Jewelry Designer Breaks the Mold
Meet Gina Nigerelli-Smith, an inspiring jewelry designer and entrepreneur. After working as a fashion editor in New York, Gina created her jewelry brand, Jules Smith, to share her boho and vintage style with the world. As a creative businesswoman in an industry dominated by tradition, Gina is making a big splash in fashion and manufacturing. We are excited to feature her as this week’s Female Founder!
1) Why did you start your company?
I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and always knew I wanted to own my own company. My husband was relocated to the Caribbean and starting a jewelry line happened naturally. I was working as a freelance fashion writer, and there were no other opportunities for work, so I decided it was time to launch my own line. I hit the ground running, and Jules Smith was born.
2) If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would be able to blink and open my eyes in a totally new place. I love to travel, and this would allow me to cram in a lot more trips!
3) Have you ever been underestimated simply for being a woman? Tell us how.
From my experience personally, and operating in a predominantly male industry, I don’t think I am taken as seriously as men who are doing the same thing I am. The jewelry industry is very traditional, and I believe that the values and belief systems that permeate traditional patriarchal cultures, permeate my industry. I do believe I have to work harder than men to be respected.
4) Are you working on any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
We are working on launching bridal jewelry. This is really exciting for me as a designer (and a wife) because wedding jewelry is so special. I love the idea that Jules Smith will be part of a lifetime memory for women.
5) What is your best advice for anyone starting their own business?
I know the fashion industry seems glamorous, but this industry is very cut throat and not for the faint of heart. My advice to women entering this industry is that you have to really, really want it. This is not about looking pretty and having nice things; it is about hard work, dedication, and perseverance. The manufacturing world is very traditional, and men dominate the space. The runways and red carpets are few and far between.
With that said, my advice is to always follow your dreams. We are all much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.