BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Over the course of 15 years, Ryan Snuggs’ experience as jewelry apprentice, gemologist, and store manager at Bromberg’s at the Summit has provided the perfect blend of experience to launch a line of his own for men.
It all began in the pursuit of the perfect cuff link.
“I started wearing cuff links in college. When I went to graduate, I realized that I didn’t like any of the cuff links that I really was seeing,’ Snuggs said. “It seemed like a miss in the market.”
So he went with his own vision, from sketch to early sample.
“I got a compliment from a customer,” Snuggs said. “They were buying cuff links, and they didn’t want to buy the ones we had. They just didn’t like it as much as the ones I had on. So I knew I was on to something.”
That something grew into Michael Ryan cuff links.
“2007, 2008 is really when we started working on it. The economy had changed. People were really focusing on how to get back to work,” Snuggs said. “So I started thinking, I want people to aspire to be professional.”
“Everything was done real slow in the beginning because we had so many details we wanted to cover,” he said.
Each prototype is made by hand, right here in Birmingham.
“Whether it’s 2 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon, you just run with it. You get inspiration or you get a thought and you want to put it pen to paper,” Snuggs said. “I would sketch things that I thought of that would be really cool.”
The cuff links are meant to transition from work to evening, and look appropriate no matter where you are.
“When I go to a larger city, when I see people leaving work, they’re not going home and changing,” he said, “They’re going out in their professional attire, so why not have a line of jewelry or cuff links where you’re going from the boardroom or out to dinner or drinks with friends and it still looks like a more casual look.”
Snuggs draws inspiration for the cuff links from art.
“We do designs that are more art driven than they are mystic driven — paintings, texture, brushstrokes, fabric patterns — those kinds of things that truly work with clothing,” he said. “It’s very timeless. That’s what we’re going for with the whole element.”
Want to take a closer look? Head to Bromberg’s at the Summit for Guys Night Out on Thursday, Oct. 29, for a bourbon tasting and trunk show featuring Michael Ryan Cuff Links and William Henry.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News