Twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings are too often locked in their corporate jobs while drumming up dream jobs over cocktails with their friends. And if you’re an avid reader of our blog, you know that leaving that cubicle to buckle down and hit the ground running with your dream is more common than you think.
Today’s feature is another one of those ladies, except this one holds the keys to all the finest gems in New York City! Meet Ali Galgano, who went from Goldman Sachs to founder of jewelry site, Charm & Chain.
To give you a hint at who she is, Ali is the the blonde-haired lady who never leaves the house without a smile, and always has the most fabulous jewels at the party—or the bodega around the corner!
“Surround yourself with experienced people who have the ability and desire to help you reach your goals.”
What was life like before Chaim & Chain? I worked at Goldman Sachs in investment banking recruiting, and then for an executive search firm doing financial services recruiting. That industry provided an incredible career trajectory for me, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
How did your love for jewelry prompt you to start your own business? What was the problem you wanted to solve? I’ve always had a passion for jewelry—I’ve been collecting vintage, fashion, and fine jewelry for as long as I can remember. That passion led me to enroll in a jewelry design program at the Gemological Institute of America and ultimately become a graduate gemologist.
I started Charm & Chain to share my knowledge and love of jewelry with women in an entertaining and engaging format. I wanted to create an expertly curated selection of jewelry that was accessible to everyone—people with the most discriminating taste, as well as people who were just beginning to develop their individual styles.
How do you choose which designers you feature? Jewelry is a form of art. We work with a select range of designers we consider to be classic, contemporary, and cutting-edge artisans.
After selecting a core group of designers that I’d long admired like Erickson Beamon, Alexis Bittar and Kenneth Jay Lane, I then sought out designers that occupied less conventional style niches, such as Lizzie Fortunato, Dori Csengeri, and Lulu Frost, but that created exquisite pieces with tremendous appeal for the style-savvy.
Charm & Chain caters to a broad audience of shoppers, so it’s important for us to have a diversity in styles, materials, colors and price points in our offering.
As the founder of a jewelry startup, what does your day to day look like? It literally changes every day. One day, I’ll be out at designer appointments elbow-deep in jewelry all day long. Another day I’ll be glued to my computer working on the next month’s editorial calendar.
I work a lot later than most people, but I get to sleep in a little in the mornings, which works well since my mind works better later in the day.
What advice do you have to a woman who is miserable at her desk job? Surround yourself with experienced people who have the ability and desire to help you reach your goals.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires that one maintains laser focus on where she’s going and maintain strong faith in why she got started in the first place.
Too often I see talented “would-be” entrepreneurs allowing early obstacles or failures to cloud their dreams and lead them to conclude that they cannot achieve success.
Do you design jewelry? Would you ever want to? I love working with designers to tweak their designs and provide inspiration for new jewelry, and I have designed some of my own pieces for personal wear. In terms of designing a line of jewelry, never say never!
You have a wedding coming up! What can you tell us about your jewelry selection? I’ll be changing it up at several points throughout the night! And there will be an amazing statement necklace involved, custom-made for me by my friend Lisa Salzer, designer of Lulu Frost jewelry.
What song are you listening to on repeat right now? ”The Only One” by the Black Keys.
What was your last clothing or jewelry purchase? An Alexis Bittar crystal-encrusted gold panther cuff from his upcoming AW12 collection. It’s going to become a permanent fixture on my wrist come fall.
What beauty tip do you swear by? Never leave the house without sunscreen, and never go to sleep without eye cream.
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