5 Burning Questions With Rachel Dooley

I can't even remember when Rachel Dooley's line of jewelry, Gemma Redux, came into my consciousness. Perhaps it was noticing yet another amazing necklace on TV show Gossip Girl, or glimpsing some fantastic stone creation in Lucky magazine. Wherever and whenever it was, the fact that I can't put my finger on it tells me how instantly Rachel's designs made an impression on my mind. Her designs are dramatic, fantastic, glamorous and edgy. Often made with materials maybe not thought to be chic, Rachel's Gemma Redux line of jewelry flips the definitions of high fashion on its head. 

Even while riding the wave of her rapidly growing businesses, Rachel is involved with small business groups -- she even helped me submit Peggy Li Creations jewelry to Gossip Girl! -- and took the time to answer my own 5 Burning Questions about her experiences.

Q: Your Gemma Redux designs are very bold and graphic. Do you start with an inspiration, a sketch, the materials, or...?  
It’s a bit of everything.  I sketch but its typically just to jot down ideas that are in my head. The actual pieces are designed as I’m working with the materials.  I aim to celebrate the natural beauty and imperfections in the stones and metals i use ~ many times a pieces is made and unmade dozens of times before I settle on the final design. 

Q: Like me, you come from a non-fashion background (law!). What do you think was the one key resource or piece of advice you needed to really kick-start your jewelry business?  
Always follow your own inspiration and be true to your voice.  When i started out,  i had some people telling me to change certain things to make it cheaper or easier to understand, but with this advice from a good friend i focused on working harder to explain my brand, aesthetic and vision to buyers and customers and the brand became stronger and more focused because of it.

Q: What has been the best/worst part of immersing yourself into the world of fashion? 
Bonding with other designers, especially my friends in the CDFA fashion incubator.  Fashion is a tough business sometimes and its great to have people who know what you are going through help you through the tough times, and the celebrate with you when fashion week is over! 

Q: Please share a moment when you said "no" that made a big difference in your business? 
More and more, we are deciding not to work with boutiques that are not good partners to work with, and we are much more selective with the stores we partner with these days.  It’s always tough to turn down business, but saying no to someone who doesn’t understand your brand and know how to put your best foot forward for you is important to keeping your brand message strong.

Q: Growing a business can be a real challenge. What has been the biggest challenge to the growth of Gemma Redux?  
Balance.  As a designer, you want to be creating always.   But i love my friends and family too, and i have learned to make time for them and not reschedule :) 

Thank you, Rachel! I look forward to following your business to see where you grow from here.