Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born in Houston, TX and lived here until I was 9 when I moved to upstate New York. I went to college in Louisiana and made my way back to Houston, where I have lived since 2008.
What did you do career wise before starting your brand?
I am a Graduate Gemologist and worked for my family's fine jewelry store, Almaza Jewelers. I did it all there: sales, designing, appraising, you name it.
Describe your brand. When did you launch? Where are you based? Why did you start it?The idea for Casual Carats really was a fluke. It came about in 2018 and I launched my brand in 2019. A friend of mine wore a silicone wedding band to work out in and I told her I wanted one. She gave me one and so to reciprocate I got her one that had a rhinestone in it. I bought myself the same one, and it was like a cheesy friendship ring for the two of us. Haha. Well, within five minutes of wearing mine the rhinestone fell out...bummer! I thought to myself "I really liked the band with some sparkle to it. How can I set a diamond in here?" It was a challenge I gave myself but I knew it was feasible. I have had so much fun with my line as it is meant to be casual, playful, and approachable. My family's jewelry store is top notch (my dad is an award-winning jeweler) but I wanted to create a line that a younger clientele would be drawn to and could afford. I also saw so much jewelry out there that was for dressy occasions and with the pandemic no one was going anywhere. My line really took off during the pandemic because everyone was in quarantine with their jewelry locked up in the safe. We nicknamed our rings "the Covid couture rings" and our jewelry as "Covid-friendly."
Congratulations on launching your latest collection! What was your inspiration? Favorite piece(s)?
Thank you so much! My inspiration was from my clients who expressed their love of my rings and kept requesting other pieces. There is nothing more gratifying that creating something for someone to wear, and not just once in awhile for special occasions, but all the time.