Juliet and Tommy Simms of Never Take It Off
Alone, determined and armed with only an acoustic guitar, rock songstress Juliet Simms set out to make her mark on the Van’s Warped Tour in 2007, hitching a ride on the bus of her friends from pop-punk outfit Cute is What We Aim For
. Once there, she spent the entirely of the summer hopping from tent to tent, asking to play some of her songs. Fest creator Kevin Lyman found out, and— to her surprise — urged her continue. The next year, he invited her and her band Automatic Loveletter
to play on stage.
Since then, Simms has become a Warped staple. In 2011, seeking a more intimate and special connection with fest-goers, Simms spent hours tying bracelets on fans, talking to them about their fears and dreams. These conversations eventually turned into “vow lists.”
With the help of her brother and Automatic Loveletter bandmate, Tommy Simms, the idea morphed into a successful jewelry biz, Never Take It Off
. Named after the first song on Automatic Loveletter’s sophmore LP, The Kids Will Take Their Monsters On,
NTIO features several lines of bracelets, necklaces and rings created by various alternative musicians (including Underoath former Spencer Chamberlain, Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides, The Summer Set's Jess Bowen and Sierra Kay from Versa). All the jewelry comes with a customized “Vow List,” serving as a constant reminder of strength, individuality and hope.
“A lot of Automatic Loveletter’s fans have been this whole family of kids who use the music as a band-aid or crutch, and it’s helped them in some capacity,” Juliet said in a recent phone interview with CL. “Whether it was with depression or cutting themselves, it helped them to stay strong and believe in themselves.”
According to Tommy — who is president of the company — the band has always made a point to nurture a relationship with fans. “We made sure a signing happened after every set,” Tommy said.
Having been a catalyst for her career, Juliet said that it's significant that Never Take It Off
was birthed at the Warped Tour. She considers the crew her second family, and wants to develop a Warped Tour line in the NTIO collection. “If it wasn’t for Kevin [Lyman], I really don’t know where I’d be, career wise,” Juliet said. “Given that I got my start at the tour, and this line came from the tour, it really does make it very very special for me.”
Paper Planes necklace for NTIO by Spencer Chamberlain
Having developed a solid relationship with the Warped audience, NTIO works primarily with alternative artists. The Simms hope to branch out, incorporating other musicians and authors. For now, they are focusing on their established audience.
The bracelets and necklaces in each artists’ lines are visual manifestations of their music. According to Tommy, a great deal of time is spent keeping that fidelity intact. “We have a large team and a couple of really great creative directors,” he explained. “The artists have so much to do with designing each of their pieces — it’s really a part of them.”
For Tommy and Juliet, the company is not about profit, but the “evolution of positivity” in rock music — and in an industry soiled in negative connotations. “Growing up, I looked to artist and bands as opinion leaders, and the people that I would listen to more than my parents,” Juliet commented. “I am now in a position where I can influence kids to do the right thing.”
Expanding their roster of musicians and launching a new website in a few weeks, the Simms want to create an interactive online community, rather than just a store. “We want to take it from a jewelry company to a movement,” Tommy said.
As NTIO thrives, the siblings continue to be extremely active in music. Tommy plays Gasparilla Music Festival
with his band Deluxe in March. Juliet is transitioning between labels and writing songs, working with producer Aaron Sprinkle (Underoath). She was also the runner up on the 2012 season of NBC’s The Voice.
That experience broadened her fan base and simultaneously opened her up to public scrutiny. It also drove home the ideals of Never Take It Off more deeply than ever. “I’m human. I’m not perfect. I have flaws faults and insecurities,” Simms said. “I started it wanting kids to know that I’m just like them. It’s a way to have a connection with fans, letting them know, ‘I’m here with you. We can do this.’”
For more info, to see the current jewelry line or to order a piece for yourself, visit the Never Take It Off website.