, so I do spend a lot of time taking care of my skin, reading, watching great films, writing poetry, meditating, stretching, and drinking TONS of water.
Daniella: By practicing extra self-love — this includes eating pasta.
MMU: What are you giving your people for V-Day this year?
Sophia: Ventrone Chronicles made sweet little Valentine Cards, and I actually wrote a love poem which is printed on every Valentine! So that would be my little gift of love to the world this Valentines Day 🙂 I really enjoy writing to those I love, so I’m planning on making many, many love notes and poems for those who are closest to me.
Daniella: Well, this I can’t tell! But I have some really special secret gifts up my sleeve for my sister and boyfriend, my forever valentines!
MMU: What does self-love mean to you? How do you practice self-love?
Sophia: To me, self-love definitely means liking and accepting oneself enough to wish health, happiness, and success for oneself. It’s so important to try to maintain a positive, loving headspace when dealing with yourself. Self-love starts with forgiveness. Forgiving myself has birthed my most honest practice of self-love. Self-love is definitely a daily practice — it’s how I live my life every day.
Daniella: Self-love is the utmost important thing. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love anyone. It’s also a very easy thing to do! Even just driving in the car alone and listening to a good podcast or singing your favorite song is self-love. I love being home alone and watching a great movie or show. I do this at least twice a week. Also, a skincare regimen is the best way to incorporate self-love into your daily routine! I don’t really wear makeup every day, so I love taking my time with my skincare products every morning and night. It doesn’t get much better than that for me.
MMU: How does your business stand out/be fresh for V-Day when it’s a holiday that can be so corny?
Sophia: We really just do what we want. I think Daniella and I both actually enjoy entertaining the corniness of Valentine’s Day, or we at least enjoy playing into the Hallmark aspects of love and sappiness. Focusing on design and packaging for this holiday was super f*cking fun. It’s an ode to love.
Daniella: We promote self-love on the daily through social media and our designs! It’s a great time to inspire our followers a little extra. As for merchandise, this year we did a gold chain necklace with a charm that reads “#1 Lover.” It’s a great gift to give, and even better to treat yourself with. Sophia wrote a sweet and beautiful poem that everyone will receive on a postcard with their order for the holiday.
MMU: What does it mean to you to be female business owners?
Sophia: I am female-bodied, but I don’t attach gender to my accomplishments at all. I try my absolute best to be a strong, loving person who puts my all into my passions. I think the energy I carry myself with, and my creativity, are more important/interesting than whatever gender I identify as. Gender has absolutely nothing to do with my work ethic or drive. Yes, I am female-bodied, but that does not define me. We’re all humans, and I think we need to focus on more inclusivity in our language. Looking at other entrepreneurs I respect, I admire their work ethic, honesty, and integrity. Whether that person identifies as CIS or non-binary really doesn’t matter.
Daniella: It’s very liberating, but also something I don’t think about often. I’ve always seen myself as being just a business owner. Success for us has been genderless. My sister and I are both more and less successful than males in our life. It shouldn’t be intimidating, either. Meeting successful women that are supportive has been one of my favorite things we have experienced. There really is enough for everyone. Powerful and successful women are something that the world needs to get more comfortable with.