We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Meng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
The most important lesson is recognizing that businesses and markets can vary greatly and the ability to be aware of this will help you with your success. Understanding your business needs should inform you in seeking out information that will be truly helpful. Advice and knowledge also vary drastically in quality, and it’s easy to get sidetracked or forget to filter the information that is nowadays very accessible. It’s more of a guarantee to stay methodical, focused, and to seek advice after you’ve come up with specific questions that will give you meaningful answers.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ready-Made is a high-tech, minimal jewelry brand that makes pieces that are eco-friendly, skin-safe, with a fine jewelry look and feel — all at more affordable price points. We’re also very experience focused, emphasizing an authentic online community and fun packaging. A big part of the business is informing potential customers about what sets us apart. We’re working with untraditional materials and advanced technology with a sustainability angle, and we need to distill our processes down so it’s easy to understand. Jewelry in itself is kind of a challenging territory to navigate in terms of information. Even traditional terminology like “gold filled” and “vermeil” and “clear coating” is confusing, so we spend a lot of time educating customers on the traditional side of things as well. I must say that I’m excited about this aspect of the business for 2021 as we amp up our information platform (MOTHERSHIP) with articles and interactive content. I think one of the main things that got Ready-Made to where it is today is that I was able to see the longevity of the brand and business. I had a good idea from the beginning on what was already setting us apart from other jewelry brands, and how we could continue to be unique. There was something instinctual about making products that people would like to buy. I admit it took a lot of trial and error to get here, as I had two previous jewelry brands (albeit vastly different) before Ready-Made — but the main difference this time was that I was able to recognize that I was making products that customers actually liked and needed, instead of focusing entirely on branding or focusing all efforts on jewelry styles that hadn’t been researched and that only I was attracted to.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m going to say this friend is coming from somewhere cold, as I’m from the East Coast. And there’s no COVID-19. So, first and foremost — a park for some sunshine shortly after they land. There are a few niche little parks dotted around Los Angeles, but I think I’d take them to Central Park in Pasadena to show off the obese squirrels. We’ll probably get Fishwives for dinner. They’ve got the freshest seafood. The next day, we’ll get coffee at Copa Vida in Old Town Pasadena and then go for a hike on Angeles Crest. At noon, we’ll make our way to DTLA and visit The Last Bookstore. We’ll get ramen and Octopus balls for lunch at Daikokuya, and then walk around Little Tokyo, maybe visit one of the Japanese gardens. Taco truck dinner, and then drinks at Redbird. The rest of the week, I’d want to show them around Los Feliz, visit Skylight Books and get a bite at Figaro Bistrot. We would definitely check out the Broad Museum and Hauser and Wirth in the Arts District (they’ve got a cool bookstore). If it’s the second Sunday of the month, I’m taking my friend to the Rose Bowl for the largest vintage outdoor market I’ve ever laid eyes on (there’s clothing jewelry, furniture, art, objects… there’s everything, but go early — before 9 am is best). If they’re not tired of all the museums, then I’ll lead the way to LACMA and while we’re at it, take a trek down Fairfax. If the ocean is a must, there’s nothing more LA than Santa Monica pier with the Ferris wheel, but if we want to roast marshmallows, we’d go to Dockweiler Beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout first and foremost to my partner in life, Jeff, who happens to be the founder of LA-based brand INVENTERY (www.inventery.co). There are two people who have been with Ready-Made since the very beginning, and that’s LA-based hairstylist Desireé (@tressreliever) and LA-based makeup artist Gabi (@thegabriellealvarez). Also, big shoutout to my team at Ready-Made.