Don’t hold grudges. Pick your battles. Dream together. Define your roles. This is just some of the advice couples working in jewelry offer to keep love going strong when work blends the personal and the professional.
These husbands and wives don’t look at Valentine’s Day the same way as the general public does—after all, they’re hoping to sell a lot of jewelry for Feb. 14. But they maintain that focusing on their relationship and regularly celebrating their love have kept the sparks flying despite working long hours in an industry they mutually adore.
Here are five couples who are creating jewelry designs, running a jewelry store, or building a jewelry brand alongside their marriages.
Auvere: Gina Feldman Love and Steven Feldman
Love and Feldman are the co-founders of Auvere; Love also is the designer. They started dreaming about working together while they were still dating, Love says. They wanted to build something together in addition to a marriage, Feldman says.
“We are fortunate that the foundation of our marriage is very strong—built with love, respect, and a commitment to good communication,” Feldman says. “As such, even if we disagree, we manage to not be disagreeable, and we usually arrive at a thoughtful and workable compromise.”
Love agrees. “The key to a productive and healthy working relationship is good communication and separate roles. Even though we are responsible for different things in the company, we talk through all major issues and opportunities, no matter who is primarily responsible for the matter,” she says.
They both admit they “talk shop” at home but have given each other gifts that aren’t jewelry, including cooking for each other. Love says she recently updated Feldman’s wedding band to Auvere’s Pyramid Band for an edgier look.
“Jewelry is always an option. In fact, we buy each other Auvere jewelry throughout the year as the pieces we love are released,” Feldman says. “But for the actual big holidays like Valentine’s Day as well as birthdays, we treat ourselves to travel and art. We just returned from Oman for Gina’s birthday and are heading to the Hudson Valley for Valentine’s Day.”
The Clear Cut: Olivia Landau and Kyle Simon
Co-founders Landau and Simon met while taking separate classes at the GIA. They noticed each other, but Landau made the first move toward friendship and then romance by starting a conversation on an uptown train in New York City.
“We have a lot of respect for each other’s skills, and we play well together,” Simon says. “We often find our roles [at work] are different, so we work autonomously.… Do we ever turn it off? We’re both so passionate about jewelry that we end up talking about it.”
Landau notes: “I can switch it off. He’s the one who brings up numbers right before we go to sleep.” As far as gifts goes, Landau says she picks out what she wants most of the time. “I only want to wear the Clear Cut, and I only design what I want to wear,” she says.
Valentine’s Day falls close to Landau’s birthday in January and Simon’s in March, he says, so they often go back to their tradition: Shake Shack and champagne at home.
Spicer Greene Jewelers: Eva-Michelle and Elliott Spicer
The Spicers also met as GIA students and got married one year later. Eva-Michelle says the best part of working together at Spicer Greene Jewelers in Asheville, N.C., is they love the business, working with people who are also in love.
“We know we have each other’s back at work all the time,” Elliott says. “If you’re working together as a couple, one person has to be the leader of the business. Eva-Michelle still helps influence and make every decision in the company, but we tried being co-CEO and it was too confusing for the team in a small environment. When we divided our roles, we started working together much more seamlessly.”
Those clearly defined roles definitely help the couple overcome challenges together, Eva-Michelle says. They both grew up in jewelry, so having that deep connection helps the relationship across the board.
“It’s really rewarding to be able to build something together and get to experience the high highs and the low lows of entrepreneurship and business together,” Eva-Michelle says.
Maxon Fine Jewelry: Jane and Rick McElvaine
Carefully drawing the line on things that matter to them individually—that’s how the co-owners of Maxon Fine Jewelry in Springfield, Mo., say they have not only been in business together for more than three decades but married for nearly half a century.
“Not everybody should work together with their partner, but it works for us,” Rick McElvaine says. “The most important thing that makes it work is we recognize that each of us has his or her own strong suit and skills. Each serves different roles here. As long as we stay in our different lanes, everything is fine.”
Plus, Rick says, they don’t hold grudges and they take on tough conversations only when an issue is truly worth it. “Sometimes, it’s okay to lose a battle if it is good for the business,” he notes.
Jane McElvaine says it’s hard to gift jewelry to each other after all these years. “We pick our own presents, really. This past Christmas I gave Rick a sapphire, but only after he approved it first.”
Worthmore Jewelers: Geri and Harris Botnick
More than 30 years ago, Harris and Geri Botnick met while attending the University of Alabama. Harris thought he would go into film, but Geri talked him into going into retail with her. The rest is history: They opened Worthmore Jewelers in Atlanta about the same time they became parents.
“Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do,” Geri Botnick says. “After we opened Worthmore and we sold enough in a month to pay the rent, we did a happy dance.” Fast-forward to today—Harris says, “We still love what we do.”
Geri notes: “We were young and dumb so we just did it. People told us we couldn’t, but we did it. We had nothing to lose.”
Gift giving is tricky because of working together, Harris notes. Even if he sets something aside for Geri from an order, she always seems to know about it. “There are no surprises,” Geri says. “When we were in Tucson, I’d buy what I wanted for myself and then send him a text saying, ‘Thank you!’”
Top: Gina Love and Steven Feldman say they keep the love alive in their business and marriage with art, travel, and the occasional home-cooked meal. (Photo courtesy of Auvere)@jckmagazine
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