Beyoncé is the queen bee of popular culture, and legions of fans follow her every move on social media. So what happens when she endorses lesser-known designers on one of her accounts? Recently, Beyoncé posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a distinctive honeycomb necklace. Rachel Pfeffer, a Washington, DC, jewelry designer, recognized her design immediately. I spoke with Pfeffer on the phone about what it's like to get an unexpected "Beyoncé bump" in publicity.
Kelsey McKinney: How did you find out that Beyonce was wearing your jewelry?
Rachel Pfeffer: An old customer of mine in the Netherlands who buys jewelry from me sometimes tagged me in a comment on Beyoncé's Instagram picture, so I got a notification. She said, "Hey Rachel, is this your necklace?" I quickly screenshotted it and [posted it to Instagram] myself. And then everyone went crazy.
KM: What was it like seeing your necklace on a celebrity as famous as Beyoncé?
RP: It was awesome. I had just gotten back from vacation, and I didn't have internet for like a week. The second I got back my computer broke, so I've been doing all of this without a computer. So I've been frantically trying to copy links on my cell phone and make sure that I had enough necklaces in stock. So I've just been freaking out on the couch by myself. I literally told strangers. I went to a bar, and I told a stranger because I was just so excited. It's been a frantic few days.
KM: Are you sure the piece is yours?
RP: I don't have confirmation that it's mine. It's definitely my design, and I've been making it for years and haven't seen any others exactly like it, so I'm pretty sure it's mine. I haven't been able to get into touch with Beyoncé's publicist for confirmation, but lots of people are tweeting [at me and reaching out on Instagram]. I have a whole new fan base I wouldn't normally have had.
KM: Have you seen an increase in sales since the post?
RP: I sold a bunch of honeycombs that I wouldn't have sold otherwise if people hadn't seen it. I'd say the amount of honeycombs I've sold since the Beyoncé Bump — as it shall now be known — is triple what I normally would see during this time in August. And I have been getting a loads of emails and inquiries about them as well, mostly from people in other countries! It's usually one of my more popular designs, so I normally have a few on hand. I sold non-honeycomb pieces as well. I had a little bump in sales across the board.
RP: I grew up in my family's jewelry store. My dad is a jeweler. His family's all jewelers. I went to college in Boston. I majored in sculpture, but I didn't want to be a jeweler because that was what I grew up around it. After I graduated from college, I got a job at the Science Museum in Boston, which is where I came up with the idea for the honeycomb. There is a whole hive of honeycomb on top of the Science Museum. It was one of my very first designs, and as a result, during that year, I started learning to make jewelry. I've been focusing on jewelry ever since.
KM: If you could have any celebrity wear your jewelry, who would it be?
RP: My dream is for Mindy Kaling to wear it. She's my number one celebrity love. I watch her show and I look at her style and think, "You could wear my stuff." That's the goal. That's the dream.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.