Today’s CoChic Cool Chick is Susie Saltzman, owner and designer of her bespoke jewelry company Susie Salzman Fine Jewelry. Susie has graciously lent several pieces of her stunning jewelry for styled shoots I have participated in and let me tell you, the jewelry stole the show. Her pieces are particularly unique for the bride or groom-to-be who wants customized wedding jewelry. Susie specializes in one-of-a-kind rings as an alternative to traditional engagement rings. Susie may be in the glamorous fine jewelry industry, but her genuine, down-to-earth spirit shines though in her interview below. Read on to find out why Susie Saltzman differs from other jewelry designers and what drew her to the business. (Fun fact: Susie and last week’s CoChic Cool Chick Emily Archer are cousins!)
If you are new to CoChic Cool Chicks, every Monday I feature a woman entrepreneur who inspires me, who I am lucky enough to have in my girl boss network. These women are doing great things and whether you aspire to be an entrepreneur or not, I hope that they inspire you to do great things, too. I encourage you to check out their businesses, websites, and social media. And reach out to them, ask them questions, say hello. They’d love to hear from you!
Tell us about your business.
I make custom, one-of-a-kind fine jewelry, with a focus on bespoke engagement rings and wedding bands. I work very closely and personally with each client that I take on, educating them through the engagement ring design and purchasing process. We hand select a diamond or gemstone and custom make a ring together, paying close attention to the quality, craftsmanship and details. All materials used in my fine jewelry are sourced through environmentally responsible procedures, and everything is proudly custom made in New York City. I see clients by appointment only at my studio in NoHo, 636 Broadway, Suite 1122. My bespoke work can be viewed on my website www.SusieSaltzman.com.
What made you decide to start your own business?
My little sister’s now-husband asked me years ago to help make her ring, because I had worked at Tiffany & Co. in their engagement ring product development division. I helped him source a beautiful GIA certified diamond and connected him with the best jeweler I knew to hand make her ring. I realized through working with my now-brother-in-law, not only that I really enjoyed the process, but that this was a much-needed service. I was offering unbiased guidance and sound advice for how to maximize budget without compromising on quality. So when other people asked me to help, I said, “yes!” and from one referral grew another and another, and that is how I am lucky enough today, to do what I truly love.
How is your business different from others in your industry?
My business is different in the sense that I am making a truly customized product. Everything down to the customer service is catered to the needs of each individual I work with. I pride myself on being ethical and having a conscious, not only when it comes to the materials I source and use, but also when it comes down to educating the client and giving them reliable advice. I like to think that buying a ring through me is like buying a ring with a trusted friend. I genuinely have your best interest at heart.
What drew you to the jewelry industry?
My Nana. I remember as a child digging through her jewelry drawers and covering myself in her jewelry. I just loved how it made me feel…special, distinguished. Some of my favorite pieces to date are still those that I’ve inherited from my Nana.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
Being able to take a 10am Flywheel class! Haha! Kidding…but seriously, what I love most is the flexibility. I’m fortunate enough to have worked in a corporate environment for the majority of my career to date, so I function best in a structured, organized atmosphere. You have to be disciplined and skilled at time management to be successful as an entrepreneur, unless you want to be stressed out all the time. So, I like to get myself organized for the day, and if I am able to sneak in a mid-morning workout or take an extra-long lunch break, I allow myself to do that, because I trust that I will still be able to get everything done that day that I intended to get done.
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Working alone. Sometimes you just want someone else’s opinion or someone else’s company.
What is your best piece of business advice?
Treat your vendors the same way you treat your clients. I value my resources and the connections that I have built over the years above any knowledge or personal skill I have. They are the reason I am able to do what I do, and I never want to lose sight of that.
Do you have any tricks of the trade you could share with us?
Work with people who you trust, exclusively. Build your relationships, and treat people well.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think I am traditional with a fresh flair. I love basics and solid, neutral colors. Then I like to pile on the rings!! 🙂
What does being CoChic (comfortably chic) mean to you?
Understanding yourself. Being comfortable with who you are and learning how to express that, in whatever way you choose.
Photos by Sarah Wight