By Jean Sheff
Mommy & Me classes have inspired playdates, friendships and yes, even businesses. Unknown to each other, Chappaqua moms Marjorie Troob and Tanya Tochner signed up for a Mommy & Me class at Temple Beth El. Neither had any idea that they would find not only a pleasant gathering of mothers and babies, but a future business partner as well.
The conversation started as many do; two moms looking for something to complement their full-time job as a mom. Troob and Tochner, with business and marketing backgrounds, took the discussion one step further. “We were both looking for a business adventure,” says Troob. “And we realized we both had a passion for fine jewelry,” added Tochner.
They put their ambition and talent together and their jewelry line, Rocks by Jolie B. Ray was born.
The name of their business is a loose conglomeration of their children’s names. Tochner is mom to Joshua, 8, and Lindsay, 10 and Troob is mom to Ben, 10, and Rachel, 12. Take the beginning part of the children’s names and you have Jolie B. Ray.
They started off modestly. “We had a “studio” in Chappaqua,” says Tochner. There, they designed their wares, held private appointments with clients and planned local trunk shows. “Owning a full retail operation wasn’t even on our radar,” says Troob. Yet, after five years, a vacant shop found them. “It was really a natural evolution,” says Tochner. Their new shop, Rocks by Jolie B. Ray is located at 378 Main Street in Armonk in the same shopping strip as Restaurant North and Tazza Café. Smack dab in the middle of town, they couldn’t ask for a better location.
They’ve made the space their own through a rigorous and careful renovation. “We gutted and renovated the entire space,” says Tochner. “We didn’t want it to be a traditional jewelry store,” adds Troob. The result, a fresh, modern space with sleek lines decorated in shades of purple, grey and white puts the focus right where they wanted it–on the jewelry.
They opened their doors in October 2011 and have been putting in the hours and work it takes to run the business since. Hiring a shop manager and some retail assistants has helped them juggle their multiple roles as mom, wife, designer and business owner. The shop carries their line, Jolie B. Ray, as well as other designers such as Lika Behar, Suzy Landa, Megan Thorne and Anne Ruth Henrickson They frequent trade shows, not only to promote the Jolie B. Ray brand, but also to look for other designers that they’d like to feature in the shop.
Something for Everyone
They carry an inventory of several price points. You can find pieces from a modest $25 and up. There’s a sizable collection of gold and silver jewelry, some with semi-precious stones, as well as a stunning diamond collection. “All the jewelry we sell is made in the U.S.A.,” says Tochner. The shop is popular for bar/bat mitzvah and birthday gifts for the younger generation, for adults looking for a piece to finish off a special outfit or husbands looking to surprise a loving wife. “Men understand the value of diamonds,” says Tochner with a smile. They have also introduced a fine candle and scarf line and are planning to carry other designers, gift items and perhaps, even watches soon. The shop also offers monogramming service and can repair, remount or reset jewelry as well.
When asked how their families are reacting to their new roles as business owners, the women share a smile. “For the kids, it depends on the day,” says Tochner. “The girls have taken to it,” adds Troob. The husbands get a pat on the back for their on-going support and for being available for Saturday parenting duty as that’s a big day in the retail business. While they may be logging in plenty of hours, it also looks like they are having fun, maybe as much, if not more, than that Mommy & Me class offered years ago.
Rocks by Jolie B. Ray
378 Main St., Armonk
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