With some sunny optimism and a quick expansion into retail stores, California-based Gorjana has gone from jewelry shows to direct-to- consumer to brick-and-mortar locations across the United States with the goal of bringing its Laguna Beach vibe nationwide, its founders say.
Part of the Gorjana’s success comes from its array of price points from $38 to $700 for its new fine jewelry collection, says cofounder and CEO Jason Griffin Reidel. But Gorjana also is seeing its customers embrace in-person shopping as a way of connecting to the brand and each store’s beachy ambiance.
“Our model is to have something for everyone; you should be able to walk into one of our stores and interact with the brand at any level you want,” Reidel says.
Its latest stores are in the Washington, D.C., area with two October openings in Georgetown and Bethesda, Md. This month, it added locations in Manhattan Beach, Calif., which opened Nov. 6, and Boston, which opened Nov. 12. Its Venice, Calif., site will open Wednesday. Its final 2021 grand opening will happen Dec. 15 in Park City, Utah. These stores range in size from 765 square feet in Park City to 1,412 square feet in Manhattan Beach.
All new Gorjana storefronts are outfitted with signature details including mango wood finishes, brass hardware details, live greenery, and blue, bohemian shibori fabrics reminiscent of the Pacific Ocean. The resulting airy spaces help to display the brand’s latest collections from its layering sets to power gemstones.
“We want you to feel like you’ve walked into an environment where you can decompress,” Reidel says, including things like a custom candle scent that reminds him of Laguna Beach as well as carefully selected music.
Yet each store also gets a nod to its individual location. Its Bethesda, Md., location has a one-of-a-kind mural from a local artist on the exterior, Reidel says. The Park City site also has a deeper, richer color palette to reflect its mountain location.
These new openings expand the brand’s retail reach, and it will continue to add new locations throughout 2022, Reidel says.
Reidel and his wife, Gorjana, founded the brand in 2004 on their apartment floor. The couple drove 50,000 miles to sell and market their collection and hit the trade show circuit. They grew the brand into a full-fledged business that they still own and operate with that “all in” mentality that got them started, Reidel says.
“We run it like a family-owned business—a mom-and-pop,” Reidel says. “That’s what we tell people: You don’t have to change your DNA or who you are to be able to grow.”
What has changed is how much it is investing in physical stores. In 2017, Gorjana had three brick-and-mortar shops. This year, the company will have 26 total locations, opening 10 of those during the coronavirus pandemic. To say it’s been a rapid expansion is an understatement, Reidel says. But the business has been in development with a loyal customer base for nearly two decades, he notes.
“It’s a constant evolution—we don’t get complacent,” Reidel says. “We consistently take what we’ve learned and move it forward. We know every store will get better as we go.”
Top: Gorjana recently opened a location in Bethesda that features an exterior mural painted by a local artist (all photos courtesy of Gorjana).@jckmagazine
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