The Tale of the Queen: How Queen's Gold Came to Be
I am excited and honored to launch a new company: Queen’s Gold Body Jewelry. Queen’s Gold is the culmination of almost two years of research into piercing and body jewelry, as well as two decades of experience in custom jewelry design. The birth of this company has been a true joy; despite its challenges, the journey of Queen’s Gold into reality has felt inevitable every step of the way. By way of introducing the company, I would like to share the story of that journey with you.
A Light in the Darkness
This time two years ago, even as my business continued to grow, an unfamiliar malaise began to fall over me. The universe of ring design is more massive than many might assume, however it is finite—and I had spent two decades exploring that universe. The whole reason that I built this business was my love for jewelry, but that love had faded into a high-functioning marriage of convenience. Additionally, the bridal jewelry market presents unique challenges—namely, our customers tend to buy one to three beautiful rings from us, absolutely love them, and then…never be heard from again. At Krikawa Master Jewelers, we don’t make fashion jewelry and the market for luxury jewelry is tiny outside the bridal sector. People are happy to spend a good chunk of their annual income on the most important piece of jewelry they’ll ever own; a necklace for a dinner party, much less so.
Then, in the midst of this malaise, a beautiful firecracker of inspiration came into my life in the form of Lisa, the owner and head piercer of Straight to the Point in Tucson. By this point, I had known Lisa’s husband Alec for a couple of years. He’s a remarkable person himself: his mentorship has been a blessing to my spiritual life, just as Lisa’s has been to my creative life. When I first met Lisa, I must confess that I was taken aback by her appearance: I had not met, and probably never will, anyone who adorns herself with as much gold in her day-to-day life. And I say this as a jeweler! More importantly though, Lisa is incredibly bright and enthusiastic, and that enthusiasm is infectious. The idea to create body jewelry came from her first, in the form of a request—almost a plea. Like myself, Lisa is a connoisseur of art in all its forms and what she saw in my oeuvre of luxury jewelry, she wanted to see in her piercing studio as well.
Even as Lisa and I worked on creating some pieces, the light bulb still hadn’t gone off in my entrepreneurial brain. That’s because, at the outset, the challenge of creating body jewelry on my own seemed almost insurmountable. Jewelry for piercing is a completely different beast from jewelry that you wear; the pieces are engineered differently, and the vocabulary used to describe them is entirely different. Getting up to speed was truly like learning a second language. You might say that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees—and then, one warm December day in Tucson, that forest revealed itself to me in all its beauty. I say “revealed” because the decision to start Queen’s Gold was no simple matter of creating something new; rather, it was the culmination of years of hard work and dreams for the future, the apogee of which was a mystery to me until that day.
A Long-Held Dream Realized
One dream that Queen’s Gold has made possible is my longstanding desire to work directly with businesses. Bridal jewelry struggles, for obvious reasons, to inspire repeat customers. That means that there have been few opportunities to build relationships with our clients of the sort that both nourish the soul and grow the business. Wholesale is the obvious solution to this challenge, but there was one major obstacle: unlike most jewelry stores, we sell our pieces at a thin profit margin.
A guiding star of my business has been to make custom jewelry affordable for the average American. Building my business around that principle, however, made it impossible to sell wholesale without the end product being exorbitantly more expensive than our competitors’. Moreover, Krikawa rings are a challenging wholesale proposition in another way: because of their high level of detail and craftsmanship, it is effectively impossible to create molds that would allow a higher volume, and lower cost, of production. Working with many of our rings also requires unique expertise, due to either mokume or simply how the rings are built; this was another obstacle to wholesale, as jewelry retailers are constantly having to resize rings.
With body jewelry though, all of these challenges are effectively self-resolving—or at least greatly diminished. Indeed, not only does creating body jewelry make wholesale a possibility, it more or less demands it: anyone who wants to switch piercings will need to visit their piercing studio in any case. Like so much about Queen’s Gold, my ambition to work directly with businesses simply clicked into place. And while a desire to build relationships and grow my business motivated this move, selling wholesale excites me for another reason—simply put, I love business owners!
Becoming the Queen You Were Born to Be
Meeting and mentoring business owners keeps the entrepreneurial flame alive in myself. In order to give back and spend time with these extraordinary people, I’ve seized the opportunity to provide coaching to entrepreneurs whenever I can. Of course, if you know me at all, then you’ll know that any mentorship from me will extend beyond “business coaching.” We don’t live multiple lives—a spiritual life, a business life, a love life, a social life, and so forth. The only way to develop yourself as an entrepreneur is to develop yourself as a person, and I’ve learned that personal development is only meaningful when it comes from a place of truth. The key is not to become another person, but to reveal your authentic self and unleash the potential that is waiting inside.
I bring this up because the theme of self-actualization is an integral part of Queen’s Gold, and one that took shape organically. It’s a mission statement and tagline in one: “Become the Queen You Were Born to Be.” With our nine comprehensive body jewelry lines, we’ve created nine complete modes of expression that I hope will allow the wearers of Queen’s Gold to express their authentic selves. Each line has its own avatar, a stylistic or spiritual Queen with whom our new clients can identify. Wearing an engagement ring or wedding band is a profound gesture of union to another soul, but wearing body jewelry is pure self-expression—it’s all about realizing your internal life through the medium of external adornment. The opportunity to unite my coaching philosophy with a product line in this way has been incredibly exciting.
It All Comes Together
Frankly, so much of Queen’s Gold’s journey has been like that—an extended period of crystallization, long-held dreams and ambitions combining with my existing skillset as a jeweler and a businesswoman. Take the name for one—early in Krikawa Master Jewelers’ story, my husband John dubbed me “The Queen of Everything.” My fingerprints were all over every aspect of the business, from fabrication to finance. When my sister-in-law LeCarie joined the business as CFO, it was a huge blessing that allowed me to focus on what I do best. I feel deeply fortunate to now be “The Queen of Half” of the business; LeCarie meanwhile is “The Queen of the Other Half”—as anyone who has received an email from LeCarie will know. (It’s her email signature.) It is fitting that Queen’s Gold should be launched by the two Queens of Krikawa Master Jewelers.
The Queen’s Gold logo fell into place shortly thereafter, and even more naturally. Krikawa Master Jewelers has had this gorgeous crown logo for years now. I absolutely love it, and yet I have no idea why it’s a crown—I couldn’t tell you. When the company name took shape, a modified Krikawa crown became the logo so naturally, so obviously that it could hardly be called a conscious decision. The crown logo, like all of it—the wholesale line, the theme of self-realization, the name—was there waiting to be discovered. As these new elements fell into place, they joined my years of experience to create a new, wholly formed company identity. Not to say that this process of discovery was easy: it was one of the greatest challenges of my career!
Lisa from Straight to the Point can attest to the dozens of hours I spent with her and her business manager, learning this new craft—and industry—in granular detail. It’s hard for me to shout Lisa’s praises enough: she was incredibly generous, encouraging, and enthusiastic as I built this completely new skillset. As my expertise grew, so too did my enthusiasm for the pieces I was designing. And I knew that—of course—I absolutely had to wear these pieces myself. Lisa did me the honor of piercing me, and the experience was deeply moving. The volume of knowledge, empathy, and technical skill that Lisa brings to her craft is exactly what I aspire to bring to my role as lead designer and CEO of Queen’s Gold.
Building the Future
My total immersion in the world of high end body piercing was a huge challenge, but with Lisa as my guide it was ultimately a rewarding one. The thrill of charting undiscovered worlds of design—dormant for so long—was awakened in me, and I am incredibly proud of my work with Queen’s Gold. The design process has been both gratifying and, let me add, an absolute blast! Working on the nine comprehensive lines of Queen’s Gold has also reawakened my passion for Krikawa’s bridal collections. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.
Indeed, I would not have been remotely prepared for this journey without the years that I put into building Krikawa Master Jewelers. From the technical side of engineering engagement rings, to the aesthetics, to the manufacturing—without the time I spent honing the craft and building my first business, Queen’s Gold would have remained a dream. And that’s to say nothing of the team that we’ve built! From some of the nation’s most talented jewelers, to our brilliant design & CAD team, to our phenomenal back office staff—I cannot imagine a group of people better equipped to build this exciting new company with me.
I feel profoundly blessed, two decades into my career of jewelry design, to be more excited about the future than ever before. I am in love with all nine of Queen’s Gold’s comprehensive lines, and I know that you will be too. Creating these pieces has been a highlight of my career, and reawakened the spirit of adventure that set me down the path to building Krikawa Master Jewelers in the first place. As both businesses continue to grow and inspire each other, it has been thrilling to meet the owners and patrons of piercing studios whom it is now our privilege to serve. I also hope that our existing customers, erstwhile newlyweds and luxury clients alike, will explore Queen’s Gold’s offerings. For all these friends—old, new, and yet to be made—I look forward to helping you Become the Queen You Were Born to Be.