From selling her first collection at age 16—to seeing her jewelry on celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Mila Kunis—designer Dana Gordon, of Dana Rebecca Designs, is a story in staying steadfast on your path. (Listen to her entrepreneurial journey on this week’s episode of The Mentor Files.)
Now, inspired by her friendship with M+A’s main mom Monica Royer, and the other close women in her life, Gordon’s teamed up with Monica + Andy to launch a trio of necklaces meant to connect generations of moms and daughters. Shop the collection here, and check out our Q+A with Gordon on gem school, finding her niche, and the most special piece of jewelry she owns.
All of your designs fall into that sweet spot of so special, but so easy to wear. How do you accomplish that?
I launched my first collection when I was 16, so over the past 19 years I have spent a tremendous amount of time finding my “sweet spot.” Growing up in the diamond industry, my mother always had fabulous jewelry for special events, but she didn’t have many pieces to wear from day to night. So, that was my goal when I first started Dana Rebecca Designs 12 years ago. To fill the void in my mother’s jewelry box and find the perfect pieces to wear every day.
You’re a third generation jeweler and sold your first design at age 16. Was there ever a moment where you thought you’d do something else?
Believe it or not, growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer! It wasn’t until the middle of college when I realized that law school would always be there as an option and that I had to pursue my hobby and passion of jewelry design into a career.
You attended gemological school—what’s the hardest part about studying diamonds?
I went into the Gemological Institute of America to study in their Applied Jewelry Arts Program, not diamonds. The program is a six-month course that started with drawing and painting, then moved to wax carving, mold making and CAD design. It was an incredible program that helped me get all the ideas from my head onto paper and then into the manufacturing process to test my theories and creatives.
What’s the best career or business advice you’ve ever received?
Stay true to who you are.
What’s your best advice for other female founders just getting started?
To me, it’s important to find your tribe. Find other women entrepreneurs who are like minded and will support and encourage you. There is a lot of noise out there and finding your support is very important. Helping other females should also be at the core of your beginning. Women supporting women is the best way to grow your business and stand out.
Jewelry is such a timeless product—how has social media changed the way you sell your designs or build your brand?
Social media evolves on a day to day basis. Launching a product is no longer the simplicity of putting it online and making it available to purchase. Social media gives us the opportunity to get voice of the market, test the product and get feedback. I love the way social media gives me a way to talk directly to the customer and hear their thoughts and suggestions!
You’re a mom, boss, wife, and industry leader—what’s your best hack for getting through the day in one piece?
I remind myself that each day is a new day. I may not be the best boss, mom, wife, friend or daughter at every moment, but I try my best to be a little of each. That being said, as a mom I make sure to spend the morning or the evening with my girls. That can be a simple morning wake up with a hug or a ride to school, but I have to start or end my day with them to feel balanced. I think it’s important to end each day with a positive thought, no matter how the day unfolded, and remember that tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better.
The Dana Rebecca Designs collaboration with Monica + Andy has sentimental value for moms—did your own relationship with your mom inspire these pieces?
I am so fortunate to have an incredible relationship with my mom. My mom and I tend to gravitate towards a lot of the same things within the fashion world, but I tend to take an edgier or younger approach. I think mothers and daughters are more inclined to wear the same thing but use their own style to make it their own. When designing the collection, I wanted to make it known that we are a multi-generational brand. Your mom, your daughter, and you can all wear versions of the same thing! There is something for everyone.
What’s the most important piece of jewelry you own?
I am lucky to have a few significant pieces in my collection, but my engagement ring is undoubtedly one of the most important. It reminds me of the start of my marriage and all the amazing things that followed, like my daughters Poppy and Lulu. I am fortunate to have a husband like Jonathan who supports and encourages me daily. The ring means so much to me!