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Meet Courtney Wood and Yuriko Mitsuyama of Grand Avenue Jewelry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Wood and Yuriko Mitsuyama.

Courtney and Yuriko, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Yuriko and I had been friends for many years. We both have always loved fashion and shopping (I mean, who doesn’t?!) We were at dinner one-night discussing jewelry, and how we both felt frustrated at our inability to find high-quality jewelry for an affordable price. We were over the “fast fashion” craze of buying cheap jewelry and then throwing it away when it tarnished a month later.

But we had house payments and families and other important things to spend our money on, so paying hundreds of dollars for everyday jewelry was out of the question. It seemed crazy that we couldn’t find stylish, high-quality jewelry for an accessible price. So, we decided to make it ourselves. We talked directly to manufacturers and discovered that retail brands mark up their jewelry 10-20 times! This means that the high prices we pay as consumers are to cover their expensive overhead and markup instead of paying for a quality product.

We decided to cut out the middleman, slashed our internal costs, and sell directly to consumers without the insane markups. We figured if we could keep our overhead low, we could afford to make a higher quality of jewelry, and still sell it for a fraction of the price of retail stores. That way more women can afford to buy the kind of luxury jewelry that they have always dreamed of.

We started a campaign on Kickstarter exactly a year ago, and the response was incredible. We were fully funded in two days! We finally launched our website in late June, and we just added a new collection this week. It’s been a whirlwind, but we couldn’t be more excited!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Anyone who tells you that starting a business is easy or smooth has to be lying! (just kidding. sort of.) Everyday we have to learn new skills and try and sometimes fail at different things. We each wear a lot of hats, and we are involved in every single thing, so there’s a lot to know. It’s hard to be an expert at all things. But the one thing that always comes easy is the designs. We have so much we want to create!

Grand Avenue Jewelry – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At Grand Avenue, we make luxury jewelry without the luxury price tag. We think everyone deserves a bit of luxury in their lives, so we make gorgeous, high-quality jewelry and sell it for an accessible price. No confusing gimmicks. No insane mark-ups. Just elegant, fine fashion jewelry delivered right to your door.

All of our jewelry is made from brass and plated in 14K gold two times, using two different plating techniques. This unique plating method is used only by a handful of luxury jewelry designers and creates a longer lasting gold-plated finish.

Our jewelry is designed for, and inspired by, modern women-on-the-go. All of our jewelry is designed to be worn all day, every day, wherever life takes you. It can all be dressed up or down, and worn day or night. We also believe that jewelry should let your individual style shine through, so all of our pieces can be worn a variety of ways. They can be worn alone, or stacked and layered in tons of different ways. They also are designed to fit a variety of sizes.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
That’s tough to say because as hard as it can be to start a new business, it also makes me really proud. But I’d say that the proudest moments are the genuine ones: when we get to see how much people really love a piece of jewelry that we made, or a blogger writes an honest fantastic review. Through the ups and downs, if people really love what you are making, then it gives you drive to keep going!

Pricing:

  • All of our pieces are between $80-$105 for 14K gold double-plated jewelry
  • Most pieces are below $100

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Ari Michelson

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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