Simone I. Smith is all of those women. By her own admission, she’s also a woman of strength, integrity and style…traits upon which she’s relied to keep her grounded as she’s traveled along her journey. With the launch of her signature jewelry collection – aptly named, SIS – Smith is poised to transform her life-long affection for accessories into a thriving enterprise, one pair of dangling earrings at a time.
Back in the 80s, when hip-hop was just finding its footing, Smith was coming into her own as well. Raised under the watchful eyes of her grandparents, the Queens, New York native grew up during an era when asymmetrical bobs and acid-washed denim were all the rage. It was also a time when every girl on her block was wearing big, chunky earrings. In fact, Smith still has the first pair of gold ‘doorknockers’ she received as a gift when she was a teenager.
“I was 17 years old when we met and I’ll always remember the day that he bought me those earrings,” she says of her husband, entertainment icon and fellow entrepreneur, LL Cool J. These days, the self-proclaimed ‘accessory queen,’ confesses that her choice of earrings usually dictates the rest of her outfit. Blessed with an out-of-the-box fashion sensibility, she has mastered the delicate art of blending high-end pieces with classic, everyday looks. “I’m definitely a ‘hoop’ girl,” says Smith, who even admits to donning one of her favorite, wiry pairs to the gym. “I’ve also been known to wear funky hoops on the red carpet, with a to-the-floor gown.” Not surprisingly, she insists that the Simone I. Smith customer embodies the same level of confidence.
“She’s every woman, of every age and race,” Smith notes of her target customer. “She’s fashionable, career-minded and comfortable with who she is. She knows how to accessorize and she can rock a fly pair of earrings, with ease. She’s also unafraid to defy tradition.” Simply stated, Smith is intent on inspiring women to not only tap into their own personal style, but also, to be bold and open to switching things up a bit, too. Along with earrings, she plans to expand the Simone I. Smith collection to include bangles and cuffs, necklaces and rings.
During the decade since she launched her first, successful venture, Ms. Got Rocks – a custom-made line of beaded bandanas – Smith, the proud mother of four, focused her attention on caring for her family, full-time. Then in 2004, she endured a life-altering diagnosis of stage III chondorosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, which required an invasive surgery, followed by two years of rehab and recovery. Through it all, she held her head up high and was rarely seen without her sparkly ballet flats or color-coordinated crutches, but the experience surely tested, and renewed, her faith. It also sparked her desire to give back. As such, she will donate a portion of sales from select pieces of the jewelry line to charities committed to the ongoing fight against cancer, in all of its forms. “Cancer affects so many people and so many families,” she says. “I knew I wanted to do something to help.”
So, what keeps Smith inspired? Her faith in God, first, and her family, always. “My husband and children definitely keep me feeling inspired and motivated,” she says. “We are a family who believes in working hard and pursuing our dreams, so I’m excited about making my brand a reality. Along with cultivating my philanthropic efforts, my mission for Simone I. Smith is to create a quality, fashion-forward product and represent for all of my SISters around the world who love accessories as much as I do.”