Top 20 Under 40 - Suzie Chemel and Jennifer Ger
Toronto's Suzie Chemel and Jennifer Ger create Foxy Jewelry for Hollywood's finest (at affordable prices)
Top 20 Under 40- Suzie Chemel and Jennifer Ger
How many people do you know that have successfully executed the business plan they formulated at age nineteen?
Enter Suzie Chemel and Jennifer Ger, the creators behind the popular Toronto-based jewelry brand Foxy Originals. Easily recognizable by their clean lines, bold patterns and statement-making shapes, Foxy pieces have over the years become a permanent fixture in boutiques and fashion magazine spreads, not to mention coveted amongst the celebrity crowd (fans, among others, include Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton). With retailers across Canada, U.S., Australia and beyond, Foxy Originals is easily counted among the most popular jewelry brands out there.
The power duo met in their school days at the University of Western Ontario. After an introduction made through a mutual friend, the pair - who were both a mere nineteen years old at the time - devised a business plan: they would partner up to create designer jewelry at affordable prices. The kicker? They weren’t even friends.
“It was important that we were business partners first,” they explain. “From the get-go, we could lead our discussions with a pragmatic tone. There wasn't a history to tiptoe around.” The friendship, of course, developed soon after, resulting in a resilient relationship they remark - with a smile - is in many ways like a marriage.
Thirteen years later, Suzie and Jen are still going strong. The twosome head Foxy with an eye for originality and, refreshingly, a passion for social change.
“Social awareness and contributing to the community are things that are deeply tied to both of our value systems,” Jen says. Foxy has worked with many charitable partners, most recently designing a necklace for Plan Canada’s Because I Am A Girl initiative, a campaign that raises funds to support female education in developing countries. Foxy is also committed to the environment, using non-toxic solvents in production, making sure to recycle metal, and manufacturing pieces locally in order to reduce pollution associated with overseas transport.
“While some people separate business from personal activities, we both are firm believers in the idea that what you do in your business says a lot about who you are,” says Jen, adding that they mean to set an example for others.
Both Suzie and Jen travel frequently, bringing back with them fresh ideas for upcoming jewelry lines. And when they’re not working or travelling?
“I just signed up for a class in encaustic painting,” says Jen. “Although our work at Foxy is creative, I still love to explore other mediums.”
“I love taking advantage of the cultures of the city,” says Suzie of Toronto. “The ethnic cuisine, the galleries and museums...I'm thrilled to live in a city where there is literally something interesting happening every weekend.”
Like celebrity spotting, perhaps? “We once met Sienna Miller in Yorkville wearing our Dusk earrings. She was actually really sweet and even posed for a photo.” Just add her to the ever-growing list of Foxy admirers.
To check out Suzie and Jen’s jewelry, visit www.foxyoriginals.com.
Shalom Life is currently searching for the best and brightest Jews under 40 in New York who have gained recognition in business, entertainment, philanthropy, technology and more. Please send suggestions to top20NY@shalomlife.com