How this jewellery designer has found recognition in the public eye
By Inna Levchuk
Shay Lowe is no stranger to the spotlight. She’s been in it ever since some of her jewellery appeared on the hit reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
“It was a real turning point,” says Lowe. “My business went insane; my orders and my profits tripled. Today, I’m still getting orders.”
It all happened when one of Lowe’s designs was worn by a cast member during a taping of the hit reality TV show. Since then, Lowe’s statement jewellery has adorned stars like Eva Mendes, Christina Hendricks, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, Kristin Bauer van Straten, and Bobbie Brown.
What makes her creations special? A rebel at heart, Lowe has revolutionized the perception of costume jewellery by incorporating elements, “that reflect a fine jewellery feel.”
“I want women to be able to invest in a good piece of costume jewellery,” she says. “You can build designer jewellery that women will buy and wear for many years and maybe, even pass down.”
What started out as a hobby, Lowe’s jewellery creations have single-handedly catapulted her into the international spotlight and helped grow her company into the empire it is today.
“I started my business from nothing,” says Lowe. “It was just something that I taught myself.”
In order to follow her passion for designing jewellery, Lowe left a job in the legal field during one of the worst economic times.
“It was completely different from what I am doing now,” she says. “But when I look back, even as a young child, I think I had entrepreneurial instincts and was very creative.”
To find success as an entrepreneur, Lowe says that apart from having an innate creative streak, you also, “have to have that business brain and think outside of the box.” She swears by finding channels that give exposure and recognition to her designs.
A few years back, Lowe’s determination led her to a jewellery trade show in New York, where a stop at the Swarovski booth would change things forever. After submitting her work portfolio to the brand, it wasn’t long before she found herself among other top designers selected to create for the esteemed Swarovski name.
“From that point on, my confidence in my design ability really began to grow,” he says. “I started to be recognized internationally.”
Aside from having her work featured in Made With, a book published by Swarovski Elements, Lowe has been chosen as one of the Top 15 Designers across Canada for the Cashmere Campaign featured at Hudson’s Bay. In addition to winning the Notable 2014 Business Award for Best in Fashion, Lowe has also been nominated for the Chatelaine Profit W100 Top Female Entrepreneurs in Canada in 2014.
Secret to success
After one of Lowe’s creations appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, stylists from other shows became interested in her unique designs.
“Getting on television is one of my biggest tips,” she says. “I started in television as a stylist and I began to see the impact from the viewership. Next, I began to get more orders and more hits on my site.”
Today, Lowe is a regular guest on Breakfast Television and Cityline. She is also an Accessories Expert on CTV’s Canada AM and a featured speaker on a designer panel for Elle Canada. She has made a point to continue to bring awareness to her designs through appearances on the second season of the W Network’s Hockey Wives and in a commercial for Benefit Cosmetics.
“I started to push for that more because I started to see the response I was getting from either speaking on or having my work on TV shows,” she says. “Anything major that has happened in my business has all been from me putting myself out there.”
Lowe’s biggest business triumph yet has been securing a spot on The Shopping Channel.
“It’s always been on my list of goals to be on The Shopping Channel because it’s such an amazing avenue – they have eight million viewers,” she says. “I launched with them a year ago. My first show was almost a complete sellout.”
By embracing a wide audience, The Shopping Channel also helps Lowe to “incorporate more everyday looks and demure pieces that I never would have thought of before.”
At this point, Lowe says she is not interested in having her own storefront since The Shopping Channel alone has made her designs available to women across the entire country.
“There are brands that have been on the channel for years, and that’s my goal,” she says. “They have a very loyal viewership.”
More than a designer
Apart from being a successful jewellery designer and entrepreneur, Lowe is deeply involved in the Toronto arts community. She is a founding member and a former co-chair of Turnout, a group of young professionals that has been committed to building the future of The National Ballet of Canada.
Lowe has also sat on a number of committees, including Rethink Breast Cancer’s annual Boobyball, the Ontario Science Centre’s LG Innovators’ Ball, Operanation for The Canadian Opera Company, and ArtBound. She is currently an outreach alumni member for the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI).
Being a self-taught businesswoman, Lowe continues to pursue more growth and progress in her career. She says that aligning herself with large brands like Neutrogena and Dermatologica has helped her stay in “healthy business shape.”
“I’m still learning and working just as hard as I ever did,” she says. “If you’re not passionate about what you do, people can tell. It’s okay to be business-minded but you have to take care of your customers. I have very high standards for what I do.”
Lowe’s support for women’s initiatives is a reflection of how she approached her own career – as a woman that believed in a dream and
had the courage to pursue it.
“To this day, I still run this business on my own. I really am a woman that built my company by myself.” CJ