Our Black Label was designed to make a statement—a personal statement about the realities of growing up. I thought I would take this opportunity to share my own story of growth over these past few years in hopes of connecting with others that might be on the same journey.
I started Vrai & Oro with an abstract idea. I was in my 20’s and curious about everything. I felt connected to a shift that was happening around me in Los Angeles—the change wasn’t anything tangible, it was just an energy that I felt. Traditions were being questioned and the old, outdated ways of doing things were being disrupted.
At the time, the world saw me as a young, naive girl, which set me on a mission to prove it wrong. I wanted to be taken seriously as a confident and hardworking adult. I think more than anything, I wanted my ideas to be heard.
Back then, the thought of starting a jewelry company would have made me laugh. I didn’t have a background in jewelry, nor did I even wear much. It just so happened that I stumbled upon the behind-the-scenes of the industry in a roundabout way and was astonished by the crazy markups, generic designs, and a lack of consideration for the quality and sustainability of the materials being used. It was after that that I realized: this was my opportunity to create real change, and build a community around a shared mindset.
I never could have predicted what would happen over the next three years. Together with my team, we were actually making it happen. We designed an essential jewelry collection that helped move consumers away from buying disposable, fast fashion trends. We partnered with local manufacturers, proving that we didn’t have to compromise our ethics in order to build a profitable business, we grew an organic following and built a community around our shared values.
The Black Label is a natural progression that stemmed from my own growth—from timid and shy to confident and experienced. For me, it’s an opportunity to start a new conversation. One that speaks to who and where I am today– as an entrepreneur, as a 30 year-old and as a woman.
It would be nice if that was the full story, but there is another side—the reality of what it took for me to get to this point. To start, I wasn’t making money which put financial stress on my home life, I stopped taking time off for vacations because I couldn’t leave the business unattended, and then I stopped taking weekends off because I needed more time to work. I lost time with my husband, I lost friends, I lost sleep, I woke up early and I went to bed late, I made sacrifices, strained relationships, took risks, fired good people, burnt bridges, built new bridges, and questioned myself constantly. I worked my ass off.
Today, 3 years after launching Vrai & Oro, I am 30 years old and have officially grown up. I’m writing this on a plane to NYC, where I’m headed to launch the next chapter in our V&O story – the Black Label. It’s a sophisticated collection of formal fine jewelry made with 18K solid gold and sustainable Diamond Foundry diamonds. The prices and stakes are higher, and to put it lightly, it’s a big step for us.
As I prepare for the launch, I’m already imagining the questions that will be asked: What was the inspiration behind the designs? Why did you decide to launch this collection? Do you think the price points will alienate your current customers? …Maybe these are just the questions I’m asking myself.
The truth is, I don’t have the answers. Inspiration didn’t come to me in a dream, I didn’t test out the concept with a focus group, and I don’t have market research to backup my decisions. Instead, the Black Label is a natural progression that stemmed from my own growth—from timid and shy to confident and experienced. For me, it’s an opportunity to start a new conversation. One that speaks to who and where I am today– as an entrepreneur, as a 30 year-old and as a woman.
If our original Essential collection was born from a desire to connect with a community, the Black Label was born from an urge to connect back to myself. My hope is that these pieces will mark milestones and symbolize accomplishments of the women that wear them. They will be filled with memories, and be passed down to the next generation. They will become personal reminders of how strong we are, and how far we’ve come.
So thank you for your support throughout our journey. I’m beyond excited to be sharing this next step with you.
Founder + Creative Director