It all started as a love match similar to Daphne and Simon of Bridgerton fame. Lana Bramlette, Founder of Lana Jewelry, took a chance when she agreed to meet her future husband on a blind date. The day, January 16, 2002, is now forever etched in her memory as sparks flew and just ten days later the pair were happily ever after living together.
With their romance rapidly progressing, only one month from their initial meeting, Bramlette created a custom made 14kt gold nameplate “Rob” necklace, her live-in love’s name, as her first valentine’s gift. It was intended as a silent, but very loud statement, to be observed by the outside world, that Bramlette was indeed “taken” even if the duo were not yet ready to be engaged.
The magic continued. There wasn’t a place Bramlette couldn’t go without being stopped and asked about her necklace. This included taking her first order in an elevator from a woman holding her dog “Tootsie” in her arms who “wanted her beloved dog’s name on one.”
Bramlette immediately joined forces with her future husband, as a founding business partner, to create their first commissioned piece. At that moment, nineteen years ago, the Lana Jewelry business was instantly born.
Suddenly emboldened by her success, Bramlette had a sample set of 10 bespoke pieces made. The following week the designer spontaneously winged her way to California to present her capsule collection to renowned luxury retailer Fred Segal. There was just one catch. Bramlette had no appointment and took a calculated chance by just walking into the store to see “if anyone would be there that I could show the line to that day.”
It was kismet. The store buyer was coincidentally walking past the jewelry section when the designer’s work caught her eye resulitng in an order placed the following day.
A few weeks later the line was unveiled in Fred Segal and as luck what have it Cameron Diaz came in and bought a few pieces. Diaz wore one of the looks the next day to the premier of Charlie’s Angels. The moment generated an incredible tipping point for the newly founded brand as Diaz was photographed everywhere in her Lana Jewelry earrings. Retailers were suddenly interested. Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom came calling with Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman soon following in their footsteps.
Today Lana Jewelry is a multimillion-dollar business based in Chicago, a city not necessarily known for fashion. Hailed as the first attainable fine jewelry line for “cool girls earning their own paychecks,” the brand was the first to offer women the opportunity to buy fine jewelry for themselves and is embraced by celebrities icons like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez (who rocked bespoke Lana Jewelry Diamond hoop earrings after her recent Super Bowl performance), Faith Hill, Rihanna, Gigi and Bella Hadid, along with countless other celebrities who rock her signature hoops.
In the midst of a challenging year for retailers everywhere, the brand saw over 50% growth in their own and their retailer’s eCommerce business as the demand and appetite for Lana Jewelry shifted online. Much of the impetus was fueled by Mother’s Day this past May and during the recent holiday season. The majority of the business was driven by a strong gifting trend by significant others with last Mother’s Day as Lana Jewelry’s biggest sales month ever. Bramlette observed that just three months into the pandemic, “ husbands and kids knew that their mom’s needed something special. They were (and are) holding the family together, and nothing says we love you like gold and diamonds.”
The trend is holding for this Valentine’s Day with Bramlette observing “a lot of people wanting, more than ever this year, to make their significant other feel better, even more loved, by letting them know they are special in a bigger way.”
Conversely, Bramlette has also noticed, “Our female clients are also feeling less guilty about buying gold and diamonds because they love the brand and see it as an investment. They are not traveling as much and nothing makes you feel as good as a pair of beautiful diamond hoops or a personalized necklace. Our custom and personalized part of the business is on fire because again everyone wants a connection to their purchase. They want it to be meaningful now more then ever.”
Bramlette shared the top five jewelry trends she is predicting women will be embracing in a big way in 2021.
1.Adorning The Whole Ear With Hoops And Ear Cuffs In Medium To Small Sizing. Bramlette is known for her for “BIG” hoops but emphasizes, “comfort is key right now because we are all still in masks.” The designer even recently created an optical illusion earring, called the “Reign Hoop” that looks like there are multiple hoops in your ear, but really, it’s in one hole.
2. Personalization And Custom Jewelry. Powerful messaging that speaks to your personality is in demand in a major way along with the continued layering trend still going strong. Bramlette likes “to wear a big lion pendant to remind myself I have a heart of a lion advising zodiacs, initials, and scripts in different languages are the key to being even more personal right now. Even wearing your name in a hoop earning or stud although it’s not a new trend, is a classic that never goes out of style.”
3. Hand Lariats. Since we are not going anywhere just yet, most of us are staring down at our computers and typing. Bramlette suggests,“Why not look at something pretty on your hands, adding two on one hand is such a cool and fresh look.”
4. Friendship Bracelets. Bramlette shared that “Chain bracelets that allow women to add an initial, a cross, or a diamond that you can wear and also give to your best friend, sister, or mom are trending. They’re nostalgic and new at the same time. We are all searching for that ‘comfort’, when we are missing one another. Jewelry gives you that feeling.”
5. Anklets. At some point the sun will come out, and women will want to get a pedicure and click their heels. To turn up the heat, anklets are like no other, and a decadent and fun way to adorn yourself as the ultimate new way to rock jewelry in high style. They are suddenly popping up all over Instragram as well.
Finally, Bramlette shared that although her business has had a positive year it’s also been incredibly important to have love and support to have a successful business acknowledging,that my then boyfriend, who is now my husband pushed me to create Lana Jewelry.”
“We have been a business that came through the recession in 2008 and we are becoming stronger after withstanding this pandemic. I can tell you ‘Love’ has been the constant factor in its success.”
Bramlette’s advice to anyone starting a business is to “take a chance but have a purpose. There is always a magic that happens when something is a success. If it is the right time, mixed in with a lot of love for what you want to do along with a great idea, that turns into that magic product or service that propels the business. For me, it aligned in 2002 when I took a chance on a blind date that turned into my life purpose of being a designer, a wife and now a mom of a ten year old girl who is now designing our kids line.” It turns out that passion just may be the ultimate key to success and sustaining a successful business for almost two decades. What’s yours?