The best jewelry is found in the most obscure places. Seeing someone don an adorable Hello Kitty Key necklace peaked my interest in the Foxy Originals brand. It’s a rapidly growing jewelry line based out of Toronto, has spawned the interests of celebrities worldwide, and the interest of fashionistas locally. Their six trendy jewelry themes in their line sparked my interest particularly because it appears to have high quality and great design come at an affordable price. My favourite items would have to be in the “Monsoon” line, with intricate designs and gorgeous colour.
The brand was started while Suzie Orol and Jen Kluger were still students at the University of Western Ontario. They’re inspired by their genuine passion for jewelry and their keen business sense. Check out the Q&A with them after the jump
- Why Foxy?
- Could you describe the Foxy girl in one word?
- What was the hardest part about launching your business?
- What was the support like in Toronto for your line?
- What was it like to go against the grain and start your own business (instead of doing accounting, after graduating)
- What’s hot now in the jewelry world?
- Which celebrity surprised you the most when you found out that they were wearing Foxy Originals? Who would you love to see wearing it?
- Where do you come up with the themes for each jewelry line?
- What is a typical day on the job like?
- What’s up next for Foxy?
We decided on the name ‘Foxy Originals’ when we were just 19 years old. We looked up the word ‘Fox’ in the dictionary and discovered that in the Machiavellian sense it meant crafty and clever. We added a ‘y’ and the rest is history!
It would definitely be challenging to describe the Foxy girl in one word because we have so many different kinds of ‘girls’. Some of their common attributes are that they are fashionable, sassy and love a great buy!
I think that the hardest part about starting our business was managing school with running a business on the side. We started our company in first year university and would make necklaces at night to fill store orders. On a positive note, it definitely helped relieve some of our school stress.
We had a very positive response to our line in Toronto. We were able to spread the word about our company by participating in retail festivals and concerts during our university summers. The most reputable show that we started out in was the spring One of A Kind Show. We ended up getting an amazing booth for our very first year and were on City TV’s breakfast television. That was a great start to our Toronto success and we have continued to build a very strong loyal customer base from that show.
We were lucky enough to have started our business while in university so we weren’t thinking long term, nor did we feel the pressure to succeed. For us, it was a hobby that just happened to be profitable!
It wasn’t until our third year of university that we thought that we might want to pursue this on a larger scale. We won the ACE CIBC Student Entrepreneur of the Year award and received a lot of press and support from this. Jen and I decided that if we were going to take our company to the next level and make it our full time job, we wanted our start date to be the same as our peers who were starting ‘real’ jobs. I studied in Prague for my final semester of university and then traveled around Europe for the summer. Jen was an arts and crafts director at a camp in Mailbu during the summer after graduation. We both decided that we would come back from our summers refreshed and ready to start full time on September 18th, 2002. From that day on we worked regular hours, set agendas and launched our first collection!
Big earrings have been hot and are continuing to stay hot. Our earrings and colourful reversible necklaces are our best selling pieces.
I think that we were most surprised to see Paris Hilton in multiple outfits and magazines wearing our Lilith earrings. She managed to wear them with a casual shirt and a fancy dress – clearly defining that you can wear Foxy for all occasions!
I would love to see Katherine Heigl in Foxy. She’s my new favourite!
Our themes definitely set the tone for each collection. Coming up with the theme is one of the most fun, creative and challenging parts of each collection. Once we’ve picked a theme, its fun to work around it and go wild. For instance, our most recent collection is called ‘Oceana’. We came out with a wacky, colorful fish necklace called ‘Fin’. We weren’t expecting it to be a top seller but we thought it would be a great way to introduce the collection. It’s always interesting to see how the market reacts to each piece and I am pleasantly surprised to see the amazing response to this necklace.
The best part of having our own business is that we call the decisions and we decide how we would like each of our days to run. There are definitely more challenging days than others, but I think we both enjoy the thrill of the unexpected. We both enjoy a variety of aspects included in business and design, and our company allows us to pursue a spectrum of job descriptions.
We’re working on going global with Foxy and expanding our market in Australia, the UK and parts of Europe. We’re lucky that jewelry speaks an international language!
> images courtesy of foxyoriginals.com