Nora Kogan/Jewelry Designer/NYC
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A designer (of everything).
How did you first get an idea for your business? Middle of the night scribble on a napkin? Or something more gradual?
I wanted to be a jewelry designer for a long time before the action reached fruition. I was working in NYC for a bunch of jewelry businesses, in all sorts of positions, from QC to Production Manager, Diamond Sorter, and Vault Manager. I learned a lot from completing various tasks at companies that ran the gamut from designer to big middle-of-the-road companies supplying Macy’s etc. All experience was extremely valuable, in retrospect.
Do you find that there are certain challenges that come with being a female business owner that your male counterparts don’t have to deal with?
Definitely. I’m not sure if any man has been asked to, “get up, turn around, and show your ass” (as one of my jewelers did when I was just starting out). Being hit on by the setter when you’re just waiting for the job to be finished was another unfortunate incident.
What is one piece of advice you would tell yourself at the beginning of your business if you could go back in time and do so?
Think twice before you speak.
If someone buys one piece from your line what should it be and why?
I really love the Tits and Ass Ring Set, especially the look of the two rings stacked together; a gold one with diamond nipples and a separate enameled one. The look like a Louise Bourgeois sculpture. But it’s hard to resist a really dainty piece that I never take off: my platinum and diamond pave Endless Love Ring, or the ‘Mrs’ Ring (even thought I’m divorced). My new Tiny Letter “N” Pendant is a favorite too. So are the Diamond Rose Earrings. There are too many to exclude.
What do you do for fun? Do you give yourself a proper day’s off or do you steal minutes here and there?
I try. I try not to answer any work emails on the weekends. Spending time in the company of my friends is fun and I’m taking pottery classes at the moment, so that’s keeping me busy. I love working with my hands.
Who or what do you find inspiring? Have they evolved throughout the years?
Art and the fashion on the streets are big inspirations. My interpretations are constantly changing though (which is a good thing).
What does your workspace look like? Do you have to be at your desk for inspiration or do you find that confines you?
My office is spacious and light with tons of art around, plants, and a huge desk. I like to spread all my work out in piles rather than using trays. My desk moves as I sketch. I think about work everywhere I go. Running in Prospect Park, as I do most days, is particularly helpful. The B train in the middle of the day, when it’s empty and quiet, is also a good place.
What is one thing you’re yet to accomplish that you feel called to do?
I don’t feel precisely ‘called upon’ but designing is just part of who I am. It’s how I think. I’m constantly designing in my head, even if certain ideas don’t go any further.
You can purchase Nora’s beautiful line here and follow her on Instagram for updates here. Thank you so much for reading along. This was such an exciting interview to feature first and I can’t wait to share next week’s with you.