It’s always so refreshing to have real, honest conversations about entrepreneurship with women who also have big visions. I’m joined by fashion powerhouse sisters Gorjana Reidel and Iva Pawling to talk all about what drives their creativity, how they lead from their intuition, and ways that they support themselves mentally as businesswomen, mothers, and wives. Gorjana and her husband Jason are behind the multi-million dollar gorjana jewelry brand, and Iva is the CEO and Co-Founder of Richer Poorer, an elevated essentials brand. They share how growing up in an immigrant household shaped their work ethic, what their biggest business challenges are, and what they do to relax and recharge. Plus, Gorjana and Iva share the story and design process of their first ever co-designed capsule collection for charity.
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Gorjana Reidel was born and raised in Serbia until she was seven years old and later made her way to the United States by way of Canada. She lived with her grandparents who were a significant influence to her creativity. Gorjana’s childhood home was full of handmade trinkets, which ignited her passion of creation and ultimately led her to visualize gorjana as a brand.
After completing her degree in Marketing at Arizona State University she moved with her (now) husband, Jason, to California. While working in the jewelry department at Neiman Marcus, Gorjana realized she had a love for jewelry design. She soon started working with a local designer to learn all aspects of the jewelry-making business. She set out to design fun, versatile jewelry that all of her friends would want – at an accessible price point.
At 26, she did just that. Gorjana launched her namesake jewelry collection with an accessible price point that had the look and feel of high-end jewelry. During their humble beginnings, Gorjana and Jason would drive thousands of miles selling their collection and fulfill orders from their apartment. The pair ultimately grew out of the apartment and into an artist’s studio in the canyon of Laguna Beach, California.
gorjana has since grown into a multi-million dollar business with high-profile customers that include the likes of Michelle Obama. Gorjana still maintains the welcoming price point and customer experience, which has allowed the expansion of their DTC stores across the country, with more store openings announced in 2022.
Iva Pawling is the CEO and Co-Founder of Richer Poorer. Iva has taken the company through fundraising, an early acquisition, and a founder buy back over the last decade. She leads the company’s strategic planning, brand direction and product category expansion with an irritating level of persistence. Iva has been featured in Forbes, Inc., LA Times and included in the 100 Powerful Women of 2020 in Entrepreneur Magazine. She has spent her entire 20-year career in the fashion industry, starting out in the PR closet at Kate Spade and ending in overseeing Brand Development for her sister’s namesake jewelry brand Gorjana, prior to founding Richer Poorer. Iva holds a B.S. in Communications from Arizona State University.
Discussion Questions & Episode Highlights
( 0:25 ) Welcome back to Earn Your Happy. Today, Lori is joined by Gorjana Reidel and Iva Pawling.
( 4:14 ) Gorjana and Iva join the conversation.
( 5:32 ) Lori says, “Where I would love to start out is have you guys remotely put your finger on what it is or what the mindset is that has made both of you really go for it, really get out there and create such amazing businesses.”
( 9:11 ) Lori asks, “Do you have suggestions for somebody who maybe did not have those challenges around like when you start needing to do hard things and be a beginner and start over if that’s not something that’s seen with your parents or kind of natural to their life?”
( 11:48 ) On entrepreneurship, Gorjana says, “maybe 20% will be fun and 80% will be really kind of nightmarish.”
( 16:02 ) Lori asks, “Can you kind of give me the differentiators of what you have seen throughout working with people of what you think the entrepreneur, the kind of the founder/CEO mindset, versus someone who’s going to help grow and scale that company?”
( 18:47 ) Lori asks, “What is your zone of genius? When are you at your best? And how have you applied that in your businesses?”
( 20:52 ) Lori asks, “Can you share anything that has come from instinct for both of you recently that might seem weird to someone else, or something that you just know that you had to do straight from your gut?”
( 26:20 ) Lori asks how they overcame people telling them that they were entering an oversaturated market and how they knew to keep pushing forward.
( 31:58 ) Lori asks, “What do those conversations look like if I got to sit down and listen to you guys with a glass of wine or whatever you love to drink?”
( 36:43 ) Lori asks, “Are there things that you do to support yourself mentally?”
( 40:27 ) Lori asks, “Do you have to just say, Okay, the fires will burn, but I am going to go recharge?”
( 48:00 ) Lori asks, “Can you tell me about the charity, about the collection?”
( 50:07 ) Lori asks, “What is your goal?”
( 51:28 ) Listeners can shop the collection at gorjana.com/gorjana-x-richer-poorer.