Ashley Porter of Porter Lyons


Top: Nutria Ring | Bottom: Indian Feather Earrings

Have you ever seen a piece of clothing, jewelry, furniture, etc. and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it? Well, that was me with a simple little bracelet from Porter Lyons’ collection. I spotted the NOLA ID Bracelet at an art market one Spring evening down in New Orleans, LA, and I think I’ve dreamed of it every night since. I then found myself wandering through her website, ooh-ing and aww-ing at every single piece of jewelry – seriously, this girl is a genius when it comes to creating stuff you haven’t seen before. I knew I had to find a way to share her fabulous designs with the rest of the world. Enter, Sweet Lemon Mag.

Oil Spill Earrings by Porter Lyons

Oil Spill Earrings by Porter Lyons

Not only does Ashley Porter create and sell fabulous jewelry – she does it with a lot of heart and a lot of thought. In a world where hustling your product seems to be at the top of everyone’s priority list, Porter is trying to create unique and beautiful pieces AND give back. Porter is the perfect example of a Lemon Lady: smart, driven, fashionable, and unique. Read on for her story before she created her own jewelry line, Porter Lyons and how it was born.

Sweet Lemon Magazine: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ashley Porter: I grew up in Northern California and went to Tulane to get my Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Masters of Finance.  I went on to work for Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles before getting the fashion bug and simultaneously taking night classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.  Didn’t take me long to leave my finance job behind and fully commit myself to the wonderful and creative world of design.

SLM: What inspired you to start Porter Lyons?

AP: I think my generation is realizing how removed companies are from their end products.  I know when I was employed by a large organization I felt like my job lacked importance and was saddened by the disconnect throughout the company.    There is a strong movement in America to favor products that are inspired by local artisans.  The level and quality of work is greater and people feel more connected to their community when they can see the person that makes the products they consume.  Life is richer and better for it.  We are also undergoing a shift where more products are beings sourced locally as labor costs soar in Asia and transportation costs increase.


Ashley Porter sporting a few of her own designs.

SLM: What’s the story behind the name of the brand?

AP: Porter is my surname and Lyons is my middle name, which was my grandmother’s maiden name.   Her family’s lineage ties to New Orleans since the early 1860′s and her grandfather started a Pharmacy here called Lyons Pharmacy back in the early 1900s.  It’s great to be back in the city that has so much personal meaning to me and to be starting a business that helps preserve and document this culture.

SLM: How is Porter Lyons different from other jewelry lines?

AP: Our tag line rests on our three fundamental beliefs, Culture.Care.Create. Culture – Each collection highlights a specific culture from around the world. CARE – 5% of sales goes back to a cause that fundamentally helps protect that culture.  CREATE – we push the design envelope to create unique and quality products that are differentiated in a saturated market.

SLM: Did you have any experience in jewelry or fashion before starting your own line?

AP: After studying at FIDM in Los Angeles, I interned for Milly, Balenciaga and worked for Ralph Lauren in NYC.  I feel like I fell into jewelry design by accident, like the discovery of the post-it note!  I wrote a business plan to move back to New Orleans to source alligator skin to launch a belt line.  It quickly morphed into a jewelry endeavor after I found these amazing backbones under the skin in the gators that I simply needed to make into a ring and cuff.  If you have the vision, all the other pieces will fall into place.

SLM: How did your job experience prepare you for what you’re doing today?

AP: It taught me what I don’t want to do.

SLM: What’s been the most effective way to grow your business? Any tips?

AP: Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so talk to tons of people.  Sharing what I do is exciting for me and in a business that’s overly saturated I rely on my contacts and people I meet to spread the word.  Also it’s been a challenge to learn how and where best to delegate tasks.  It’s a fine dance to make but you learn as you go!  Also, use social media outlets for free PR!


One of our favorites from the collection, the Backbone Cuff.

SLM: What’s your dream job?

AP: Exactly what I’m doing but to expand it into a lifestyle brand and get a few more hands on board to help me with the accounting!

SLM: What’s your greatest accomplishment?

AP: Winning FIDM’s annual textile design competition, which gave me start up money to fund my venture.

SLM: Describe your personal style in 5 words or less.

AP: Statement through understatement.

SLM: Favorite piece from your collection?

AP: I never take off my NOLA ID bracelet, but my favorite piece is the new Adjustable Alligator Claw Necklace, in White Brass and Bronze, I wear it with everything.

SLM: When life gives you lemons…

AP: Squeeze them into a cup, add some sugar, and drink up!

We are so honored to have featured Ashley on Sweet Lemon Mag + stay tuned for exciting collaborations with her in the future!

Check out Porter Lyons on , + . You can purchase many of her pieces here.


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1 Comment

  • Reply August 16, 2013


    Great interview!