By Linden Wilson From a young age, Carla Cohen knew she wanted to attend design school. At 12, she had a subscription to Vogue and a deep desire to go to New York. Yet her path took a different direction, and she received a business degree before spending 13 years working various roles in corporate America. Despite her time spent in the marketing industry, Cohen couldn't ignore her entrepreneurial spirit, churning out endless ideas for starting her own business. The first came to fruition in 2004 in the form of a successful scrapbooking company, Paper Salon. "That was when I really fell in love with color, texture, and combining and mixing patterns," Cohen says. A few years later while on vacation, she and her daughter stumbled upon a bead shop where they created a piece together. "That's when it just clicked," she says. "I was like a kid in a candy store."
After months of playing with jewelry in her studio and giving her designs away to friends, Cohen decided to turn her hobby into a brand. "I went full speed ahead and started creating more things and doing a lot of research on what the trends were going to be," she says. "I don't let trends dictate what I'm going to do, but I am very influenced by fashion." Cohen calls her line, Via Patina, "very eclectic." She uses lots of aged metals (sterling silver, bronze, plated gold) and semiprecious stones to create necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. "I love the organic nature of the stones and how they interact with the metal," she says.
Cohen says the materials she uses are what inspire her and drive her creative process. "When I'm in my studio, I have to have all my things displayed; everything has to be very visual and laid out. Then I'm just grabbing beads, using whatever's catching my eye at that moment, putting things on a tray and letting the piece evolve. Each piece tells its own story."
Cohen now sells Via Patina in Bespoke Hair Artisans, a salon located on 50th & France. She's launching a collection at Scheherazade Jewelers, and she designed a capsule collection to appear in the Eco Inspirations fashion show next month. Her designs are currently being used in all marketing materials promoting the Envision Fashion Show, and she recently showcased her jewelry at Minnesota Fashion Week alongside four other selected accessories designers. Cohen's handcrafted items would make gorgeous gifts for birthdays or pretty presents for bridesmaids, because "everyone wears accessories," she says. "You can change the whole look of what you're wearing with accessories." Via Patina, (952) 250-4426; click here to visit Via Patina's official Facebook page