My name is Valentina Juncaj and I am the owner, designer and creative director of Vajzë, a luxury handcrafted jewelry brand, based in Detroit and sold worldwide.
This is my story….my road to success.
Background on me. Why I am creating a jewelry line.
To add to my title, I am also the packaging and shipping department, customer service, social media manager, and a corporate-day-job-holder 🙂
Every piece of Vajzë is designed by me, starting with a sketch. My designs then come to life with gold and fine crystals. While I am a global brand, everything remains made in the US. I am really inspired by the women around me and my culture (Albanian from Montenegro). Jewelry has always been the fine item that was saved for special occasions and represented decadence.
Now, I see it as another form of self-expression. My designs really represent the characteristics of women: how fine, elegant and beautiful they can be yet also make a strong statement. Another characteristic I wanted to represent with my pieces is versatility. Something I constantly like doing, is switching up how I wear certain pieces, whether the ability to be layered with other jewelry or worn differently. Everyone I have met and helped with their styling and selection of jewelry has never walked away not excited about their piece that completed their look. It is extremely satisfying and fulfilling to know that I can be a part of building someone’s confidence.
Why Vajzë will be a unique jewelry line.
To get to to this point, I started curating collections at first, then I moved to hand making every piece. Now, I have support in hand making the jewelry, in conjunction with developing models and molds. I would have never got to this point, knowing that I wanted to design my pieces myself, if I did not start SOMEWHERE. As much preparation, planning, and forecasting I did in the beginning, nothing could have prepared me to learn what I did as when I actually started DOING the work. I think the journey is equally as important as the end goal, as the learnings on the way just help to solidify and refine your purpose and help you reach new milestones you never would have thought of.
With Vajzë only recently launched (summer 2016), I am still very much in my early stages of virtually every portion of my business, therefore I have a lot to work towards.
My two month goal with my luxury handcrafted jewelry brand.
For these next two months of this series, I will be focusing on building awareness of my brand.
This is an ongoing goal for me as with every other brand out there where consumers need to know you exist in order to even get familiar with and interested in your product. These next two months I am going to focus on building this awareness through 1. digital: social media and other online content, and 2. more face-to-face and in-person showcasing of my pieces.
For digital, my primary focus on growing my awareness will be through online influencers. Fashion and lifestyle bloggers are great as 1. they are styling your piece and showing others how the jewelry wears 2. they are talking about your brand and telling a part of your story and key attributes about your product 3. they provide content you can use as well in your social media, website, etc.
Word of mouth is still the primary way consumers are influenced to purchase a certain product, so with a blogger wearing my pieces, this is just another customer, to me, sharing a review with their circle, outside of the blog. Finding those with a similar aesthetic and also willing to collaborate is key, as I want to keep it in line with my brand messaging. Not everyone will fit within those guidelines, so this is really a matter of time and effort in searching through the deep universe of social media.
Although your product should speak for itself with your branding, being able to tell your story yourself is always powerful. Hence my other goal is to network at related events and also find opportunities to sell my pieces in person. With jewelry, I feel there is a entirely new level of appreciation when it is seen in person. As much as I try to capture the sparkle, polish, design and other details of the jewelry in my images, it really isn’t a direct comparison to the in-person experience, where someone can see, touch and feel the pieces. With the holidays coming up, I will be aiming to explore the opportunities locally first and maximize how many I can attend and take part in this short amount of time.
Excited to take you on this journey with me 🙂