Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hip + Urban Girls of the Week: Foxy Originals

The first time I spotted this jewelry collection, it was at Toronto's One Of A Kind Show where I noticed a bright pink booth swarming with women. I tried peeking over many shoulders trying to see what the fuss was all about. Lo and behold, it was the beginnings of an accessories empire! This week we chat Jennifer Ger, one of the co-founders of Foxy Originals. She's our Hip + Urban Girl of the Week!

How did you end up starting Foxy Originals?

Suzie grew up surrounded by the glitz and glamour of her family’s jewelry business, and helped her mother design a teen collection during her own high school years. At the same time, I also began to design jewelry. I used my high school cafeteria as a production facility where I paid classmates by the piece to help bring my jewelry creations to life. I started selling my wares to boutiques around Toronto including Over the Rainbow.

The two of us met while studying at the University of Western Ontario, and quickly discovered our shared passion for bracelets and baubles. We decided to focus our combined talents on a single vision and founded Foxy Originals. At first we sold jewelry on campus and in the summer took Foxy on the road to outdoor festivals and concerts. Soon enough we had a strong following of fans.  
When we graduated with business degrees in 2003, we turned Foxy Originals into a full-time affair, and set out to make high-style fashion jewelry accessible to young women. 
Foxy is now carried in independent boutiques around the world, has received some amazing press, including a feature in O Magazine's December issue. We count Sienna Miller and Lauren Conrad among our celebrity fans.
What was the big tipping point for your business? 

The biggest tipping point for our business was probably the creation of the 'reversible' necklace in 2002.  The idea that a piece could offer two designs in one got customers VERY excited (and still does to this day.) Friends told friends about our two sided colorful designs and soon we couldn't keep up with demand.  From this early starting point we've consistently been focused on offering true product value for our customers.

What's next for Foxy Originals?

As designers what gets us excited is new products and innovation. For this fall, we're introducting  skinny belts and silk scarves - both of which come in bright colors and offer up geometric designs (trends we are LOVING right now). We just shot these videos showing off the new products. Have a look see! 

How would you describe your personal style?

My style is fashion forward and feminine - with a nod to bright and poppy prints. I love keeping up with the latest fashions, but I don't try and force them on myself if they don't fit "me". I think belts and boots are wardrobe essentials and am guilty of owning way too many of both....and jewelry of course! 

Leaving home without earrings in my lobes is a major fashion crime in my books. I love experimenting with new looks and thank my lucky stars that as the owner of my own business I get to wear whatever my heart desires and take fashion risks without worrying what people will think.

Name your Top 3 Boutiques to Shop in Toronto and tell us why!

Over the Rainbow - Hands down best denim selection in the city, and they were one of the first boutiques to purchase my designs, and I'll never forget that support.

Bicyclette - This queen west shop is my go-to shop when I need a little pick-me-up or when the search is on for a specific addition to my wardrobe.

Courage My Love - I've been going to this quirky Kensington boutique since I was a little girl for exotic beads, exquisite jewelry from faraway lands, and off-beat trinkets.  I hasn't changed a bit and a visit always takes me back to my childhood.

What are a couple current jewellery trends coming in for Fall?

Oversized stud earrings and faceted geometric shapes. We are obsessed!

What did you study in College/University? Is there anything you would do differently or advise others about?
Suzie and I both studied business at the Richard Ivey School of business at the university of Western Ontario. I'd highly recommend anyone interested in a career in fashion to take at least a couple of business courses. When it comes to design talent, either you have it or you don't but business skills can be learned- and those skills are what will count. You won't be able to balance in your designer heels if you can't balance your cash flow.

What is your typical day like?

Our days are always so varied which is why we love what we do. When we're not designing new collections, we spend out time traveling to trade shows in New York and Las Vegas and abroad to sell our collection to boutique buyers, or we're down in the  studio managing production to fill our orders.

What would you tell your 20 year-old self?

Stop wearing those crazy platform raver running shoes. First of all, in hindsight they are hideous, but moreover, they are going to give you permanent knee problems when you are in your 30s. Oh and it was a really good move to turn down that corporate job offer to start a jewelry business. You won't regret it. Follow your passion!!

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?

Stand on the shoulders of giants and learn from people you look up to. 

A lot of people I talk to don't know exactly what they want to do with their lives, but they do know what gets them excited.  

To get close to figuring our what you want to do, I suggest you speak to many people as you can doing things that you admire - those that you could see yourself doing. 

Find out how they got started and what made it possible for them to do what they did and start modelling after them. Take baby steps. Martin Luther King said 'Take the first step in fatih. You don't need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.'

Get in touch:

Twitter: @foxyoriginals

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