In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we sat down to ask our founder Anzie Stein about where she started, who inspires her, and what she’s looking forward to this spring.
How did you get started in the jewelry industry?
The company started 22 years ago when my husband, Barry was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. He thankfully survived and today devotes his time to helping cancer patients. He is the president of Colorectal Cancer Canada and continues to practice law as well.
At the time that he was diagnosed, we decided it was time that I continue my career as an artist. We didn’t know if he would survive and we had always been creative people, wanting to start a company of our own. We thought, what better time than now!
We turned every medical trip into a healing trip where we would source inspiration, gemstones, and take jewelry design courses. It was also exciting to bring our children along because it opened our eyes to the fashion world in New York and Los Angeles, which is where all of our incredible doctors were based.
Channeling our creativity was a great way to distract from what we were really there for and it gave us something positive to think about. We walked the streets of New York and Los Angeles, and we came across beautiful stores with outstanding jewelry that we didn’t have at home in Montreal. It was therapeutic for us to hand pick gemstones and create beautiful pieces with them.
The Lifesaver bracelet was one of the first pieces we created in order to support colon cancer awareness. Barry designed the multicolored bracelet and we started to sell it across Canada. That was the starting point of our company.
What is it like working with family, with your children?
I love working with my family! We get to spend time together traveling and learning and we bounce ideas off of each other. It was easy for us to start a company together because we innately trusted each other and could be honest and open about everything - our excitement, our worries, our plans to move forward.
There are times when we have differences of opinion, but that’s normal. I've learned a lot from my children. I couldn’t have done this on my own, that’s for sure. When we started the company, my daughter Jaclyn was designing and giving creative direction and continues to be our Creative Director in New York. Joanna began with sales and marketing and is now VP of Sales. My son Robert developed our website and continues to develop our IT. Their natural knack for design and working with clients took our company to another level. We each developed different skills that complimented each other.
What are your favorite pieces for spring?
I have a lot of favorites! I love layering. I’m really excited with the new colorful beaded necklaces we’re coming out with. I have a lot of delicate pieces that I wear together to create a bolder look.
I love pairing chrysoprase (vibrant green) and turquoise together. I love the Fleur de Lis bangle. It’s unique with floral moonstone design and is easy to put on myself.
I love personalized pieces. I have a Monogram medallion with diamonds around the pendant hanging from a thick rectangular long chain. We personalize it with names and initials. I also have a “Bubby” hanging charm on a shorter cable chain with a classic turquoise mini bezel charm.
What do you think goes into a perfect stack?
I like unexpected color combinations with contrasting colors. For example I would pair chrysoprase and turquoise with purple amethyst or orange cornelian. If a client is personalizing a bracelet or necklace stack, we start with one favorite color and then go from there. I also like adding texture with different sized and shaped beads, mixing rondelles and round stones.
Is there a collection you gravitate to the most?
I love the Aztec celestial collection. I'm currently wearing the pavé starburst studs in two sizes. I have a larger star with diamonds and turquoise and a smaller diamond pavé starburst as a second piercing. I like switching up my ear stack and creating asymmetric looks on either side.
It’s important to be comfortable when wearing jewelry, and we design with “everyday luxury'' in mind. I love bright colors and colorful pieces put me in a good mood.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Something that I’ve learned first hand is that if I fail at something, I will work at it to do better in the future. I don’t expect to succeed right away. Failure eventually brings success.
My brother taught me my work ethic. I grew up seeing how creative he was and how hard he worked. When I was 14 I worked for him, I finished the job that he gave me to do and sat down and waited. He asked me what I was doing and told me to never sit down because there’s always something to do. I’ve always found that to be true in life, there’s always something to do and I enjoy being busy.
Who inspired you the most growing up?
I’m very lucky to have had a lot of inspiration from my family. My mother was an extremely creative person. She was always baking, knitting and creating something. My brother worked extremely hard and built his own business in the art and framing world. I worked with him for 12 years before I started my own business. My sister inspired me to be able to stand on my own two feet and my father was also in the fashion business. I’m lucky to have been surrounded by creative and hard working people and I hope to inspire the next generation as much as my family inspired me.