CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- She was engaged to the Bachelor and was the Bachelorette, and still, today is a big day for Emily Maynard.
I like your jewelry, she says laughing, noticing the women gathered around the table unwrapping plastic bags are all wearing her jewelry line that launches Wednesday.
We re all so excited we can wear it now, they say.
Maynard says, I can t believe it s finally here. I ve had this day in my calendar-- like giant stars highlighted-- and it just feels really surreal.
The Charlotte single mom is teaming up with Towne and Reese, a Charlotte-based jewelry company started by two moms. Maynard wore things from Towne and Reese when she appeared on the two reality TV shows, and when the cameras stopped rolling, the women approached her about a collaboration.
It s no secret. I m a girly girl, all day long, in every sense of the word. So jewelry was the perfect fit for me, Maynard says.
But designing wasn't as easy as she first thought.
I thought I ll draw up some pretty designs and then that s it. Turns out I m a really horrible drawer, so I didn't do that. And there s a lot more that goes into it then just looking at pretty things all day.
Each piece is named for one of her 8-year-old daughter Ricki's friends, who she says loves her mom s new gig.
Oh yeah, she doesn t understand that I m not like downstairs, in the living room, after she goes to bed hammering out metal. She s really proud of it. She s really excited.
Inspiration for the 63 pieces struck in different places, including in the middle of one of her TV dates in Croatia.
I had ten minutes and I could run into an antique store and go shopping, she says about the inspiration for what is now one of her favorite necklaces. A door knocker she liked led to another necklace.
While she had other offers to go back on TV, Maynard says she wasn t sure people wanted to see more of her and she wanted a break.
I kind of just wanted to go into a hole after the filming, and just sink back into normal everyday life, and not get caught up in all the craziness that can surround it.
Neither of her two TV engagements worked, and Maynard says she had a tough time dealing with all of the publicity surrounding the breakups. She and Bachelor Brad Womack broke up before she went on to become the Bachelorette, where she ended the show engaged to Jef Holm. But the single mom has found love again, right here in Charlotte. She is demure, and at first reluctant to answer. But then admits she has been seeing a local consultant to car dealerships for several months.
I have yeah, but I've known him for a long time. I met him far before I did the show, Maynard says, adding they reconnected after the other two relationships.
She's much freer talking about her Web site, www.emilymaynard.com, where she blogs about fashion, beauty and enjoys interacting with women from all over the place. And of course, the new jewelry.
We re already working on the next season!
She plans to do it all right here in Charlotte.
I just love life in Charlotte. My family is here, my friends are here. I don t see myself ever leaving.