Hello, Working Girl: Andrea Linett and Ivka Adam of Iconery
Meet Andrea Linett and Ivka Adam, creative director and founder of the premier online destination for jewelry fanatics – Iconery! You may know Andrea as the founding editor of beloved Lucky magazine and Ivka for her footprint in the tech industry, working for eBay and Hulu. I love Iconery's one-of-a-kind designs, as well as the fact that all gemstones are ethically sourced. Read on to learn more about the events that led to the launch of Iconery, as well as how the two found each other as business partners.
I'm also giving away $200 to Iconery to one lucky reader. Learn more about how to enter at the end of this post!
Q: What inspired you to launch Iconery, and what was your initial vision for the brand?
IVKA: I’ve always loved fine jewelry, it’s a passion that started long ago, passed down by my mother. Her collection of gemstones and artisan-made treasures are so beautiful and special. She taught me the importance of investing in real jewelry – not necessarily having the largest quantity of jewelry but rather a collection of unique, choice pieces.
What’s more, I’ve always had a great admiration for truly talented jewelry designers, and our technology enables them to bring their collections to market in an extraordinarily efficient, cost-effective way—we can essentially design and produce their pieces on-demand.
Q: How do you feel that both of your professional backgrounds prepared you for launching Iconery? In what surprising ways were you not prepared?
IVKA: During my six-year career in fashion e-commerce, most notably at eBay, I’d realized that women lacked a singular, editorialized, online destination for fine, on-trend jewelry. And with the today’s movement among style-conscious women toward investing in fewer, but higher quality pieces, I knew the timing couldn’t be better to launch a well-curated marketplace. I teamed up with fashion-industry veteran Andrea Linett, founding creative director of Lucky magazine, and we set out to create an informative, accessible and fun place to shop for fine jewelry. Because above all, we believe shopping should be enjoyable!
ANDREA: I have always worked in fashion and publishing and became obsessed with jewelry years ago while working on a story for Harper’s Bazaar. I probably know more about jewelry than a lot of jewelers – it’s a real passion of mine. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would want everything!
Q: I'm dying to know - what's your go-to morning routine, and what do your days look like while running Iconery? Do you have a sizable team assisting you?
IVKA: I start my day practicing Transcendental Meditation and then I work out while listening to NPR or the TED Radio Hour. On any given day I am talking with fine jewelry designers, manufacturers, influencers, and investors. The key is to keep 1 or 2 “North Star Goals” and manage to-do lists accordingly. The hardest part of launching a start-up is staying laser-focused. Much of my day is spent brainstorming great ideas, and then constantly sorting what we will and won’t do. Years ago I established Mondays as “no meeting Mondays” — to focus and set the week up for success. We have a core team of 6 women, and an extended team of 12 people who are working on Iconery at any given time. I’m proud to say that our core team ages range from 29-63 and two of the women have had babies since we launched! How many start-up founding teams can boast either of those attributes!
ANDREA: We all work together – it’s a very democratic team. So in the morning I wake up, feed my newborn baby before I have a big coffee, do a little work out and eat breakfast. Then I hit the ground running and start working on various aspects of the site/business.
Q: What are the biggest challenges and triumphs that you've experienced as business owners?
IVKA: As a trained marketer I’ve had experience in multiple marketing mediums: traditional, digital, offline...etc. and it’s crazy to test and learn to see which medium is most effective for Iconery. We’re still trying to find the perfect marketing mix and it’s a huge challenge. I thought with all my experience that I’d know exactly what would work, and we’re still figuring it out. I guess there’s no silver bullet? Ha!
A big triumph for me was back at the beginning when I cold-emailed Andrea through LinkedIn, asking if she was interested in working on Iconery and she responded immediately. She said she was actually interested in hearing more because she loved fine jewelry and wanted to get involved. I couldn’t believe it – THE Andrea Linett wanted to be part of Iconery. I was so amazed and grateful.
Q: How does Iconery set itself apart from the crowd, and what are each of your 'must-have' pieces from the collection?
IVKA: All of our jewelry is real — we firmly believe in our tagline, “Because life’s too short to wear fake jewelry!”. Each piece can be tailored to our customer’s personal style and budget, as she can choose from a range of metals, stones, and proportions. We’re concerned about ethical mining, so all diamonds and gemstones on Iconery are conflict-free. And our direct-to-consumer model means our shoppers get the best value, selection and price (which averages between $200 and $500 – pricing tops out at around $7,000). And of course, we offer free shipping on orders over $150, free returns, and (nearly) 24/7 customer service. There isn’t a go-to destination online for fine, on-trend jewelry, and that’s what we strive to be. One of our core tenant is that we wouldn’t put any jewelry on the site that we wouldn’t wear. Okay, well, our one exception is heart jewelry...I never wear hearts, but Andrea picks out the cool ones for Iconery.
For designers, Iconery has streamlined and simplified the formula: we provide jewelry designers with end-to-end production, aggregate buying power when it comes to labor and stone sourcing, and because of our technology, consistent production quality. The jewelry is made-to-order for each consumer once purchased and can be delivered in 2-3 weeks. This unique supply chain affords us the ability to pass along the best price possible to the consumer.Also, through our editorial stories, we teach women different ways to wear and pair jewelry—from how to layer necklaces like a pro, to how to wear a double-finger ring (and still be able to type!). If you’re a serious executive and want something classic with an edge that won’t feel inappropriate in the boardroom, we have that kind of jewelry too.
There are a few foundational pieces that I’m crazy for:
1. I wear Mara Carrizo Scalise’s Long Box Chain Necklace every day, usually knotted—it looks amazing over a t-shirt or with a silk button-down.
2. I love Luv AJ’s Gold Crown Hoop Huggies, they are the perfect amount of edgy and dainty.
3. Finally, Iconery has created jewelry staples at direct-to-consumer prices, so you have the perfect pieces upon which to build your collection. Two of my favorites are the Diamond Stackable Ring Infinity Band and the Arc Ring.
ANDREA: If you shop for jewelry online, you will see there aren’t many places with a point of view. Most department stores have a random selection of pieces that don’t really make sense together. Iconery definitely has a point of view—we don’t sell things that we wouldn’t be psyched to wear, and everything would go together in one woman’s jewelry wardrobe. And we show you things that maybe you didn’t even know you wanted and tell you how to wear them. We’re your best jewelry-obsessed friend.