Twiggy and The Gryphon: Redefining Medical Alert Jewelry

Stephanie Davidson, photographed by Daniel Alcazar
Stephanie Davidson, photographed by Daniel Alcazar


At the age of fourteen, Stephanie Davidson understood why her doctor recommended that she wear the bracelet. In the event of an emergency, the medical alert bracelet around her wrist would tell first responders that she was a type 1 diabetic and insulin dependent. She knew it could help save her life. 


She also knew that the bracelet would tell her high school peers she had a medical condition, something she was struggling to accept. It didn’t help that the bracelet was, in Stephanie’s eyes, ugly and unsophisticated. 


The diagnosis was burdensome for a high school freshman navigating her first year. If Stephanie administered herself too much insulin, she could die; if she didn’t give herself enough, she could die. Wearing a bracelet that seemed to shout, “You’re different” only made the transition and acceptance more difficult. 


Fast forward thirteen years. 


Stephanie Davidson, now twenty-seven, recently launched her own fine medical alert jewelry company, Twiggy and The Gryphon. As President and Designer of Twiggy and The Gryphon, Stephanie unites luxury and necessity to redefine medical alert jewelry. Through Twiggy and The Gryphon, Stephanie hopes that those struggling with medical conditions feel comfortable wearing medical alert jewelry with designs that complement their own personal aesthetic. 


How does a young woman living in Los Angeles start her own business? Meet the woman at the forefront of the fine medical alert jewelry company that just might help save your life.


Stephanie Davidson wearing Twiggy and The Gryphon, photographed by Daniel Alcazar
Stephanie Davidson wearing Twiggy and The Gryphon, photographed by Daniel Alcazar


You have experience in both the Music and Television Industries in Los Angeles. When did you realize that it was time to pursue Twiggy and The Gryphon full-time?

I’ve always gained a lot of personal love and growth through helping others. From a young age, I knew that, in whatever I was going to do, I wanted to help people. When I came up with that idea, everything fell into place. I was so inspired immediately. And I realized this is something that I can do. 


How has your relationship with Los Angeles contributed to the start-up success of Twiggy and The Gryphon?

LA is the perfect place to start a business. Unless you want to send things overseas for cheaper production, you can get everything in Downtown LA. There are so many really well known hospitals in the area too—leading hospitals that will really aid in the growth of the company as time goes on. In terms of research, I can ask a lot of medical personnel in the area, who have a good medical background, for feedback. 


You’ve recently attended medical conferences and conventions as Twiggy and The Gryphon’s President and Designer. How have people responded to Twiggy and The Gryphon?

I’ve gone to a few [medical conventions]. The response has been really good. One of my friends said, “Don’t label the jewelry as Men’s or Women’s. Just put it out, and tell them that it’s unisex.” It was really interesting. I think one of the men bought a men’s bracelet and another man bought a woman’s necklace. And then two women bought a women’s bracelet and two other women bought a men’s bracelet. It’s interesting to see how it’s just their style. It makes me feel good in my design ability in that I’ve been able to create pieces that look more masculine or more feminine. But they are also unisex in that people can mix and match the right personality with the piece. 


How has your degree in Fashion Design from FIDM influenced your experiences in the jewelry industry? 

Jewelry is different than clothing, but they have a lot of crossovers. I had a lot of design jobs when I first got out of school. It definitely got me acquainted with Downtown LA and helped me know where to go to find everything and where to find things wholesale. The process is the same. And I had a few friends that were in the LA scene and the fashion scene and who were able to connect me with a really great mentor who I’ve been using who has been a great help in helping me learn all of that stuff I need to learn.



Stephanie Davidson wearing Twiggy and The Gryphon, photographed by Daniel Alcazar
Stephanie Davidson wearing Twiggy and The Gryphon, photographed by Daniel Alcazar
Steven Gomez wearing Twiggy and The Gryphon, photographed by Daniel Alcazar
Steven Gomez wearing Twiggy and The Gryphon, photographed by Daniel Alcazar


How does Los Angeles serve as inspiration in the design of the jewelry?

We decided to make the first designs we created the “classic” pieces. They have their own style but they’re also kind of classic. This line will always be there. We decided to base the names of all these pieces from the Hollywood golden era. So all of the personal engraved pieces are named after “A-List” Hollywood stars from that period. We have the Lucille— the pre-engraved counterpart of the Lucille is called the Vivian. So they’re the costars. The Fred Astaire and the Bing Crosby, that’s the whole idea. This will be the classic collection.


You were living in your own apartment in Los Angeles before turning eighteen. What places in LA have meaning for you?

The Rainbow Bar and Grill off the Sunset Strip. It’s been there since the 70’s. During the height of the Sunset Strip days in the 80’s, it was the place for Music Industry people to go. That’s where all the rock bands would go before and after a show to get drinks and have food. It has a couple different levels. Each booth is designated to a different rock star that’s been there. They have my favorite pizza. It’s one of my favorite places to go and just hang out with friends and listen to good music. It’s right next door to The Roxy. The Griffith Observatory is another one. It has a great hiking trail that’s not really intense. The trail lets you see all of LA and Santa Monica. It’s really pretty. 


What advice would you give to young people struggling with a medical condition?

I think that it always gets better. It takes a lot of patience and practice and understanding of yourself and of others on daily basis, even on days when it seems like it gets worse. It always gets better. It sounds cliché but it can always be worse. There’s always someone better off than you and always someone worse off than you. In terms of what your own laws and rules are in life—it makes me so grateful to have what I have. It does get better and having the support system is the most important thing, at any age, to just get through it.



Learn more about Twiggy and The Gryphon and the importance of medical alert jewelry in The Paper Mixtape’s upcoming second issue.

To shop medical alert bracelets and necklaces and learn more about Twiggy and The Gryphon, check out their website: http://twiggyandthegryphon.com/







 


By Maeve McLiam

mmcliam@ucla.edu

Music and Entertainment Section Contributor

Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    swarovski jewelry uk (Friday, 08 April 2016 22:24)

    Wow, perfect. Fortunately, I found your website!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • #2

    swarovski london (Friday, 08 April 2016 22:51)

    Very interesting blog, looking forward to more wonderful!

  • #3

    Y & PY (Friday, 15 April 2016 01:12)

    Thank you for choosing to write about such talented and gracious human being. We have had the pleasure to work with her and are delighted to read more about her and of course always a pleasure to read what McLiam has to share with the world. Congrats on paying attention to such an important life saving topic Maeve! P.S. we wanted to go retro and changed our website to the way it looked when our founder worked with his dear friends at Carleton.edu hence The Merger sequence

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