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Designer Spotlight: Elizabeth Guz {ELLA Designs}

We were thrilled by the opportunity to chat with Elizabeth Guz, owner of ELLA Designs Original Jewelry in Franklin, Michigan. She shared the inspiration behind her heartfelt hand-made jewelry line, as well as her favorite pieces and must-have items for her cool, laid-back style.

{SS}: Can you share a bit about your background and the inspiration for ELLA Designs?

{Elizabeth}: I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA and MBA. I then worked in marketing at American Greetings in Cleveland for five years before I had children and moved back to Detroit. About 15 years ago, I took some interior design classes, and I did that for a short time. Then, two and a half years ago, I started ELLA Designs to raise awareness and money for bipolar-disorder research after losing my son Michael in 2009, at the age of 17, who struggled with bipolar disorder.

Fifty percent of all profits are donated to the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at the University of Michigan Depression Center. Since its inception, ELLA Designs has donated $60,000 to the fund. The mission of the research is to identify genetic markers for people who may be predisposed to bipolar disorder, and to find a way for early detection, better treatments and eventually a cure for bipolar disorder.

{SS}: What’s the meaning behind your company’s name? 

{Elizabeth:} The name was created from the first two letters of my name and my daughter’s name: Elizabeth and Lauren.

{SS}: What’s special about the jewlery you create?

{Elizabeth}: I find interesting pieces and put them on chains in a unique way. I also make bracelets and earrings. Many of the bracelets can be added to each other to create chokers or longer necklaces. Some of the pieces can also be worn as necklaces or wrapped as a bracelet.

The jewelry is fun, unique and very wearable. Some of the pieces are functional as well, like the magnifying-glass pendants and watches. Many of the pendants have meanings, and I often have little cards that explain the meaning of the piece.

Most of the pieces are unique. Sometimes I use the same pendants, but I put them on a different chain or add different beads and combinations, so they’re all a little different.

{SS}: Do you currently have any favorite pieces?

{Elizabeth}: I have a new favorite piece every week, but I especially love the pieces that I can wear in different ways. I love the stone necklaces, which can be worn as chokers or wrapped as bracelets. I think people like to have multiple ways of wearing items they love, and feel there’s more value and function when they can wear pieces in different ways.

I really like to layer the necklaces, so I usually have on a short, medium and longer necklace. This week, I’ve been wearing a sun with a beaded chain for the short necklace, and a horn and crystal piece for the others. They all go together very easily, so I don’t really spend a lot of time trying to match. I mix the metals and find that everything works well. If you wear things you love and feel comfortable, they usually look good together. I also like to wear some of the chain and beaded bracelets. They’re fun and finish the look. Of course, I also wear earrings, which I make and go with all the other pieces. 

{SS}: Who’s wearing ELLA Designs? 

{Elizabeth}: The great thing about ELLA Designs is its versatility. I’ve found that the pieces appeal to every age group. The jewelry is unique and stylish yet classic and very wearable. The pieces go with anything, and many can be dressy or casual depending on the outfit.

Now, on to your personal style…

{SS}: How would you describe your everyday style?

{Elizabeth}: I’m a jeans girl. I usually wear comfortable jeans with boots. Most of my clothes are neutral colors — black, browns, white and taupe or muted colors like rust, blue or green. In the summer, I love sandals and v-neck T-shirts. Since I’m always cold, I also like comfy sweaters or wraps that I can throw on over whatever I’m wearing. I like my clothes to be comfortable, and I wear a lot of loose-fitting tops.

{SS}: Do you have a signature piece or accessory?

{Elizabeth}: I love white shirts! Usually button down, but they have to be soft, not stiff. I also wear a lot of jeans — usually blue jeans — but sometimes cream, khaki and tan.

{SS}: What’s your style archetype?

{Elizabeth}: I think my style is a combination of classic and hippie (boho chic).

{SS}: What inspires your style?

{Elizabeth}: Comfort is the most important to me. Of course, I want to look stylish, but the clothes have to be easy to wear and comfortable.

{SS}: Do you have a style icon?

{Elizabeth}: I love Jennifer Aniston’s style. She always looks great — put together, but in a comfortable and casual way.

{SS}: What’s your favorite local boutique?

{Elizabeth}: I love SHE in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. They have great clothes! It’s easy to shop there because the staff is so helpful and friendly. They get to know their customers, so you get a lot of personal attention. Beautiful bags and accessories, too. I’m also a big T.J. Maxx shopper. I love finding great bargains!

Elizabeth (right) and her daughter, Lauren

{SS}: What are your words to live by?

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.


Ready to shop ELLA Designs? Check out our editors’ picks (click to purchase!).


Shop more select pieces from ELLA Designs on their Styleshack page!


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