If you are looking for the perfect hoop earrings (that won’t break). If you want to create your own personalized jewelry, or if you simply love peace signs, stars and zodiac signs…then you will LOVE this Canadian jewelry brand.
THE LITZI STORY
Montrealers Lynda Guy and Alice Usiskin bonded during a jewelry-making class over a shared love of sports and motherhood.
As a creative experiment they turned their children’s molars into solid gold sweet tooth pendants. “Some people thought it was weird, but why should something so precious be stored at the back of a drawer?” Lynda asked me over coffee in Little Italy as we talked about their seriously booming business.
“We started slowly. We focused on milestones around having children, telling our story; not only as mothers but as women. The power of female friendship was really important. We started with little initials and simple designs.”
The two women quickly realized that they worked well together. “Anytime one of us has an idea, it’s like improv and we say “Yes, and…”, so even if the idea might be terrible, it may spur another idea. Litzi was Alice’s grandmother’s name. Not only is it unique, but it honors our roots and the women in our family.”
LOOK WHO’S WEARING LITZI
It was by asking “Which women inspire us?” that they decided to take a chance and reach out to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s stylist. They shared the LITZI story and asked if Sophie would wear their heart and pearl necklace. “She said ‘sure’ and responded well to our story which is in line with her values. She even wrote us a thank-you letter. We saw her later at C2 Montreal and she treated us like old friends. Alice is gutsy and approached her.”
Risk-taking is part of the LITZI success story.
“I’d been following author and actress Jenny Mollen on Instagram. I knew her books. She is witty. She has a son the same age as mine, and after I would put Leo to bed, her Instagram stories were my escape. She’d be hilariously hiding in the bathroom after putting her son to bed, and I related. I reached out to her on Instagram and told her who we are, and told her that we do custom name necklaces. I was really honest. I said that maybe we could design a necklace to honor her dog Teets who had recently passed away. She said yes! We made it for her and she gave me her address. I sent her a little package and she posted it as an Instagram story!”
“Jenny also wore our necklace on the ‘Rachel Ray Show’. We got a bunch of new followers and orders. She wore it a second time on Instagram and we got another 200 followers. She was a real boost. Now a lot of our orders are coming from the States. Some are for kid’s nicknames, or anything from PB&J, to Monster, or Squish.”
Lynda also reached out to Sarah Andelman (the founder of the Colette department stores) on Instagram. She offered to create a necklace with Sarah’s son’s name Woody in the LITZI script and Sarah accepted. Sarah then posted the necklace on her Instagram stories as a thank-you.
ASOS influencer Ruddy Trobrillant also wears LITZI. “He’s a wacky awesome tattooed guy and is always the happiest. He goes to all the Paris Fashion Week shows and looks amazing in the jewelry.”
Most recently, he was was featured in LITZI in this Nike Ad.
THE RAMONA COLLECTION
For the latest LITZI collection, Lynda and Alice experimented with more delicate designs. Ramona is inspired by Bob Dylan’s travels through Woodstock in the 60’s.
“We were looking through Bob Dylan’s lyrics and there is one song called Ramona that stood out. It’s about a woman who is rooted in who she is, but wants to try new things.”
“She has beautiful flaws. He talks about ‘your cracked country lips’ and we loved the idea that you are perfect in your own way. You have these flaws that make you wonderful and owning that and being proud of that appeals to us as immigrants tied to our own roots. Anyone can be Ramona. She is easy to relate to. She’s a little bit wild, and strong.”
They have also redesigned all the zodiac signs inspired by a large medallion from Lynda’s family. Using their history as inspiration is part of what makes LITZI jewelry so personal.
How did the Indigo collaboration come about? “Indigo contacted us at the end of last summer, after our jewelry caught the eye of their online department coordinator. They asked us if we could work with them to curate a selection of LITZI jewelry to go on the Indigo site. We were, of course, thrilled to say yes!”
What does this opportunity mean for them? “The national reach that Indigo has, brings us back closer to our Canadian customers which we’re happy with. The collaborations we’ve been working on have mostly been outside of Canada (both the US and Europe), so working with our Canadian base is important to us!”
LITZI jewelry is made out of solid gold or sterling silver depending on the design. Some can be made in rose gold or in gold vermeil on silver. Each piece begins with a drawing that is photographed and then imported into Illustrator. Once the image is cleaned up, it is imported into a program that 3D prints the mold. It is then produced here in Montreal and takes about two weeks from the time an order is placed through their website.
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“I’m going to hustle and I’m going to make it happen. I’ve been putting it out in the world. We’re a small business and we spend our time at a kitchen table. We take chances on each other’s recommendations and we trust each other. We’re excited. If an idea doesn’t happen, it will lead us somewhere else.”