Today we’d like to introduce you to Niki Grandics.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up far removed from the jewelry industry, going back and forth with my scientist parents to Hungary and LA and San Diego. Art and design was always a part of me, and even today making is just part of my being. I stumbled into the world of jewelry while I was studying at San Diego State University. I started out as a graphic design major, because at 19 I thought graphic design was the only way to make a living as an artist. I pretty quickly figured out it wasn’t a good fit for me, and at a friend’s recommendation, I took the intro to jewelry and metalsmithing class. Once I sat down at the jeweler’s bench, I knew I was in the right place. I changed my major shortly after, and never looked back. I went on to study at the Gemological Institute of America after I graduated, to continue to perfect my craft.
I started Enji in 2014 to create modern, wearable art featuring ethically sourced gems that stand out in a sea of mass production and fast fashion. I started with sleek, modern pieces made from recycled silver, and now also have a line of fine jewelry that includes bold statement earrings with fairtrade gems and stacking rings made from recycled 14k gold. I wanted my business to be more sustainable and give back from the start. Through my experiences growing up and being in different parts of the world, I knew I had to consider the bigger the picture from the beginning.
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?
No, of course not. Especially as an entrepreneur, I don’t think a linear path or a smooth road really exists. One challenge for me was getting started in the fine jewelry world with no prior connection to the industry. The jewelry industry is a bit like a large family, and a lot of times it seems like everybody knows everyone else and many people do come from family businesses or have some family connection so not knowing anyone at the beginning made it a bit more challenging, especially as a huge introvert where networking didn’t come so naturally to me. I managed to find my tribe within the jewelry world through working with Ethical Metalsmiths. I am a firm believer that jewelry can be a force for good in the world and that jewelry people are good people and I feel lucky that I’ve found other designers, jewelers, and business owners who share that view.
Please tell us about Enji Studio Jewelry.
Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. I’m most known for rough diamond and gemstone slice jewelry and for contrasting natural gemstones with modern design and geometric details. I’m proud to make jewelry that you can feel proud to wear. As a designer, I only use diamonds are gems that are fairtrade or ethically sourced (and that are traceable to the mine) and recycled and Fairmined gold and silver because of the impact this has on the communities that these gems come from. I also look for sourcing the interesting gems that have unique and individual character so I can create jewelry that really tells a unique story for my clients. I also do custom jewelry pieces for my clients, like engagement and wedding rings, statement earrings, pendants, to mark moments in their lives and I feel really honored to be able to do this.
How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
Success: I feel like there are a couple. Having a unique look, standing behind your word and your work are definitely important, but I think persistence has really been the most important factor. My grandmother once told me that at the end of the day, the only thing you can keep doing is putting one foot in front of the other, and in my business I think of it as a journey, where I keep putting one foot in front of the other and growing.
- 925 Silver collection retails $100-800
- Fine collection retails $300-3000
- Website: Enjistudiojewelry.com
- Phone: 8583810413
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @enji_studio_jewelry
- Facebook: @enjistudiojewelry