Q&A with Lauren Kaminsky Goldman, Founder of ByGOLDGIRL
Q: What prompted you to get into the jewelry business? Did you always want to work in jewelry? If not, what made you change your mind?
A: My grandfather started his own business in 1947, my dad used to work for him there then started his own company in 1996, EZ Pawn Corp. Therefore, I come from a lineage of entrepreneurs and pawnbrokers. However, I never actually had any desire or intention to join my family business. Growing up I would come in and help my dad out, but during my teen and college-years we had a falling out and he wasn’t as much a part of my life as he is now. As an Undergrad I studied business management at Boston University and was on track for Institutional Equity Sales in New York. After a few summers of low paying internships, my dad asked me to take some time and work with him. He specifically said “No pressure, but try it out" and I haven’t stopped since.
Q: How have your role models influenced the way you shape your business?
A: Role models for me have shaped my own business model for ByGOLDGIRL and have motivated me to keep going along the way. A few notable are Sally Morrison, Richard Wolf, Chris Santos, and Jenn Rucker. Sally hired me for my first outside of “pawn”, but jewelry-specific job, where I blogged and provided content on jewelry specific events for her brand, LoveGold, an offshoot from the World Gold Council. Rich Wolf & Chris Santos chose me to partner with them at the young age of 22, their restaurant Beauty & Essex had just opened and I still can’t believe they handed me the keys to their front door. They believed in me, and from that day I promised to never let them down. At that point Jennifer Rucker, also a partner at Tao Group, taught me how to run an actual business. I sat with her as we interviewed hires, made some tough fires, and will forever apply things learned from her to our pawnshop and retail businesses.
Q: The industry has no doubt changed since your grandfather started, what lessons from your upbringing in the industry do you still apply to this day?
A: We would be nothing without our customers and staff. I have very few memories with my grandpa at work but have heard stories about how he showed his best customers and employees sincere appreciation. For example, every Thanksgiving Eve he showed up with a turkey for every employee to make sure there was one at their dinner tables the next night.
Q: What’s your go-to checklist when choosing items for your collections?
A: It has always been important to me that there is something for everyone. I don’t always pick the most expensive pieces, and I don’t always wear dainty jewelry. I think mix and matching in price points and style is what will always keep my collections exciting & interesting.
Q: As the head of a company, what’s one of the greatest challenges you deal with day-to-day?
A: Each day is a challenge. I wake up not knowing what fire-drills will come at me and what issue I will need to tackle first, but I’m a firm believer in tackling my work with stride and calmness.
Q: Jewelry trends tend to come and go prompting customers to invest more in affordable costume jewelry rather than a higher-end items; how has this affected your business, and how have you and your stores embraced these shifts?
A: There will always be a need for fun-fast fashion, who doesn’t love to throw on something easy and make an outfit? However, the classics set in real gold with diamonds and precious gemstones will never compare. This applies to all levels of fashion from shoes to handbags and ready to wear to jewelry. For this reason, my Beauty & Essex storefront locations carry all types of jewelry. Costume, vintage, new - we have it all!
Q: You’re a mom of one with another on the way, what's the best part of being both a mother and a boss?
A: It’s not easy but I hope one day my kids will be able to look at what I’ve built and say “wow, my mom did that.” So, I still have lots to do!
Q: How do you see ByGOLDGIRL empowering woman?
A: By giving woman the option and variety of choices for herself to choose what she wants and to buy it. Why wait for someone else in your life to buy it for you?
Q: What’s your own personal jewelry style?
A: All gold everything.