From designing her own jewelry line, to writing a magazine column, to managing family and children… learn how this savvy, native New Yorker and owner of love2design Jewelry does it all, and does it with spirit and style!
Tell us about love2design Jewelry…
love2design is a collection of modern- bohemian style jewelry that was created to express a mom’s love for her family, as well as her innermost passions. If you love hearts, we have it; buddahs, we have it; skulls… we have them too! We have expanded to include something for everyone! My kids are teenagers so they help me keep it young, wild and free (as the song goes). We use lots of leather instead of chains so you can layer with other pieces you might own. love2design Jewelry is about telling your own personal story
Umm…Nice – I like that. So what inspired you to start your business?
The collection was originally created to fill a void in the market. I needed a baby gift for my childhood friend Cozy, from Cozy’s Cuts For Kids; there was nothing out there that wowed me. I knew what I wanted… a ring with both her boys’ names on it, but it didn’t exist! So I had it made myself! Next thing I knew every New York City mom she came in contact with wanted one. I was ready to devote more time to my family but still be creative and own a business, so I started a Jewelry company!
Tell us a little about you and your background. Do you have a fashion merchandising background?
Yes! I worked in the garment center for about 15 years. I love hip hop and it was so new and hot back then so I took my knowledge and opened my own showroom to work with new streetwear designers helping merchandise and sell their collections to larger chain stores. I worked with Naughty By Nature and Mike Tyson to create their clothing collections, and I also helped relaunch Jordache jeans, which was so fun! They are an amazing company to work with. When I left the garment center I did a lot of personal shopping for NYC gals who needed a little help developing their own personal style.
How difficult was it to get started in this business? What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?
It was pretty simple to get started. Living in NYC, we have unlimited resources and I knew what I did and did not want from working in the garment center. For example, I knew inventory is the kiss of death and ties up all your money. With custom pieces everything is paid for up front. I also feel that it is crazy to sell retailers in this day and age. They want to make more money than your company does and they charge the consumer double what they really should be paying. love2design is not sold in stores, this way we can keep the pricing at a place where everyone can purchase it!
Our biggest challenge is finding the funds to take the collection to the next level. Right now the profits from the company go to contributing to my family expenses and growing the collection. There is very little left for press. PR is super expensive so I try to go directly to the consumer and offer incentives on sites like yours! If anyone is reading this and would like to do some freelance PR contact me!
That’s great, Lori. Thanks for the compliment! NYMW takes great pride in our efforts to support small business and bring our moms the best of diverse, fun, and relevant media. Starting and managing a business is difficult though. What advice would you give other moms who are looking to start their own business?
Go For It!!! As my kids say YOLO! It is an amazing feeling to have something to call your own. It is also great for your kids to watch you juggle both work and mommy worlds. Include your kids in the process, ask their opinion. It really gets their minds going at a young age.
I love the entire line! Everything I see on your site, I want! Do you actually design the pieces yourself, or you have a buyer who seeks them out?!
I design mostly everything and my clients design the rest or we collaborate on things. For example, our new signature necklace that was originally designed for Sara Blakely (founder of SPANX) from her husband, came to be like this…
Me: ”You should get Sara this breathe necklace for Mother’s Day”.
Jesse: ”Can you do it with our son Lazer’s name on it instead?”
Me: ”Wait, how amazing would it be if he wrote his name (he is 4) on a piece of paper and I used it for the font for the necklace?”
Jesse: “Amazing idea!”
Me: “Ok let’s do it in diamonds!”
Done… Thus the signature necklace was born! When Gayle King interviewed Sara she loved it so much she featured it as one of the “Things She Is Loving” in the August issue of O Magazine!
Talk to me about the different collections, for example the Modern Mantra…?
Modern Mantra is my fave! Basically, we put things into different collections, just like when you decide what you’re in the mood to wear everyday. One day you might want to get a little luck and wear your horse shoe; another you might want to show off your kids and go for an engraved piece with your kids’ names. Summertime is a pearl, diamond and leather time of year. Put on a leather choker with a pearl and leave it on for the entire summer. On Mondays you might want to wear a breathe necklace!
Do you have a favorite collection or piece of jewelry?
Like I said before, it’s all about my mood! Right now I am loving all my midi rings. I think they are so sexy and the best part is they can be worn on your pinky too! I am also getting in my last few weeks of summer by wearing my suede and pearl necklaces. And last but not least… our original design, the rings of love, never ever come off my hand. Many of our clients feel the same way, no matter how old your kids are when you look down on your finger and see your children’s names it is so meaningful!
I love the fact that you have a men’s collection. Did the hubby inspire that?!
NOOOOOOO my husband hates jewelry! He does not wear a piece of it (and I beg believe me) – not even his wedding ring! I had to do a men’s collection because I love basketball and have a few connections there. I have made a few pieces for Lebron James and his future wife Savannah, as well as cufflinks for Chris Bosh and his groomsmen. Our modern family monogram cuff links are an amazing gift for men.
How do you balance running a business with your kids’/family’s schedule?
My kids are older. My son Noah is 17 and my daughter Lucky ( yes that’s her real name) is 14, so it really isn’t a problem. I work full speed ahead until about 3pm, and then I am all theirs.
What role, if any, do your children/ family play in your business products? Are they your in-house product reviewers, always playing “dress-up” in mommy’s products? I know I would if I were still a little girl!
love2design Jewelry is definitely a family affair. My husband is my accountant which is no fun! My daughter loves to enter orders and is my test marketer. If it doesn’t break on her we are good to go! My son helps with the website. If you visit the website you will also see that my kids are modeling jewelry in a few photos.
Betcha didn’t know…
I actually hate wearing jewelry… LOL! It’s hard enough to get dressed in the morning let alone decide what jewelry to put on so I just keep things on for long periods of time. I have been wearing my diamond friendship bracelets for over a year without taking them off.
Right now I am loving that…
Our website is 99% done after 3 long years. It has been the most challenging thing I have had to do. I want to speak with clients and walk them thru the process but, I have now learned that not everyone wants to talk to me!
I can’t live without…
That’s a long list… Marshmallow, baking, my family and dog, and of course my friends which are the family we get to choose.
What ideas or goals are you planning to bring into your business this upcoming year? What’s next for you and love2design Jewelry?
It is never ending! I constantly have ideas. I still personal shop for a few clients as they have such limited time. I love finding fun different things for them. So we added a link to the site called “really great things”, which will have items from other companies that we are loving. I am also in the middle of designing a bag collection and a t-shirt line under the label “live in love” which will have original sayings and mantras.
What an amazing interview! Tell us what you think by commenting below!
Browse the entire love2design Jewelry collection today. But beware…. you will be inspired!
***Limited Time Only!!! From September 13th to October 1st, Lori & love2design Jewelry, is offering NY Moms World moms 10% off anything on our site! Just visit love2designjewelry.com and in the contact US Area field, say you’re a NY Moms World reader and we will honor the discount. Remember if you don’t see it, ask for it… We love2design!