Shoplight: Noon Designs
Located on a cool residential street in Ocean Beach, sits Noon Designs, a cute boutique with earrings dangling from wires and handmade paper tucked behind stones. Nora Farrell and Maie Liis Webb knew they would be in business together…they just didn’t know when. Maie says, “We always talked about doing something…whether it was having a brick oven pizza place, a bakery or a shop. Nora had been doing jewelry out of her home and I had been making wedding invitations. We were like ‘let’s just do it’.”
College pals at the Rhode Island School of Design, they instantly clicked and realized a common thirst for creativity. Finally, with the opening of Noon Designs in 2009, their casual conversation became a serious business. Taking their at-home businesses to the streets, Nora is master of the jewelry and Maie handles all the paper products. However, the partners don’t shy away from collaboration. Maie says, “We help each other out. We have these abstract letter necklaces…I designed those since I gravitate towards letters. Nora helps me out with color for the paper designs.”
Trained as an industrial designer, simplicity definitely drives the designer’s aesthetic. “As an industrial designer, I knew how things were made. I wanted to streamline everything. I like simple, functional things so I eliminated backs…I hate backs on earrings.” With a “less is more” approach, the focus is on the metal work and the stones that Nora artfully puts together into a delicate adornment.
Maie, who makes every paper product by hand, features simple organic images—such as flowers or birds—on her invitations and cards, keeping true to the Noon Designs natural look. “It’s nice to be able to touch and feel the paper. I was always interested in the personal side of design…instead of making a flyer that someone would throw away. For the wedding invitations, each couple is a new project.” Another plus? Noon is totally eco-friendly. Maie uses 100% tree free cotton paper, and all the envelopes are made from recycled materials and processed using solar and wind power. Nora also uses lots of organic materials such as walnut wood, shells and freshwater pearls.
Their little shop has garnered a lot of attention. Nora says, “Ocean Beach welcomed us with open arms”. Just a block off the main street, Noon Designs may be a hidden gem but it is worth the hunt.
What do customers go crazy for? “Our champagne single drop Swarovski earrings. We could sell nothing else. I wear them everyday… I’m obsessed,” Maie says.
Some big names are also getting obsessed with their designs. Ever heard of Meg Ryan? “We were in a store in Boston called Isabel Harvey and Meg Ryan went in there…out of everything in the shop she picked out our jewels! She took a pair of the olive green Swarovski earrings.”
It’s obvious Noon Designs isn’t confining their creativity to California. Retailed in 65 shops nationwide; this boutique business is clearly on the up-and-up. They also have a few things to look forward to, such as their largest trade show yet, the New York International Gift Fair in August.