Trendsetters at Work, Vita Fede

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

What happens when one woman's curiosity collides with her love of craftsmanship? Vita Fede, accessories brand for the bauble-baring set. 

Cynthia Sakai went from selling handmade tampon cases door-to-door (yes, really!) to building a luxury accessories business all on her own. Her office, which doubles as a showroom and reads much like an apartment, is an Instagram-ready oasis. Think: gorgeous, modern décor, incredible pieces of jewelry strewn about and complete with one cute pup.  

Read on to hear from the inspiring New York-based designer herself!

What is a typical day like for you?
I travel six months out of the year, so when I'm in NY, my typical day is: waking up around 7:00 a.m., checking my favorite apps (WWD, NY Now, Daily Curiosity, Daily Brain), Skyping with my Italy office, emails and meetings. Every day is quite hectic and I'm juggling about 100 things at once, but I love it! It's kind of second nature to me.

Trendsetters at Work, Vita Fede

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

Tell us about your office décor.
It's a mix of modern and vintage finds.

When did you last give your office a makeover?
I try to always keep it new and fresh by adding flowers or incorporating little knick-knacks from my trips around the world.

What inspired you to launch Vita Fede?
I've always loved to create, but when a friend gave me a beautiful Italian bracelet as a gift, I became intrigued with the detail and craftsmanship. I flew to Florence, Italy and after two days of wandering around the City Center, I found a small retail store near the Ponte Vecchio that carried these bracelets. I asked if they'd allow me to change the color, leather, metal and a few other minor things. I bought 30 samples and sold 10,000 units of this bracelet the first season.

How did you come up with the name?
The original pieces were so well received, customers started to ask what else this brand had and that was when I shifted my focus from the showroom to designing my first collection. And with that, Vita Fede was born. "Vita" was the first word I learned in Italian, meaning "life" and "Fede" means "faith," which is the name of my pup!

What's the best part about your job?
Creating something out of nothing and knowing that people enjoy it in their lives.

Trendsetters at Work, Vita Fede

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

What jewelry trends are you loving right now?
I am currently loving a big statement earring.

And which do you wish would go away?
We didn't need to witness the comeback of the ‘90s, tattoo choker necklace.

What's the best rule of thumb when styling your outfit with jewelry?
I love to accessorize first, then pick out my outfit. I guess my approach is opposite to most people.

Name three investment pieces a girl should have in her repertoire.
A piece of jewelry that is purchased with a significant other (friend, parents, boyfriend or husband) or a piece of jewelry to celebrate a special milestone in your life, a classic ladylike handbag that can work for day or night, and now that I live in NY, I would definitely have to say a coat.

What's the most daring career risk you've ever taken?
As a business owner and creator, every day is full of calculated risks and I have just learned to downright follow my gut.

Who are some of your career heroes? Why?
I admire anyone who has followed their dreams and have never given up to build something they are proud of.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Never look back. Every setback is just another reason to work even harder.

Trendsetters at Work, Vita Fede

Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment

Finish the sentences below:
Today for lunch I had… sushi from this great little Japanese market around the corner from our new offices in SoHo.

The first website I log onto every day is… I have a few apps that I check every morning including WWD, New York Now, Daily Curiosity and Daily Brain.

My usual Starbucks order is… I get a bit spoiled traveling to Italy quite often, so I generally stick with my Nespresso machine to make a macchiato.

If I wasn't doing this job, I would… have wanted to be a singer (granted I can't sing a note but...)

My favorite lipstick shade is… Boy by Chanel

List five things that are on your desk right now… notepad that says, "Moments of genius", my favorite candle (made by Byredo), a picture of my pup, Faith, sketches for upcoming Vita Fede collections and new, natural stones to choose the colors for the new collection.

My favorite Instagram account is… It's difficult to narrow it down to just one, but recently I've been loving @science.ig since and @Coolhunting - I always enjoy learning new things.

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