kai conversations with... celebrity jewelry designer, rachel katz
i was born and raised in cleveland, ohio and love my mid-western roots. i moved to boston for college, at boston university – i loved the cosmopolitan experience of city living. after graduation i stayed in boston and worked for dot com start ups in the late 90’s and early 2000’s – it was a really exciting time! eventually the company i was working for was sold and i decided to move to LA in search of better weather and my next adventure. once in LA, i worked in hollywood for both a prominent producer and big talent agent, but after 4 years, i realized that was not the career that fulfilled me, so i went back to my finance roots and worked in commercial real estate for nearly 10 years. in 2012 at a friend’s urging, i began designing and producing jewelry. it was something that happened organically and wasn’t specifically planned, but i have been in LA for 20+ years now, and it has become my home.
how did you get your start in the jewelry industry? how did Rachel Katz Jewelry come about?
while in hindsight it seems destined, my jewelry line began rather unexpectedly. i had a chunky brass necklace of my mom’s from the 70s that people would always ask about. a friend urged me on many occasions to reproduce it. i finally met with a fabricator to help me, and then started designing other bold costume pieces around it. i started selling my jewelry as a side project and it took off from there.
i realized that jewelry and entrepreneurship are my true calling. i decided to really take the leap and left real estate to focus on my jewelry business full time and things really accelerated since. it’s difficult to describe, but it just felt meant to be. people and resources began falling into place in ways that i couldn’t have planned. all of my past experience contributed to making the transition graceful - friends from my dot com days offered to build my website (rachelkatzjewelry.com) for me, one friend is a photographer, another a graphic designer, another friend modeled for my web site, etc.
i pretty quickly shifted from brass and now design a line of modern, architecturally-inspired fine jewelry. my collection is strongly influenced by the structure and geometry of mid-century architecture, with a dash of free-form 1970s hedonism. my aim is to translate these dualities into timeless pieces that are bold, yet wearable for everyday. i manufacture exclusively in los angeles, using 14k gold, handset diamonds, and colored sapphires. i sell direct-to-consumer (via private showings and my website rachelkatzjewelry.com), and through high-end boutiques around the country.
since my brand’s inception in 2014, it has quickly resonated with women around the world, cultivating a strong celebrity following. celebrities include michelle obama, jennifer lawrence, taylor swift, scarlett johansson, gwyneth paltrow, kendall jenner and many others; press coverage includes vogue.com, instyle and shape magazine among others.
along the way, i’ve continued to grow. my aesthetic has evolved, and i am focused on building a strong and lasting brand. it’s amazing to look back and see how i fell into doing something i love.
what keeps you passionate about making beautiful jewelry pieces and continuing to grow the collection?
my favorite part of this work is connecting with clients. i LOVE meeting new people and have not only have i developed many wonderful business relationships but meaningful friendships as well. my mission is for my clients to feel beautiful, glamorous, empowered and confident when wearing my pieces. being continually inspired by art and architecture brings lots of new ideas and helps me keep my designs fresh, modern and timeless.
how do you embody kai’s “breath*life*flow” lifestyle?
i LOVE self care. i start my day with a committed daily meditation practice. followed by a freezing cold 3 minute shower which puts me in good headspace and gives me energy-the kai shower products really help distract me from the intense cold! i exercise daily which includes pilates and a long walk to make sure i get fresh air and out in the sunshine.
i’m a very social person so i love connecting and nurturing myself and friends through my love of cooking healthy fun meals. cooking is a great way to bring people together which is something i value. connecting with friends is essential, whether that be in person with a shared meal or even on the phone.
travel and adventure are a huge part of my life. now that things are opening up a bit, it’s been wonderful to do a bit of work travel and get in some skiing.
always listening to and enjoy discovering new music.
what are your favorite way(s) to experience kai?
i am obsessed with the *rose candle. i light them daily to make my home smell wonderful and welcoming. i absolutely LOVE the bath products. I have to say the *rose body wash really helps make my freezing cold morning showers tolerable and the scent transports me into a warmer state of mind! the scent wakes me up and transports me out of the misery! i follow up the shower with the luxurious *rose body butter. it makes my skin smooth and super soft. if i’m going out at night, i’ll use the *rose body glow for an added sexy shimmer. and i always keep the *rose hand cream around especially in these dry winter months.
how are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/inspiration? if so, please feel free to share.
frequent phone calls to check on friends and family and continuously updating my spotify playlist! during the pandemic i found a great (national) organization called Lasagna Love where participants make lasagnas and get matched with people who request them. it’s super fun and a great way to give back.
thank you, rachel!