Adina Reyter, the mama behind one of Duchess of Sussex Megan Markle’s favorite jewelry brands, has always had an entrepreneurial inclination. She shared her story with us, along with a few tips on how to layer jewelry and a few pearls of motherhood wisdom.
Have you always had entrepreneurial spirit?
Adina: I always knew that I would have my own creative business. My great grandmother started a company called LeRoy Knitwear. It was a huge success in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, so that entrepreneurial spirit is in my blood. I grew up with my entire family working in the business, so I really had this incredible opportunity to see everything firsthand, from shipping and receiving to design and sales. Being part of that during my formative years was the best education. You can learn a lot from working downtown on the weekends at a crazy sample sale—my hands were tired and covered in ink by the end of the day, but I can sell, pack and ship faster than anyone 🙂
Tell us about how you got started. What inspired you? How did you make it work before turning a profit?
Adina: I always knew that I wanted to start my own business. However, I also had to support myself immediately after college. I started working in high tech sales literally two week after graduation working with fortune 500 companies. While this was not the most creative opportunity, it did teach me the importance of professionalism. After this job, I moved onto advertising. During my time in account management, I read an article on CNN.com about a successful female jewelry designer and I thought to myself—I can do this. That same night I enrolled in a metalsmith workshop and hammered my first necklace a few days later. One of the first necklaces I made was a very delicate, hammered circle—I could not walk down the street without someone stopping me to find out where to buy it. I quickly created an entire collection around that one piece, and began selling to friends and family while still working in advertising by day and hammering jewelry by night (my neighbors hated me!). I soon had about a dozen freelancers working for me, and my coworkers became my informal marketing team by wearing my pieces around town. I also sold to a handful of boutiques in Los Angeles and New York. My business really took off quickly, but I had to save, save, save before quitting my job—which I did just a year later.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Adina: I have always found inspiration by the women surrounding me. I design for an active woman, and although my designs are classic and feminine, they are strong and are meant to be worn and enjoyed daily. They should work with you throughout your day. Many times the simplest designs and cleanest lines are the most difficult to produce and produce well. I am truly inspired by this process—the process of taking something ornate or complex and creating something beautiful and streamlined that can be worn for years to come.
What’s your best advice for layering jewelry?
Adina: The best way to layer jewelry is to wear what you love and wear it confidently. I personally like to layer 2 necklaces at a time but love stacking bracelets, rings and earrings and ear cuffs. Earrings are really having a moment—I love the look of a well layered ear. I also love when earrings are mismatched, but still speak to each other. I strive to always design in a way that every piece from every collection still works together. There are so many choices out there right now for absolutely everything! At Adina Reyter we really try to make your jewelry decisions easy so that whatever you pair together will layer well. That is the objective.
What kind of feeling do you hope to create for your customers?
Adina: With every single piece that I design and produce, I hope to create a feeling of happiness. Happiness should come from not only from our designs and strength of our product and price point, but also the entire customer experience. I really pride myself on running an ethical business—one where we feel passionate about every piece of jewelry we make, and also one where we create a corporate culture of happiness in the way we approach our work and the way we treat each other and our customers. Fine jewelry at accessible price points, that women should wear and enjoy on a daily basis, day-to-night, is something that we believe should make everyone smile. We work very hard to make sure that there is joy at every step in this process. I feel very proud to have been in business for 18 years, and am thrilled that some of my very first designs are still some of our best sellers today.
The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle is known to be a fan of yours. What’s it like to receive that kind of attention as a brand?
Adina: Life changing! I have always been a fan of the Royal family but when Meghan Markle entered the picture, they somehow seemed more relatable. Meghan personally purchased one of our pieces—and then three! Collectively she has worn them 11 times which is exactly how I designed them. Everyday pieces that you don’t have to take off and can go from casual to cocktail. Now everyone can feel “royal”.
How do ethical manufacturing and sourcing practices play into your business decisions?
Adina: Every single piece of Adina Reyter jewelry is ethically manufactured and sourced. We take great pride in ensuring that each component of our jewelry is not only made of the finest materials, but is also sourced from factories with the best practices. We have decade long relationships with all of our suppliers and manufacturers. These relationships allow us to really understand our sourcing on a deep level, and be involved in it. Every single one of the factories that we work with must go through a regular audit from an objective third party to ensure the highest work and manufacturing standards are met. All of the suppliers and factories that we work with are part of the Responsible Jewelry Council, which ensures specific ethical criteria are always met. We are currently working to make sure that our customers also understand this process with an entire section on our website dedicated to our transparent manufacturing and sourcing process.
Has motherhood impacted your approach to your work life?
Adina: Women are inherently multitaskers. We are constantly working hard to make sure everyone has what they need. Motherhood has forced to multitask at an even more insane level. It has also pushed me to hire really smart, creative, motivated women to help grow the business. I want to be there for my children, especially while they are young and want me there. I also want to be there for my business and give it everything I have. In order to do both successfully, I can’t do it alone. Most days are completely crazy—balancing my three kids’ schedules with a busy workload. I definitely get overwhelmed at times, but I have immense gratitude for my family and my business. That is what keeps me motivated. That and a glass of wine 🙂
How do your kids inspire you?
Adina: I hope that my husband and I are inspirations for our children. This is what we strive to do on a daily basis. My children inspire me to be a good person so that I can be a good example to them and to the worl. And they inspire me to create fine jewelry that can work from school drop offs, to playdates at the park, to Sunday soccer games, to date night.
3 pearls of wisdom
Don't be afraid to let your kids work things out on their own. It's ok for them to fail. That's how they learn to be responsible and capable people.
Speak respectfully and honestly to your children. They have lots of friends. Be their parent and their guide.
Give your children your time. 20 minutes of engaged, uninterrupted time is a gift for you and your kids. Whether it's coloring, playing a game, talking, having ice cream, or doing a face mask, those moments build and strengthen your relationship in a really positive and engaging way.