Aspiring Women Who Inspire – Gorjana
- Nov 04, 2019
- By Sara Myers
This month’s segment of Aspiring Women Who Inspire features a female business owner balancing it all – an eponymous and quintessentially Californian jewelry line, motherhood, marriage, and local and global philanthropic endeavors.
In just 15 years, her company has amassed over 100 employees, with placement in over 1,000 department and specialty retail stores across the U.S., and boasts 13 brick-and-mortar locations throughout California, New York, and Arizona. Founded on the belief that jewelry should be versatile, timeless, and effortlessly modern, the line quickly became a favorite amongst celebrities like Jessica Alba, Olivia Wilde, and Jospehine Skriver.
We’re so excited to welcome Gorjana of gorjana jewelry to the BLND blog!
I am a mom to two kids, my son is 12 and my daughter is 9. I am a wife, we are approaching our 19 year anniversary. And the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of gorjana jewelry which my husband and I started 15 years ago. I have lived in 3 countries Yugoslavia, Canada and the U.S. I currently live in Laguna Beach which is where our company is based as well.
How did you get into the jewelry industry? Was this always where you saw yourself?
I like to think that jewelry called me. It’s not something I ever thought about doing. I graduated college with a business degree and realized pretty quickly that although I loved business I needed a creative outlet as well. I got my first job after graduating as an assistant department manager in jewelry at Neiman Marcus. That is where my love for jewelry began and eventually I got to a point where I started designing my own pieces. I learned the fine jewelry business and I was 22 and wanted to create jewelry that had a more approachable price point but was every bit just as beautiful.
From your experience, what are the three key factors or strategies for starting and establishing a brand?
Persistence, Patience and Authenticity. It is a grind having your own business and starting out, there are way more days that are harder than easy and you have to have grit and persistence to stick through it. It is a long path so don’t look for the quick wins. Be patient and make good long term decisions. Be authentic to what drives you and what you believe in. Keep your voice and don’t bend and twist based on what you think you should be.
What’s an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career so far?
Opening our own stores. I love that we get to share our brand directly with our customers as well as get the direct feedback of what they love. It has been so rewarding to be able to interact directly with them and get to know them.
What’s a failure that turned into a blessing?
Creating other product categories besides jewelry is something we explored a few years ago. When you are in a creative space it is so easy to get inspired by other pieces and want to create them yourself. Although those pieces were good and fun to make we really needed to stay focused on what were good at and that was jewelry. That is what our customers want from us and love.
Wake up and check my emails on my phone to make sure there is nothing urgent. Then wake the kids, get them ready for school, make breakfast, make their lunches and either my husband or I take them to school. Then depending on the day I either just head straight to the studio, I won’t call it an office:), or I will grab a workout before I go in.
Who’s an aspiring woman who inspires you?
I have really been into Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability lately. I really admire the courage she has to talk about the uncomfortable and in the process make it comfortable.
What’s one piece of career advice you’d give a young person looking to follow in your footsteps?
Take your time and make sure you really love what you are doing and find your “why”. No matter what it is you are doing it has its challenges. You need to really love what you do and be fulfilled by it otherwise you won’t make it through the challenging times.
When you’re not killin’ it as a major boss babe, what can we find you doing?
Well since I never feel like I am killing it because I feel like I could always be doing more lol, you can find me either with my kids or taking some time to myself.
Three words to describe you?
Loyal, Fun, Creative
Three products you can’t live without?
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream, Lalicious Sugar Body Scrub, Ritual vitamins
Trendy or classic?
More towards classic. I love my timeless pieces but I also love of the moment fun items too.
#1 place on your travel bucket list?
Go to drink order?
Where can people follow you?
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