Running a business with your best friend can be an amazing or demanding project, but for MJ Barton and Chantel Gia from Electric Picks, it’s a dream come true! The two women are fusing the fashion and music worlds with their ever-growing line of music inspired jewelry pieces including (you guessed it) guitar pick pieces. After a chance meeting years ago, they have grown the brand, and their friendship, by balancing each other out with a shared vision that crosses states and styles.
HOW DID YOU TWO MEET AND BEGIN THIS COMPANY?
MJ: Chantel and I met through a mutual friend in Miami about five years ago. It’s funny because we both almost didn’t go!
CG: We have joked about sending our friend a “Thank You “ card for introducing us, because I seriously can’t imagine if I had stayed home that night. That would have been tragic!
MJ: Then I started Electric Picks about 3 years ago […] I love concerts and collected guitar picks throughout the years from my many musical adventures.Chantel actually helped me with designing pieces from the very beginning and was one of my 1st customers.
CG: I still have the first “Electric Picks” bracelet I bought – still one of my favorite pieces!
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT CO-MANAGING A BRAND?
MJ: We’re in two different states so it’s a long distance relationship, but for us it works amazingly well. With all the ways to connect: Skype, email, text, phone. You don’t really feel the distance. And I’d say Dropbox and Photo-share are our lifesavers!
HOW DO YOUR ROLES/STRENGTHS WORK TOGETHER?
MJ: Chantel takes on a more creative role. […] I handle a lot more of the business side of things. We both help each other though, so nothing is mutually exclusive.
CG: We balance each other out perfectly. MJ keeps us on task to make deadlines. I just love her type “A” characteristics…I’m more of a type “C” haha
MUSIC AND FASHION ARE BECOMING MORE INTERTWINED. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS MUTUAL INFLUENCE?
MJ: I feel like we can live vicariously through music and it’s always influenced my style (and the world’s style, I believe). I was in high school in the Spice Girl days and remember going to school trying to dress like Posh Spice.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE INFLUENCE OF MUSIC GROWING IN YOUR LINE AND THE FASHION INDUSTRY OVERALL?
MJ: Music will always be a huge part of our line and the line is always personal as well.
CG: A fantastic thing is happening to the music of today. There is dance music on the radio, mixed with pop and hip-hop and I think it’s a fantastic union. DJ’s are being recognized for their talents like celebrities and its awesome. […] Plus the fashions they wear while performing or DJ’ing are being noticed by all.
PICK ONE: FASHION OR MUSIC?
MJ: Oh that one’s too hard! I just couldn’t. There’s no line in between the two for me. Our fashion is inspired by and was born through music. They couldn’t exist without each other at Electric Picks.
CG: That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child! Well if I had to pick it would probably be music because a world without music sounds like the saddest story in the world.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
MJ: Literally everything. I get to work with my best friend. We get to design beautiful jewelry that I can touch and wear. Most of all I’d say it’s waking up every day and loving my job though. I never dread Mondays.
CG: It’s the best of both worlds for me, not only do I get to work with my best friend whom I have amazing design chemistry with, but I also get to feed my insatiable need to create.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FOR THE FUTURE OF THE LINE AND YOUR BUSINESS?
CG: We want to keep expanding and create jewelry for everyone. We just recently launched a kid’s line! We’re also launching a higher end diamond line, the epitome of rock n roll.