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Jackie Cohen began her career by working on Wall Street. After years of working in Finance, she left feeling unfulfilled and travelled to Africa, India & Israel. Her family has a jewelry business which she worked in after Wall Street. She tried IVF and eventually ended up adopting a daughter. She created a ring to celebrate the birth of her child, which she received a lot of compliments on. This led to the creation of her brand, My Story Jewelry. Proceeds from sales of her pieces go to Helpusadopt.org. Jackie was one of Delia's vendors at Barneys New York, which is where they met.
In reading your biography on the My Story Jewelry website, you’ve had a very interesting life. You’ve travelled a lot and have been influenced by India in particular. Did I read you joined the Israeli army? What inspired you to do that and what did you learn from it? After leaving Wall Street, she felt burnt out and angry. Wall Street can be a toxic environment for women. She did a volunteer program where she lived for 3 weeks. She got to meet Israeli soldiers who live every day as if it is their last instead of so focused on work like in America. There is a sense of fearlessness there.
What was it like working with your family in the jewelry business? She wasn't sure about it at first. She fell in love with the business: putting together the stones, coming up with designs, building a business, etc. She made the line more feminine.
What challenges did you face starting your own company & breaking off from your family business? She and her brother ran the business together for 8 years: bridal, engagement rings, classic look. Jackie isn't married, so she didn't find it that inspiring. Most people get married once and get one ring, they may upgrade, get a halo, or reset it. Jackie did well with the band category because it was something she could wear and enjoy. Once My Story was growing, there was tension between Jackie & her brother for the first time. She was focusing less on the family business, and more on My Story. Therefore, she started working with My Story full time, which relieved the tension between herself & her brother.
How does it work if someone wants a custom piece? Coming from a bridal background, every bride wants something custom, and every stone is custom. There was a lot of CAD (computer aided design) work, so she was familiar with this. My Story is about telling your story, because everyone is unique, and wants something unique and special to them. She gives the specs (the specifics of the piece) to the CAD designer - measurements, fonts, colors, stones, etc. She gets a drawing in CAD, she sends it to her client making sure it is what they want. Once it is approved, then you get a wax which is sent to casting. It can take 3-4 weeks, but can also be rushed.
What was the first piece of jewelry you created for My Story? The one piece she wears everyday. It is called the Julia ring. To commemorate Julia's birth, she wanted to make something understated that isn't screaming mommy jewelry. She put Julia's birthstone in it. When she would be selling her family's jewelry, people would complement her on the piece. They liked it so much that after hearing the story of Jackie becoming a mom, wanted to place an order before she had a brand. She was selling without having an idea of putting something into production, and her brand was born! Easier to sell 12 bands than 12 engagement rings.
Let’s talk about IVF, and the different options women have in order to become a mother. What is it like going through IVF? What kinds of financial & physical implications does this have? Started when she was 40. She was dating yet another guy in Manhattan, probably for all the wrong reasons. She thought when this ends, I need to start figuring out how to have a baby on my own. She thought it was going to be easy. She is healthy, works out, why shouldn't she be able to get pregnant? She told her parents what she wanted to do, and they were excited. She started with IUI, which doesn't have drugs involved. She did it 3 times and got pregnant, but it was an atopic pregnancy (tubular pregnancy, which had to have surgery to remove). She then tried IVF 4 times (very expensive), she had 2 pregnancies, which were miscarriages. This process took 2 years. She was heartbroken each time, and was terribly sad. She didn't want to go out with friends because she was so sad.
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