The Morse Code was invented in the 1840s by Samuel F. B. Morse as a companion to his telegraph. It was a means of sending messages through short and long electronic pulses, dots and dashes, respectively. Rebecca Coagan Scharlatt of COATT Jewelry uses this coding system to create her charming and unique, gold/silver and silk corded necklaces. Messages can be selected from sixteen options online or you can custom design your own. The modern line ads the perfect touch of femininity and romance to every outfit.
I had the fortunate opportunity to interview Rebecca and speak with her about her line, inspiration, and future plans. Below is a glimpse into the talented and generous woman behind COATT:
What does the name mean? What are its origins?
It is the first three letter of her fiancé’s name and the last three letters of her name. She wanted the name to be something that represented her and something that could eventually translate into more than necklaces.
How did you get started?
“I was the kid who sold jewelry to the principal.” She always had a love for the arts and even studied fine arts in school. She started making presents around Christmas time. Then, when she became sick a few years ago, she began creating things from home. Rebecca describes herself as a very visual person, someone who is drawn to illustrations and finds inspiration in Fellini, modern Italian imagery, and colorful candy. The Morse Code collection, which went live in November 2010, expresses her love for the sciences and is an ode to the inventor.
Who/what inspires you?
“Passion. I love to learn. Knowing that anything is possible. Optimism, character, loyalty. Color, love, dogs.”
Who is your favorite jewelry designer?
At the moment, she really enjoys the aesthetic of Sarah McGuire and her work with diamonds. Politics is another factor that influences and shapes her outlook in both her life and work. Thus, she is very interested in working with conflict-free diamonds. Rebecca is also drawn to large wooden beads, which directly correlates to her love of candy-like colors and shapes. “I love the idea of jewelry being edible and feeling delicious.”
What did you want to be as a child?
Rebecca currently resides in Portland, OR, in the revived Pearl District, with her fiancé of 12 years. She moved here from LA seven years ago. Born in Chicago to a family of doctors and lawyers, she grew up having an impeccable memory and a knack for arguing, which led her to believe that she wanted to become a lawyer. At various points she thought about becoming a detective, interior designer, a photographer, or someone who works with critical theory. At 35, she does not believe that any one thing truly defines a person and that it is good to keep learning and exploring your interests.
What is your favorite restaurant/food?
Rebecca, restricted by some allergies, loves Greek, French, Indian, and Mexican food. “I love food in general. The best food I’ve ever had was in Paris at La Bastide Odeon, in the bistro, which was not even the fancy part of the restaurant! The food was unreal!” She told me that she could live on avocadoes. After thinking it over, Rebecca concluded that her favorite ingredient is onions and that she may love them even more than avocadoes. (She realized that this may seem odd, but onions are the one thing that we use in almost everything!)
Words you live by?
“Keep learning; be good; try and interact with people.”
What are some of your plans for the future?
“I keep going back to a vision of a beautiful glass library atop a hill with a large garden.” Rebecca wants to open a learning center for children, a place where they can participate in after school activities and summer programs. She wants to provide a nurturing and safe environment for all children, a place where they can learn and be curious. As for the future of COATT, she potentially sees herself expanding into bracelets, double and triple stranded necklaces, and initial rings.
What words of advice would you give to people looking to start a business?
She agrees with Jonathan Adler’s philosophy: Just do it. You cannot always listen to other people because often, their opinions are based on fear. Rebecca believes that people should do what they love, “I started COATT with a $300 loan from my sister”. Starting a business is not as hard as it sounds. However, you have to be completely devoted and work towards your goal day and night!
Any plans for Valentine’s Day?
She plans to spend the day with her fiancé, answering yes to her grandmother’s age old questions: Did you laugh today? Did you dance today?
To purchase COATT jewelry, please visit www.coattonline.com. Readers will receive 20% off of all custom Morse Code messages by simply entering a capital “P” in the description section of the order. This offer will expire on February 14, 2011. Be creative and have fun with your messages!