The Jewelry Line Founder Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Written By: Charlotte Farrell
Photography Provided By: gorjana
Creative Director and Founder of beloved jewelry line gorjana, Gorjana Reidel—also a Laguna Beach native—has seen a ton of growth since the brand’s conception in 2004, with the help of her husband, Jason Griffin Reidel. She followed a creative impulse, and since then has gone from having one store to now three in Orange County this year and has employed over 100 people nationwide, most of them female and based in Laguna Canyon artists’ studios. The now multi-million dollar business is still owned and operated by Gorjana and Jason 14 years later. Talk about relationship goals.
The husband and wife duo put their heads together to build the company from the ground up. They hit the ground running, samples in tow, driving 50,000 miles collectively to sell pieces and spread awareness. Nothing but relentless drive resulted in huge success, and gorjana jewelry can now be found in over 1,000 retailers nationwide. The company is also paying it forward, co-hosting fundraising events in stores with locale charities and locals, and donating a percentage of proceeds to the charity of choice, and also donating jewelry for auctions at local benefits and galas all over the USA. Motivated by the idea that jewelry should be inclusive, versatile and multi-generational, Gorjana designs with ease in mind, creating delicate pieces that stand the test of time but also follow modern trends.
Q&A With Gorjana Reidel
Q: What inspired you to make jewelry in the first place? Did it begin as a hobby or did you start with the intention of creating a global brand?
Gorjana Reidel: I grew up in a DIY family and was always creating and playing with my hands. I think that’s why jewelry felt so natural to me; I could make it myself. I have always believed that if I want something I can create it. I never set out to start a jewelry line, let alone a company. I got my degree in Marketing at ASU, but when I started interviewing, I quickly realized I could not be happy if I wasn’t creating. Jewelry sort of just fell into my path. I got my first job at Neiman Marcus as an assistant manager in their jewelry department and fell in love with it.
Q: What roadblocks did you hit in the beginning, and how did you overcome those challenges?
GR: When we started the business we knew nothing about how it worked. I remember one of the first stores we called upon asked Jason about Market, line sheets and a showroom. He got off the phone and said, ‘we need to figure out what those things are.’ Not knowing what we were doing and just figuring things out along the way has always been our challenge but it has also been the best part of what we do. It allows us to explore and challenge ourselves and to also do it our way.
Q: The brand has grown so much over the years. What are some of the strategies you have used to come so far, and what motivates you to continue?
GR: We learned early on that to have a sustainable brand it’s not about hitting a home run its about all the little hits along the way. We look for the little wins and to keep pushing ourselves to improve and keep growing. What motivates us is hearing and seeing how much our customers love our jewelry, and also experiencing the amazing company we have built every day.
Q: As a female business owner, what do you think is the most important rule when it comes to achieving success in such a competitive market?
GR: I think being adaptive and open to change is the number one rule for success. You have to be open to what paths are unfolding in front of you and not setting expectations that things have to be a certain way.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing women in the world of business, and how do you think they can overcome them?
GR: I think one of the biggest challenges is actually thinking that being a woman in business is a weakness. I think if you have confidence in yourself and just accept everyone as equals it can get you where you want to go. Set your goals and push through, believe it and it will happen.
Q: What is your advice to anyone, male or female, who might be skeptical about starting their own business?
GR: Be patient and believe in yourself and what you are doing. If you don’t believe in it no one else will.
Q: What’s next for gorjana? Any new projects we can look forward to?
GR: We are continuing to expand and build more stores in other markets. We have had such a tremendous response to the stores we already have and being able to continue spread the gorjana love is super rewarding.
Q: Finally, what inspires your designs?
GR: I wanted to create a jewelry collection that was fun and super accessible. I wanted to be able to wear multiple pieces so you could express your own sense of style by layering and playing with it and not be limited to just that one fine necklace. It’s also really important for me that the pieces have a timeless yet modern aesthetic so you can wear them for years to come and still love them as much then as you did the day you bought them. Some of the pieces are also very personal to me. Our fall line is inspired by my trip this past summer back to Serbia, where I grew up. I can’t wait to share it.
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