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HomeGrown: Diana Warner

5:38 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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From cover girl and primetime to the red carpet, Diana Warner's jewelry has become "the" accessory to the stars.

"We do Gossip Girl every season. I smile a lot. It's fun to put jewelry on beautiful women."

Natasha Bedingfield and Blake Lively to Rachel Ray, many starlets wear her. And, Diana Warner is quickly becoming a household name.

"We are serving over 700 stores across the world, mostly the U.S., North American and the Caribbean."

To think her bling fascination started with her late grandmother's jewelry box. As a child, it was one of Diana's favorite toys.

"She would bring out these zip lock bags full of costume jewelry and that is how I learned how to make jewelry."

In middle school, she expanded her creations.

"I used all my allowance at Michaels, the craft store. I always made things for people- little boxes, jewelry or beads. I think I sold painted rocks to all my neighbors. Thanks for buying them!"

After graduating Farragut High, Diana started out in Business and Public Relations at UT. She then changed majors to Art despite her parents wishes.

"I remember my dad saying, 'Well, you're not going to make a penny until you're dead.'"

Diana got her degree in oil painting.

"I still made jewelry all the way through. My professors were like you've got to stop doing this. It's distracting from your painting."

But the distraction became her ticket and the beginning of the Diana Warner brand.

"We were young and had no idea what we were doing and somehow made it work."

Knoxville Museum of Art was her first client. The Diana Warner line began expanding and slowly made its way to New York trade shows.

"At that point I was making everything myself. When we got to about 100 stores, it had to stop and we had to get some help."

A year in, Diana decided to move to the Big Apple.
Now, just 30 years old, she's making her mark with her very own retail store.

"Our sign says, 'the Happiest Boutique in New York City' and that's the truth."

Diana is winning over New Yorkers with southern charm.

"It's been such a struggle to be in New York City as a real young southern women with an accent who actually has a brain."

And her brain is constantly creating. Recently she partnered with STYX to create a jewelry collection complete with guitar picks. And, her jewels are even popping up in a new Susan Sarandon film.

"It's about a jewelry heists, so all the jewelry that you'll see is ours... which is crazy!"

But some of her favorite designs are inspired by ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

"This specific necklace came from the fact that two breast cancer survivors called me. They were telling me their story about their battle."

She's a designer making it big in the fashion world who continues to embrace the comforts of home.

Diana Warner, born in Knoxville, HomeGrown in Tennessee.

"East Tennessee is a place that teaches you to dream big. And, they don't leave it at that. They teach you to dream big and then they hold your hand and support you the entire way."

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