If you aren’t already wearing EKLEXIC jewelry you will be soon. I got the chance to chat with the brand’s founder, Alexis Gordon Kelly, about her biggest challenges in creating her own line from scratch and where she draws all her design inspiration from.
And make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter to win one of three bracelet cuffs from EKLEXIC :)
What motivated you to start EKLEXIC?
I initially left quite a successful sales position to begin a telecom consulting company. While building the company from scratch, I could not indulge my craving for jewelry, like before. One day, while roaming the floors of Henri Bendel, I felt frustrated I couldn’t afford my favorite labels. It was then the idea to create jewelry came to mind. Creating my own pieces came naturally, despite the lack of formal training. I taught myself in the moment and perfected each piece through trial and error.
The day I stepped out wearing one of my necklaces, I couldn’t walk half a block without hearing “I love your necklace,” “Who are you wearing?,” “Where did you buy it?” and “Where can I get it?” As the collection grew, I got used to positive feedback and realized the impact the designs had on people was not an accident. So, I decided to pair my creativity with business approach, and EKLEXIC was born.
What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome it?
Cost of the jewelry. My initial limitation was the overall cost of the jewelry. My retail prices were too high for the time (people with the disposable income were doing less shopping overall) and EKLEXIC’s lack of brand recognition was a huge hurdle as I was just launching my first collections. I was also limited in overall press, as they were looking for jewelry retailing at prices ranging $50-$150. My median retail was price $250. While starting small I didn’t have the buying power to drive the cost down with manufactures so I had to focus on how the pieces were made (hand made by me in the U.S.!) to sell them. People seemed excited to purchase however I knew I couldn’t sell to the majority of the population, here in the U.S. or internationally with the overall high retail prices. I initially worked with china to drive down my costs; however, I found that the quality wasn’t nearly as good and all orders seemed to include many errors that wasted a ton of money. Also working with China meant working nights as their time difference was significant from ours here in New York and California. It was hard to work all day and all night for long periods of time. The materials here in the states were dramatically better, in terms of quality, so I decided to work day and night to find a manufacturer that would work with my initial low quantity needs and keep costs associated down. Finally after more than two years I found one- that’s when the jewelry started to take off! I am proud to say that the work I put in to negotiate pricing down here in the U.S. really paid off. I now offer amazing quality jewelry made right here in the states!
What kind of designs are coming up? Anything new and exciting?
I’m excited about launching our earring line! Thus far we have stuck to necklaces, chokers, bracelets, cuffs, bangles and rings. However, I couldn’t let EKLEXIC miss out on this trendsetting, earring movement! Have you seen whats out there? It’s amazing- the kind of designs people are wearing today. It’s truly an exciting time for jewelry, creativity and designers! Our line will include a series of hoop earrings, and geometric shapes to start. We’ll have interlocking light weight pieces as well. Stay tuned!
Where do you get your design inspiration?
I get most inspiration from looking at different cultures of people, personal travel, architecture, every day hardware items you would find home depot, nature etc. I look at something and think would this look good on my neck? Arm? Hand? I’m always looking to innovate!
What advice do you have for other designers who want to start their own jewelry line?
Stick with it. Don’t let anyone discourage you if this is truly your path. Work hard but also work smart. Maximize your time and your cash. Get as much exposure as possible. Keep in mind that with most startup businesses you won’t see profits for three years. Budget for that. And most importantly love what you do! If you don’t pour your heart into every piece it will be difficult to get through the lows. Look longterm always.
Enter my giveaway with EKLEXIC!
Three winners will each win one EKLEXIC cuff bracelet of their choice :)
You can view the options HERE.