The WALK: What motivated you and your co-founder, Moran, to start your jewelry site? Was this something that you had always wanted to do, or did a certain internship or experience prompt you?
Rebecca Aronson: ADORNIA came about after I met my co-founder Mo last year in our first year of the Wharton MBA program. Before founding ADORNIA, I worked in the fashion industry as an Accessories Editor for Lucky Magazine and a Fashion Market Editor for Redbook Magazine. I spent a lot of time looking at, working with, and examining jewelry. Even before that, though, I had always had a love affair with jewelry and often could be found designing and making my own jewelry creations in my free time. Looking back now, it seems clear that my career would have ended up in jewelry, but it was not my original intention.
WALK: How would you describe ADORNIA’S jewelry collection?
RA: ADORNIA fuses the design direction of costume jewelry with the quality and materials of fine jewelry. Our goal is to reintroduce a new generation of women to the art of fine jewelry, a space that until now has been dominated by the bridal market and old jeweler families (often headed by men). We do design a portion of our pieces, but for the majority of our assortment, we source the best pieces from our jeweler connections around the world. Our site is split into two sections, Personal Pieces and Curated Collection. The personal pieces are the foundation of your jewelry wardrobe – the pieces every woman should own. Our curated collections bring our pieces to life through an editorial lens. When putting together a new collection, we start with a spark of inspiration. This can come from anywhere to our travels, to the runway, to our everyday experiences. We actually use our Pinterest page as a place to test out collection concepts and organize our inspiration. If you follow our Pinterest you can actually watch as our collections develop. Once we conceive of the collection concept we curate and source our pieces based on the theme and bring everything together in a culminating photo shoot. ADORNIA is more than a jewelry site; we are a fashion site putting jewelry into an aspirational fashion context.
WALK: Why fine jewelry as opposed to other types?
RA: We both noticed a lack of options for women to purchase fine jewelry online, and upon further market examination we realized that the problem extended beyond availability. There was a dearth of high quality jewelry with a high level of design. We fell upon the opportunity to do something fresh and different in the fine jewelry space and decided to take advantage of it.
WALK: How has your background influenced the way you approached starting a fine jewelry site?
RA: There are many different paths to a fantastic end product and I think that given our backgrounds in both fashion and business Mo and I bring a unique perspective to our business approach. In fashion you often find one creative head driving the aesthetic side of the brand, which is usually completely separate from the business side of the company. Coming to Wharton, I wanted to find a job in which I could combine my creative side with my business skills. Those jobs are few and far between, and it quickly became clear to me that to get the type of job I wanted, I would have to create it. Mo and I are both able to move back and forth between creative and analytical [approaches], which I think actually gives us a competitive edge. Also, my editorial background also allowed us to showcase our jewelry in a fresh venue, like through our blog, United States of ADORNIA.
WALK: What are the hardest challenges you’ve met as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome them?
RA: Both my co-founder Mo and I came from fashion and retail backgrounds and, as such, were uniquely positioned to enter the retail entrepreneurship space with a lot of knowledge and our eyes wide open. We started ADORNIA fully versed with industry expertise. The space in which we were less knowledgeable was certainly the legal and financing aspects of founding a company. For this task we found our Wharton connections to be quite helpful. We used both the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club and the Wharton network to find advisors and legal council. Once we passed this institutional hurdle, our past experience and credentials allowed us to hit the ground running and start to build the company in a fairly short time period over the summer.
– Daniella Sakhai
Images courtesy of Adornia