We are not gonna lie we are women who like the finer things in life and obviously that includes a passion for receiving and giving fine jewelry. Enter TOVE a new fine jewelry start up out of San Francisco. Their tagline is “give good jewelry” - now that is a message we can get behind. So we interviewed the founder Jenna about her passion for the industry and inspiration for the company. Now let's all rally behind giving and getting better jewelry.
Tell us about your background?
We’re a couple who live + work in the Mission in San Francisco. We met at Purdue University where I studied Fashion Merchandising and Nic (my boyfriend + cofounder) got a Masters in Multidisciplinary Engineering and Entrepreneurship. I had previously attended F.I.T. and spent time in the Accessories Closet at Elle (I believe this is was the inception of my love for fine jewelry). After that I spent my time working in tech startups, and Nic has done the same.
Why did you decide to start Tove?
Nic and I always talked about starting our own company. In fact we shared our entrepreneurial aspirations with each other on our first date. Ever since, we have been brainstorming different ideas and business plans. I had this idea for on-demand jewelry gifts, you know for all the times the boyfriend / fiance / husband messed up and forgot the anniversary or other special occasion. I wanted to create a solution that not only made it easy for the guy, but satisfied the woman’s desire to be surprised with something extra special.
A few months and many conversations later, the idea for Tove kept evolving and becoming clarified. The light bulb finally turned on when Nic went shopping for my birthday gift. He surprised me with a beautiful set of pearl earrings but his shopping experience for them was difficult.
After hours of research online, he decided on white south sea pearl earrings. He asked his mom and grandmothers where to find them. They pointed him to nearby department stores. None of the sales people knew where the pearls were from, if they were even freshwater or saltwater, nor were they helpful in the style department either. He left empty handed and disappointed. The experience was equally bad when he tried to find something online.
From there on out, we’ve been building a beautiful, meaningful fine jewelry gifting experience called Tove. The name is part of my middle name, which is derived from the word for “good” in Hebrew, hence our tagline: give good jewelry
What has been the hardest part of getting the company up and running?
Probably the juggling act of it all. As a couple, we are not only balancing startup life, but our relationship as well. That being said, we jive like no other and are able to collaborate and execute faster because we are on the same team. We each have our roles and keep to them. This was probably the hardest thing to stick to in the beginning as you want to do whatever you can to get things moving. Now that we’re live, we can each focus on our respective areas of the business.
Why are you passionate about this opportunity?
I want to make a difference and this is an easy place to start. I have always had an eye for design and a passion for the fashion industry. I missed using that part of my brain while working in marketing. The best part about it is pushing an old school industry forward to be approachable for millennials. Just because it’s “fine jewelry” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to understand it. I believe the people should buy jewelry that has a meaning and a story. After all, these pieces have the potential to be future heirlooms.
Our goal for Tove is to constantly improve transparency for this industry by arming the shopper with information about the certification and origin of the materials used in each piece, along with the inspiration behind the design and creator backstory. It’s not just about the gift itself anymore, but also the story behind it. Our generation wants to know more, we’re going to be the one that gives it to them.
Where do you see Tove in five years?
I see Tove as an authoritative destination. Instead of going to a Tiffany’s store, men will be shopping online at Tove. As we scale, our delivery times will get faster and we can help more men who forget about certain special days.
Why do you think fine jewelry startups is an emerging space?
Fine jewelry is an old industry, it hasn’t been disrupted like other fashion verticals. I think fine jewelry is just now being impacted by technology, which only will continue to develop in the future.
Love learning about new brands? See other new brands we have interviewed here...