The designer duo behind The Jeweled Gypsy fashion truck take their accessories and cool jewels on the road and answer our style quiz.
Have you ever seen a fashion truck? If not, think: a boutique on wheels, a shopaholic’s mobile wonderland, a food truck with jewels and silk scarves rather than deep fryers. And, while we love mobile Mexican food — don’t get us wrong — we love KC-based designers, jewel-encrusted bracelets, statement necklaces and handmade bags even more.
The Jeweled Gypsy, based in KC and owned and operated by the dazzling duo of Kristi Sargent and Janet Schmutzler, will assuredly make you smile as much as it did us. If the canary yellow welcome rug outside the truck, tangerine chairs, chalkboard signs and floral wreaths aren’t enough to draw you in, then these charming women certainly will.
We spent some time with these two in their truck, bent over collections of shimmering jewels and clever merchandising props such as silver chains, faux fur, driftwood branches, decorative mirrors, fashion dictionaries, golden staplers and a necklace depicting the Kansas City skyline in silhouette, which they designed themselves.
Sargent, with her years of retail management experience and degree from Kansas State University in Apparel and Textile Marketing, first saw and fell in love with fashion trucks in New York City in 2010. She had always wanted to own her own shop and knew that having a truck would be more financially possible than a brick-and-mortar store and would give her the chance to live out her dream of designing her own accessories.
Two years later, in 2012, she met and fell in love with Brock Schmutzler. Meaning that, yes, the dynamic duo of Sargent and Schmutzler are soon-to-be a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law duo.
Schumtzler was getting ready to retire from teaching kindergarten at Norfleet Elementary when Sargent shared with her the idea of starting up a fashion truck in KC. “She loved the idea but we knew Kansas City did not have the foot traffic of places like New York,” Sargent said. “So we kicked it around for a little while and watched as more and more trucks started to pop up closer to home.”
In August 2014, they bought Esmerelda, their 1987 Snap-On tool truck, and spent the following months sprucing up the exterior with bright colors and renovating the interior into a chic jewelry boutique. And on April 3, 2015, The Jeweled Gypsy opened its doors.
In this expertly curated 17-by-8-foot retail space are products from two local designers — Lily Dawson and M Squared — and a variety of other handmade and statement fashion jewelry in a range of price points.
“We’ve done home and neighborhood parties, birthday parties, girls’ nights out, bachelorette and bridal parties and even sororities," Sargent says.
Read on for Sargent’s and Schmutler’s on-point fashion picks and faux pas.
For more info on The Jeweled Gypsy and their latest location , follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/thejeweledgypsykc and on Twitter via @TheJeweledGypsy.
Who are your favorite style icons past or present?
I always love Olivia Palermo, Rachel Zoe and Blake Lively. I like that they stay true to their own personal style. I can’t leave out Kate Moss and SJP. I think more and more people are looking to bloggers for fashion inspiration because their clothing is easily accessible. A few of my favorites are Sincerely Jules, Happily Grey and Viva Luxury Blog.
Jackie O. I have always liked her classic, clean look. I’m very into the classic style such as Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta.
What labels do you prefer?
My go-to bargain spots are H&M, Forever21, Nordstom Rack, TJ Maxx, Target and several thrift stores around KC. Other places I like to shop are Nordstrom, Zara, Topshop, Free People, J. Crew, French Connection, Max Azaria BCBG, Club Monaco, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. When it comes to online shopping my favorites are Revolve Clothing, Nasty Gal and ASOS.
We both try to find ways to mix high and low price points. It doesn’t always have to be an expensive label to be stylish.
What fashion item should every stylish woman own?
Sargent and Schmutzler:
Our top five wardrobe staples would be: a nice pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down, a great fitting blazer or leather jacket, a crisp white dress shirt, nude heels and a black DVF wrap dress. It’s timeless, and if you gain a few or lose a few, it will still look stunning.
Best fashion find ever?
My Oscar de la Renta skirt and sweater set that I found at a thrift store eight years ago. I still pull it out of my closet every fall.
I found a vintage leopard coat with quarter-length sleeves. Every time I wear it someone asks where I found it.
Most sentimental piece in your closet?
My grandmother’s fox fur coat. My grandpa bought it for her as a gift, and it has her initials embroidered on the inside. I absolutely adore it.
My kid’s baby ring necklace.
Best fashion advice?
Sargent and Schmutzler:
You don’t have to follow every trend. If it doesn’t suit your body type or personality, don’t wear it. I only buy what I LOVE and what fits with my personal style. Invest in classics, not the trends. If I’m stuck on whether or not I want to purchase an expensive piece, I figure the cost per wear. Another trick I use when deciding if something is worth the price, if I can’t pair it with five different pieces already in my wardrobe, I skip it.
Best fashion in TV?
Mad Men, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl. Don’t hate me for watching it, but sometimes I tune in to the Real Housewives of New York City to see what Kristen Taekman is wearing. She is a great example of mixing high and low!
Best way to add instant polish to your look?
Sargent and Schmutzler:
Accessorizing is key. You can completely transform a look and go from day to night with the right jewelry and accessories. Lastly, polished nails always complete the look!