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American Idol and Guilded Grey

American Idol and Guilded Grey

It seems sometimes things in business and life happen when they align at the right time. During the early part of season 2 on American Idol I had one of my initial necklaces gifted to the Hollywood Hair Guy, Dean Banowetz. Dean who is still styling celebrities for television today, happened to be doing Ryan Seacrest's hair for an upcoming show when he asked Dean about the necklace.

Dean contacted me to send a piece not only to Ryan but to appear on Extra and attend a live tapping of American Idol. I flew to LA and sat in the audience while they filmed the episode and smiled the entire time. These are the moments designers dream about in the beginning, a bit of recognition and validation for the long hours working on the business.  I went on to do pieces for Kimberly Locke and created a "205" for Rubban Studdard and his then famous area code.

The press and opportunities that came from the show launched Guilded Grey's One of a Kind jewelry and initial necklaces. I've since done several hair pieces for other American Idol seasons and will always be grateful to Dean for sharing my jewelry with American Idol and its audience. 

Shop the AVA inspired by American Idol

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How the Neiman Marcus catalog shaped Guilded Grey's design today

Long before I had officially started making jewelry to sell (that's another post) I was working with a friend designing wine charms. This was way before they really hit the market and we designed a few pieces for a local show. When a good friend suggested I send them to catalogs (pre-internet pitching) we decided to package them up and send them to an editor at Neiman Marcus.

I had no idea what was about to happen or I may have not had the courage to send the samples. I quickly found myself in business supplying the store and Christmas catalogue with thousand of sets per week. Learning on the fly is an understatement but learn we did and we ran that little business for almost two years. What I learned beyond the sourcing, production and large account maintenance of the business was that the quality had to be perfect.

We made a promise to ourselves to check and recheck every single charm that left the studio. We hired help and wire wrapped every single charm. I'm still crazy proud that out of 1000's of orders we only had 2 returns. 

Today all of our chains and designs are wire wrapped to make sure each and every bead and component are secure. It's time consuming and labor intensive but I'm still committed to the quality that helped launch Guilded Grey.

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Guilded Grey is celebrating 15 years!

Guilded Grey is celebrating 15 years!

It's Guilded Grey's 15th anniversary! While the new name is one year old I've been designing since 2002. Where has the time gone?

What a wild ride it's been from American Idol to Europe and a million stops in between. To celebrate I'll be posting a new one of a kind piece everyday in September! That's 30 new designs in 30 days.

I've yet to sit down and right a proper story about the history of Guilded Grey ( I've never considered myself a writer) so each day I'm challenging myself to share a bit of behind the scenes and story.


I've got a few giveaways coming your way too because without all your support I wouldn't still be able to do what I love. Hope your holiday weekend is amazing and stop back by and celebrate with us all month!

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