Sofia Elias, Founder Of Lifestyle Brand Blobb Is Thinking Outside The Design Box
When you look at what Sofia Elias has created with her lifestyle brand Blobb, you likely immediately harken back to your childhood. Think bright and edible candy, butterfly clips, and Lisa Frank. “I think that the purest versions of ourselves are when we are kids,” says Elias to TZR. “That simpleness and fun way of living have been the main sources of my inspiration.” The nature of the brand (which launched in 2019) is not complicated: fun, playful, and unapologetically bright. And while the label initially was known for its candy-like jewelry, Elias has recently expanded her whimsical designs to home decor and sculpture.
Originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, the young designer is also an architect and artist. Her now-signature Blobb rings and “Twizzler band” bracelets have been worn by celebrities the likes of Jonah Hill, Bella Hadid, and Dua Lipa. And though you’d think the A-list recognition might get to any fledgling entrepreneur’s head, Elias stays humble: “I’m grateful for being able to do what I love every day,” she says. “Sometimes I wake up, and I’m like, is this happening? It makes me happy. I’m having fun with it.”
From her accidental founding of the brand to her Mexican culture that constantly inspires her creativity, Elias highlights the importance of expressing yourself with no creative limits and, more importantly, never taking yourself too seriously.
A (Beautiful) Accident Waiting To Happen
Elias studied architecture at the Universidad de Anahuac in Mexico City. After a few years into her studies, she noticed that the major was a bit more technical than she expected. “I was feeling more like an engineer than a creative, using my computer and many [digital] programs; I missed using my hands,” recalls Elias. During her final year at university, she worked with a sculpture artist full time, finding her place in the design world.
And, in a quick turn of events, her senior thesis would lead the way to Blobb’s beginnings. For her final school project, Elias decided to investigate playgrounds. She was interested in designing one to be fun and whimsical, one that invites joy. Using playful, organically shaped materials like spaghetti and bubble gum to create her initial models for the childhood structure, she realized how ideal the designs would be for something like jewelry. “That’s where it started; I was making experimental models [for my thesis], and that’s where the rings came out,” she says. “I started making rings for myself, friends wanted some too, and then I suddenly had a brand.”
The positive feedback she initially got from friends and family made her realize she could have a future as a designer. “My friends and people around me were who showed me this could be something; I didn’t know I was going to start a brand,” Elias explains. “I was like, ‘These are weird, silly things on my fingers,’ and my friends were like, ‘Yeah, I want some [rings], too.’”
These early years also included some trial and error as Elias sought the perfect material for her now signature rings. “My house smelled like resin, and everyone hated me, and I was just doing experiments in the kitchen and ruining all of the plates, but finally found material that was going to work for me,” she says.
And practice indeed made perfect. Suddenly, shops and retailers started reaching out to Elias via email and Instagram DMs for products, and her jewelry operations quickly outgrew the bedroom table used for assembly and creation.
Sourcing Inspiration From Culture
While organic, playful shapes may have inspired Blobb’s first rings, it’s Elias’ Mexican culture that has influenced her entire creative process. “Mexico subconsciously does something to you; it’s a country full of color,” she explains. “There’s color on the street, with vendors selling their tacos on colorful plastic plates, the bright tablecloths.”
In fact, the perfectly imperfect, handmade method Blobb is built upon can be directly linked back to Elias’ Latin culture. “You see, even if you buy mugs or glasses for your table, they’re going to be a little different, but that’s the beautiful part about them,” she comments. “The fact that they are handmade and imperfect.” Her Blobb rings and Twizzler bands are made without molds, and Elias says this is important because she wants each piece to feel unique and one of a kind. “They’re meant to be a miniature sculpture for your body, a piece of art,” she says.
The label’s Wobble vases, made out of recycled plastic and materials, are also a byproduct of sourcing inspiration from her life in Mexico. The original idea stemmed from the plastic buckets sold on the street. She was inspired by the hues when they stacked the semi-translucent buckets in the different colors offered. “I’ve wanted to work with buckets for a long time because I like how they display them on the street and sell them. It’s the ready-made, and it’s the day-to-day context that makes it so beautiful and unique,” she says. In addition to the unique shape of the vase, the rims are covered with beautiful colored beads that juxtapose with the color of the bucket itself, making them almost look like candy. Elias’ ludic style is what makes the brand seem like a constant experiment.
Playing With Different Mediums
As a designer, Elias sells her Blobb rings, Twizzler bracelets, and Wobble vases. But the artist in her keeps wanting to get more experimental, tapping into her multiple hats that include architect and artist. At first glance, I assumed Elias’ latest launch of “Pofi,” a series of organic, child-like rubber chairs, was a part of the Blobb product roster. But I was quickly corrected — the pieces are a separate art form entirely. “Blobb is going to sell accessories, jewelry, etc., but my intention has always been to be an artist, specifically a sculpture artist,” explains Elias. “The chairs are part of an upcoming solo exhibition I have on October 1 in a gallery here in Mexico.”
In my opinion, these chairs serve as an optical illusion. If you were to sit on the Pofi chair, it would collapse and quickly return to its original shape once you get off it. The irony of the product is what makes it stand on its own as a work of art, literally. Elias is constantly trying to find ways to make her pieces playful and attention-grabbing, making them her signature in the world of art and design. “Some people come to my studio and say, ‘Your chairs don’t work,’ and I’m like, ‘You don’t understand them; they’re meant to be playful and, to some degree, not functional like a normal chair would be.’”
As a trained architect, Elias mentions how beneficial it’s been to know how to bring a product from start to finish. “You work with different scales as an architect, which has made it easier for me to experiment with different designs and products for the brand.” She also mentions how each piece she creates has a different process, so she takes the time to study what materials would work, especially given that she constantly wants to use recycled materials. “Each product has its material and recipe,” she says. “We are not creating bands with the same material as the rings; each piece will be different. And for that, it’s a lot of testing and seeing what works, how long it takes to create, and whether or not the material can be handled easily.”
From her creative process to sourcing out her inspiration, Elias has stayed consistent by doing things her way, constantly experimenting, and using her imagination. “I keep doing things for myself; that’s how all of this started,” she says.“With my twist and a few experiments, people have been receiving it in a beautiful way.”
Elias’ studio is in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City and open by appointment only.
This article was originally published