Known for its delicate gold pieces meant to be worn in multiples, Laguna Beach-based jewelry line Gorjana (Gor-ee-ahna) is the brainchild of husband and wife, Jason and Gorjana Reidel. They started as e-tailers in 2004, selling their own line of jewelry, menswear, and women’s accessories, which won them early fans. But today it’s all about the jewelry, and now their chic, affordable pieces also are sold by other e-tailers and in stores, including select Bloomingdale’s. The strategy is working. Last year, Nordstrom began selling the collection nationwide.
How’d you get started?
Gorjana: I majored in marketing and refused to get a “real job” when I graduated college. Jewelry-making was not something I would have picked, but I enjoyed wire-wrapping and stringing the beads. I started thinking, “I’m going to try making this a business.” Jason, who’s such an amazing salesperson, said, “I’ll make the sales calls for you.” It was something we did while we figured out what to do next.
How did the line’s aesthetic come about?
Gorjana: There was always a very simplistic aspect to it. Once we met someone who could take my sketches and produce them, I started designing, like literally with a Sharpie. My first was a circle on a chain. I laugh to this day because the designs are like something that comes to me. It seems so mundane, but there are a lot of little details in it.
How’d you hook up with Nordstrom?
Jason: Last year, we decided to reach out to them. The timing was impeccable because they placed us in the main jewelry department, which seemed like the right fit. Had we gone to them earlier, when we were doing leather wrap bracelets, they would have put us in a department that emphasized trends over brands.
How is Gorjana different from other delicate jewelry?
Gorjana: I can make jewelry at an approachable price for most people, which at the same time doesn’t seem cheap. That’s really rewarding.
Jason: The question is, “Are you wearing your jewelry or is your jewelry wearing you?” The aesthetic and look of the jewelry, and the mix of the pieces, are such that anyone can adapt them to their own style. You may be wearing Gorjana, she may be wearing Gorjana, but you’re all wearing it your own way instead of looking like clones of each other.
What’s the jewelry made of?
Gorjana: It’s gold-plated. There are some silver pieces, too. We also added diamonds for our 10-year anniversary last year. But lately I’ve been more enthralled with stones, you know, the energetic quality of them. So I think at some point in the future I’ll incorporate them into the line in a more classic way.
Is your personal style as pared down as your jewelry? Who do you wear?
Jason and Gorjana: (simultaneously) Rag and Bone.
Gorjana: I’m a little overboard on it now—everything is Rag and Bone. It’s simple and comfortable. For upscale, I like Isabel Marant.
Jason: Rag and Bone is similar to what we do; it’s classic and you can wear it different ways— with a tie, or as a suit. It gives you variety. So does Vince. There’s also a menswear brand I wear a lot called Save Khaki.
Is it tough working together?
Gorjana: We’ve done it long enough now that we’re in a good groove.
Who does what?
Jason: Gorjana focuses more on the branding …
Gorjana: Creative branding, designing. We have a design team. I still approve everything, and we come up with the concepts together.
Jason: I’m big picture. I like to look at it and say, “OK, this is where we’re gonna go and this is how we’re gonna do it.” I call myself the Chief Energy Officer because I’m always making sure everything’s positive.
What are your personal go-to pieces?
Gorjana: The earrings I’m wearing right now (the Crescent Bar Ear Jackets, $50). Also this Ring-To-Wrist bracelet ($74 to $90) and the Taner Bar necklace ($60 to $70).
Who wears your jewelry?
Gorjana: I realized after doing appearances at stores—and it’s so awesome — that there isn’t a certain type of woman. I think in my mind I would picture someone my age, but it’s really anyone from their 20s to late 50s or 60s.
Is there a boutique in your future?
Gorjana: This year we’re all about getting really good at what we’re doing.
Jason: When we feel we’re hitting the ceiling in terms of brand awareness and distribution, of course we’ll consider it.