While there are many aspiring jewelry designers in the industry – few get to grace the pages of Lucky, In Style, Elle, Allure, and People Magazine (to name a few). Gemma Redux has become a sought-after brand rather quickly and continues to set the bar with innovative designs and lux appeal. Several years ago, Rachel Dooley was on the fast track to set the bar in a very different venue – Corporate Law. Lo and behold, it’s amazing what inspiration and the creative use of one’s free time can accomplish. Dooley’s access to Gossip Girl stylists quickly made Gemma Redux a ‘Must Have.’
Every successful entrepreneur experiences challenges of some sort that will either make or break their business. Rachel proves that sticking with your guns and an uncompromising vision for your brand’s equity will take you to amazing places. These day’s Gemma Redux is gracing the necklines of Hollywood’s A-List and this show-stopping brand doesn’t have plans to slow down anytime soon. Rachel’s savvy start-up success resonates with one key word among entrepreneurs – be fearless!
Company: Gemma Redux
Founder/Age: Rachel Dooley, 30
Location: New York, New York
Start-up Year: 2007
Start-up Costs: I was working as a Corporate Attorney in NYC so I had a decent income from that to put toward the business. Overall throughout 2+ yrs of start-up, probably $80K.
How I Got Started: I started messing with jewelry components as a way to unwind while studying for the NY Bar Exam in the summer of 2005. I went on to practice for about 2 1/2 years (I passed the Bar) while making the Gemma Redux collection at night. I got in with the Gossip Girl stylists at the very beginning, the put some pieces on Blake Lively on the show, and the business took off from there.
Best Success Story: In one week, Blake Lively, Cameron Diaz, and Jessica Alba all wore Gemma Redux pieces out for events – it was a good week.
Start-up Challenge: When I started, everyone questioned my prices. I was making everything myself, designing, marketing, and doing it all. I was working on creating a brand which is very expensive. It was so frustrating to hear my showroom rep at the time tell me I should have things made in China to bring the price down, which is so entirely against what Gemma Redux is. Then one of the smartest women I know in business (who owns two at the moment) gave me this advice: “There is a customer who will happily pay your prices for handmade, fashion-forward, quality pieces…. You just have to find her.” It opened my eyes and helped me focus my business efforts, and business has boomed since then.
#1 Tip for Newbies: Be fearless! In most cases, the worst thing that could happen is you will fail and then you’ll pick yourself back up and start a new venture, having learned something along the way. I try to remember that I’ll only live once, taking risks keeps things interesting.
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