We had the good fortune of connecting with Shae Stein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shae, what is the most important factor behind your success?
This is a hard question because I cannot pin the success of our brand on any one factor. The elements that drove us (my wife and I) to success include our individual skillsets, passion and the desperation to simply be with the one we love.
The partnership that my wife and I created with this business is mainly built on opposing qualities. I am rather unrestrained and inventive when it comes to all aspects of the company and design whereas she is more down to earth and business minded. It is the perfect storm of knowledge and innovation coming together and allowing us to take calculated risks to help us learn and grow our brand to something unique.
Marou and I created this brand from nothing. No money, no connections, just our determination and the ability to utilize a booming market of e-commerce and social media. In fact, we were 5000 miles apart when we started the brand over Facetime. Being from different continents, we knew this was the best way to follow our passion and most importantly create the financial independence we needed to travel to see each other and to have a future together. We took a risk and invested every dollar we had in this passion project. We are lucky to say we are now married and living together in LA. The brand grew faster than we could have ever imagined. Today we own 100% of your own brand and are not constrained to the controls of shareholders and/or bosses. We make what we want and we can do it from wherever we want on the planet.
Our success so far has been met because of great partnership, dedication and a few risky, but necessary decisions. At the end of the day the biggest and most important drive was financial and creative freedom. We needed a way to be together, so we worked for it day and night. Now the possibilities are endless. As a designer, that has always been the dream.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I have always been the person that goes against the grain. I grew up in a small town in Montana miles away from good taste and fashion. Most people belittled my artistic abilities to my face. My bosses, teachers and even some friends told me art wouldn’t make me any money and I wouldn’t be successful. I thrive on it. I love being told I cant do something. It makes me more motivated and determined to make something work. This was my mind set when I started my jewelry company.
I have always been heavily inspired by Italian renaissance art and all eras of art history. I love subtly remixing this inspiration with a modern twist to give my designs and jewelry an elevated vibe that is easily digested and wearable for anyone. My modern influences come from video games, music and media that usually have a heavy gothic vibe. Our brand shows this by evoking both a little bit luxury and edge all in one.
It is very important to me that people understand our brand and have an emotional connection with our designs. That is why I spend a lot of time on the branding of our company. You can see all the influences I mentioned in every design that I create. A combination of hard-soft/ industrial-detailed and luxury-punk.
I like to believe that you can easily recognise a custom RARE-ROMANCE piece because of this unique style. Even with the simplest jewelry piece.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We just moved to the city right on the tail of the pandemic about 4 months ago. Unfortunately, we have been working/traveling so much that we barely had time to enjoy all LA has to offer.
If anything, I would say I’ll take my friends to the places that inspired me the most so far. That will be everything fashion related from Dover Street market to Melrose ave and Rodeo drive. After, they will have to accompany me in my search for the best cup of coffee in LA. I am quite the coffee drinker and I’m always open to try out a new café. My wife and I also enjoy the occasional walk up Runyon Canyon. We live right at the foot of the hill and it is the perfect way to clear our heads. The view won’t disappoint our friends for sure at the end of an adventurous day.
I can’t wait to discover more interesting places to eat/ drink/ shop and be inspired by soon!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We are a family first brand. Without family and friends we wouldn’t be were we are today.
First of all, I have to thank my cousin Stephen and his wife Abbey. They took me in their New York apartment when I had nowhere else to live. They helped form the person/ artist I am today and I know I will always be able to count on them.
My parents-in-law are also amazing people. Marou’s father, Kurt, helps us out every day with customer service. He filters through and answers emails when we can’t handle the workload. He does this all after his regular working hours and it really is a big help for us.
My mother-in-law, Annick, is always there to support us emotionally. I often find myself overwhelmed and I feel blessed to have someone that creates a peaceful place with great food we can escape to.
Marou’s grandparents also have a special place in my heart. They transformed their attic into an office space we can use whenever we are in Europe. Their interest in art and culture inspires me every day. Their genuine believe in the brand gives me the confidence I need to take my brand to the next level.
And of course, my beautiful wife, Marou. Quite simply, this brand wouldn’t be possible without her patience and skills. I’m so grateful I get to work with the person I love most every day. I know I’m not always the easiest person to deal with, yet somehow we make the perfect team in every aspect of our life.