Designing Women - So Pretty by Cara Cotter

Today on our Designing Women segment, I am thrilled to be interviewing another Edmontonian! Cara makes beautiful jewellery, and I am so pleased that we get to have her pieces in the store. 

Without further ado, let's meet Cara! 

Hi Cara! Thanks so much for chatting with us. Can you please start off by telling us how you came up with the idea to start So Pretty?

When I started my line of jewelry 10 years ago my vision for the brand was a lot smaller. At that time I was selling on a small scale to family and friends and with one retailer. I wanted a name that reflected my design aesthetic and the domain was available lol. The name “So Pretty” was simple and straight forward. After many more years of life experience i.e.  getting married, having kids and going through the ups and downs of life the name means so much more and is reflected in names of each piece. To me pretty isn't just about outward beauty but shows itself more clearly in ways such as wit, love, glee, bravery, spirit, intuition, poise, grace, and joy etc. The list is endless. After I complete each design it is given a name to symbolize all that is pretty in the world.

Your career started in Chemistry, of all things! Does this knowledge help when it comes to designing jewelry? 

I think chemistry is one of the most creative and artistic areas in science and is why I chose it. Making things has always been in my makeup. Whether in my studio, kitchen or the science lab.

On your website, you talk about your love of semi-precious stones and fine metals. Are there any in particular that you love working with? 

I have always loved sterling silver, gold and rose gold. There is a weight and feel to them like no other and they stand up to wear really well. These are pieces you can invest in and will be in your jewelry box forever. They can be handed down. The wonderful thing about semiprecious stones is their huge variety; there are hundreds. I am addicted to finding new ones and much to my husband’s chagrin my collection is a big one. My top three are chrysoprase, lapis and labradorite.

Your designs are brought to life by the dedicated craftsmen in Jaipur, India. Can you tell us a little bit about how you chose Jaipur, and what makes it the perfect place to craft your jewelry?

I was originally attracted to Jaipur because of their wonderful selection of semiprecious stones and the beautiful cuts they create I couldn’t get anywhere else and since jewelry making is such a huge part of their history they have excellent universities programs focused on gemology and design. Through these institutes I was able to find excellent studio referrals who could translating my drawings into my vision, provide feedback on the technical side and create beautiful works of art for my line.

In addition to jewelry, you seem to have a passion for fashion in general. Have you ever considered designing clothing? 

If only there were more hours in the day! Right now jewelry takes up every minute I have but last year I did venture out and launched my line of jewelry handbags. It was my first leap from jewelry to bags. I’ve been really happy with them and they have been well received.  Below is one of the reviews on my website. There are a few other good reviews.
"Perfect travel case
Love, Love, Love my mini jewelry handbag!!! Recommended to anyone, great present or just a gift for yourself.

Carefully designed to meet the needs of a frequent traveller to ensure all jewelry doesn't get all tangled. Doubling as a crossbody/clutch was an amazing feature. The material is top notch, leather is so soft and the zippers are so smooth which shows the attention to details when raw materials were sourced.

Cara, you have amazing designs, can't wait to see what you come up with in the future. Read Less"

How did you come up with the name "So Pretty?" What does it mean to you?

To me pretty isn't just about outward beauty but shows itself more clearly in ways such as wit, love, glee, bravery, spirit, intuition, poise, grace, and joy etc. The list is endless. After I complete each design it is given a name to symbolize all that is pretty in the world.

Where do you turn to for inspiration?

Everywhere and I constantly take pictures and jot down notes. Whether it’s architecture, home fashions, things I spot while traveling or runway trends I gather ideas from everywhere. Right now I’m inspired by pairing rough and pretty together.  Rebecca Taylor does this really well. Her mix of animal print with soft fabrics and silhouettes always puts a smile on my face. I love the idea of pairing rough and organic settings with really pretty and sparkly cut stones. This harmony ring speaks to that.  

What do you think makes Edmonton stand out as a great place for small businesses?

Edmonton is such a supportive city when it comes to small business and designers.  We have a really strong independent retail presence and some great organizations to support growth. I am amazed at how many wonderful designers and success stories there are! Beyond that Edmontonians really rally behind their designers to help spread the word and support us by buying.

Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram at the moment?

My faves right now.


Finally, are there any new and exciting designs you can let us in on?

Next week I’m travelling to NYC for my first retailer show to present my Spring/Summer 2015 collection. It’s a very exciting milestone for me as it’s the first time I’ll be in front of large US department store buyers and retailers from around the world. In this collection I’m incorporating some beading with my set stones along with some larger statement pieces: cuffs and collar necklaces.  Here are two sneak peeks.


  1. I LOVE those rings. And everything else, lol! So nice to see such a talented local lady! XO, Sarah

  2. Just beautiful! Everything is just so beautiful! And I love labradorite! It is one of my favourite stones. Thank you for showing off the talent Edmonton holds! <3



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