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Meet Oren Katz of Carbon & Hyde in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oren Katz.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We’re third generation jewelers – so it’s a family trade. It all started with our grandfather who was a diamond dealer in Israel. His trade got passed down to my father, who worked under him, learning how to cut and set diamonds in the diamond district in Israel. In his 20s, our father moved to LA and started a full-service manufacturing house focusing on bridal and engagement and he has been doing it for nearly 40 years now.

We came into the business in 2013 and started our own line of fashion and fine jewelry. We consider ourselves very fortunate because we had all the tools available to us before getting started. The two of us were always creative and artistic, we took art classes throughout childhood, took art classes in college, and worked at fashion houses in NYC after college. We didn’t have any formal jewelry design training but we grew up in the shop with our dad so we already knew a lot about jewelry and diamonds prior to launching ‘Carbon & Hyde’.

Our mom was a fashion so we grew up being very interested in fashion and design. She used to design custom jewelry pieces for us in the shop when we were younger. I guess you could say jewelry and design is ingrained in our DNA.

After leaving NYC, we moved back to LA to create our own jewelry line. We designed a line of 25 pieces in a few months, took it to the best boutiques in LA, and everyone wanted it! We kind of fit into a niche category at the time of fashion-forward and quality fine jewelry with the outrageous price point. From there, we kept adding new stores we had our eyes set on and kept growing.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Design and production was our comfort zone, so our biggest struggle was setting up the actual business. I don’t think we realized all the little things that go into a start-up, so we just had to learn on the fly. We had to learn how to register for a trademark, apply for a business license, purchase a domain, set up business e-mails, figure out how to find a team to build a website, deal with insurance and taxes, and find a superstar mentor to mentally and physically get you through the entire roller coaster.

Other than these small bumps you learn to overcome, the creating our collection and working together has been the most fun part. We’re sisters and best friends, so we know each other very well. We split up jobs and tasks easily and really compliment each other, so it’s a dream team.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We have a fashion fine jewelry line, Carbon & Hyde! We have our own online presence, sell to fashion and fine jewelry boutiques including Ron Herman, Broken English, and Jaimie Geller, and in the department store Barneys New York. All our jewelry is 14K Gold and Diamonds. We are most proud of joining our family business and taking it on in a new light by starting our own company and collection.

What makes us most proud is seeing people wearing our jewelry – its the best feeling to walk down the street and see someone you don’t know wearing a piece of jewelry you made. I think what sets us apart is that as designers, we have two very different styles.

When it translates into the collection, we always try to make sure there is something for everyone. Being natives from LA, we are also around fashion, stylists, and celebrities all the time, so are quick to hop onto new trends. We always try to offer trendy pieces with classic and timeless pieces, in various ranges of price points.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, Yarden was always the rebel and I was the quiet and reserved one. She was always very social and never cared about school, while I was an overachiever and always had to get perfect grades. Both of us were always artistic and creative.

Our mother started taking us to art classes when we were 4 years old after school, so by the time high school came around, we were both always in AP art classes and loved to paint and sketch. I was always very into fashion and beauty and loved Yoga. We both always loved jewelry since it was our father’s business and we grew up designing custom pieces with our mom at a young age just for fun. We would come up with an idea, and our mom would show us how to execute it from sketch – to 3D model – to wax – to a cast and set final product.

Our mom used to be a fashion designer, so she always had a special touch and the most discerning eye. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit – in college I created a line of jewelry and sold beaded bracelets. Looking back at it I laugh, but I think it gave me a lot of real-life experience and the confidence to start Carbon & Hyde years later.

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