By Julie Tingley, The KNOW Women

a woman to know - adriana pappas

Puka shells on a string – How one native-Floridian fashion-focused entrepreneur started a fast-growing luxury jewelry line from the beach.

If there’s one thing a girl from the Florida coast understands, it’s the beach. And if you hand her a piece of jewelry with remnants from the state’s sandy playgrounds, well…she’s going to have an opinion. Thankfully for Adriana Pappas and her fast-growing following, she was inspired to introduce a piece of ‘home’ with an elevated twist to the women’s fashion jewelry industry after encountering an unfortunate accessory. We asked Adriana how she found her place in the fashion world, and how she has achieved such impressive growth with some of nature’s most beautiful treasures.

adriana pappas quote

 KNOWing a thing or two about the fashion industry for over 20 years…

As a Florida native, I spent most of my life in the world of fashion. I worked in retail at the age of 14, and fell in love with not only the fashion elements that you see on the front-end, but also the business aspects of it – all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the marketing and sales of a well-executed line. When I graduated high school at 18, I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own retail boutique. Within two years, I opened two more. That’s where my story begins.

KNOWing that you could do it differently (and better)…

A simple idea came to mind while I was lying on the beach in Sunny Isles, Miami. I will never forget that day. I am someone who has always followed fashion and trends, and my creativity and imagination is always working over-time when I take in the design of pieces around me. For example, I like to critique or reimagine a cut or length, or even close my eyes and redesign something all together. On this particular day, I simply looked at a shell jewelry piece that I purchased on the trip, and I said to myself: ‘I can create my version of this so much better.’ While holding the jewelry in my hand, something about it felt like ‘home.’  Being from Florida and growing up on the beach my entire life, this particular vision felt right. And from there, the Adriana Pappas collection began. I’m happy to say that today, it has even evolved beyond the shells. 

KNOWing that you’re on the right track…

My creative instincts have not let me down yet. I continue to see the bigger vision, and my team continues to create and expand the line to include new categories and the next seasonal/ themed collection. Even more exciting, we are attracting the attention of major retailers, and have just landed large scale accounts like Celebrity, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. The biggest trial we faced as a young brand last year through the pandemic was making a shift from focusing on brick-and-mortar boutiques with in-person try-on experiences to e-commerce and a well-working website. We did it though, and I’m excited that our boutiques are back open and doing well. Women, men, and dogs still very much want to shop our pieces in-person. 

KNOWing what you have learned along the way that others should know too…

Some of the best advice I’ve been given includes the old saying “Quality over Quantity.” This is a mantra I repeat to myself as I plan for new accounts and strategize where we want to place our collection next. I also believe you have to trust your gut, and only pursue something that you are truly passionate about – which I’m confident will lead you to having success. Every entrepreneur deserves that feeling of knowing when something is ‘right.’ But most importantly, I have learned to be knowledgeable in the field I’m pursuing, select key people to be part of my team that are invested in my brand, and not to shift my path just because it did not pan out the first time. Keep going.

KNOWing that it’s best if your dreams are as big as the ocean…

My biggest goals for the next five to 10 years include having a larger team in place, adding to our list of major retailers, and becoming a more well-known brand both across the U.S. and internationally. I want to be able to share my ‘home’ with everyone.



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