Upon entering ROCKS by Jolie B. Ray in Armonk on a late winter day, the snow is lightly falling outside, giving the shop the appearance of a literal jewel box in a snow globe. The cozy, well curated space dazzles with eye candy from the glittering jewels in the shelves to the art on the walls.
Tanya Tochner, the polished owner, greets customers as she artfully arranges jewelry in amethyst toned displays.
In a town that’s experiencing its own renaissance of sorts, ROCKS is a mainstay, offering consistently on-trend, yet unique jewelry to a loyal customer base for almost seven years. For Tochner, who’s designed jewelry with partner Marjorie Troob for over ten years, opening the shop was a natural progression in providing a higher level of service to her clients. She recounts the shop’s inception, saying, “My design partner and I shared a passion for fine jewelry and left successful corporate careers to pursue our creative interests. Our line, Jolie B. Ray, named for our children, Joshua, Lindsay, Ben and Rachel, was born. Recognizable for its contemporary, timeless designs that incorporate hammered looks, intricate mixed metal work with 18k gold and beautiful gemstones, Jolie B. Ray quickly grew a cult-like following. ROCKS was the logical next step and is now the exclusive provider of our collections.”
ROCKS is renowned for its concierge style approach and carrying uncommon, contemporary, artistic jewelry. Tochner painstakingly scouts couture shows around the country to handpick the designers that will be displayed alongside the Jolie B. Ray designs. Though there are some staples, approximately 20 new lines are added each season at all price points. “We seldom carry the same items twice and work with clients to carefully select just the right piece. If that perfect piece is not in the shop, we will source it and follow-up to ensure satisfaction,” she asserts.
As a jewelry designer, Tochner is adept at forecasting the trends her discerning clientele will crave. In 2018 she predicts, “Younger customers are becoming quite sophisticated, gravitating towards dainty rings and necklaces and little hoop earrings. Similarly, women are layering contemporary jewelry and long necklaces with their more traditional pieces.” Customization is also fashionable with women favoring a more modern take on name plates, while tweens and teens are incorporating monograms within their designs. “Women are now buying multi-functional jewelry,” Tochner adds, “We are veering away from pieces that are solely for special occasions.”
Seeing jewelry as an expression of art, the shop also functions as a gallery. Tochner uses the same discerning eye to select contemporary artists that are in synchrony with ROCKS aesthetic to grace the walls. “The high ceilings of the space simply lent themselves to functioning as a gallery. Jewelry is a form of wearable art and follows similar sensibilities. Curating the gallery is a natural extension of our product offerings and appeal to our customers’ creative expressions.”
It is this holistic approach to servicing the community that also extends to Tochner’s commitment to making the shop accessible for philanthropic endeavors. ROCKS regularly hosts events benefitting local organizations close to her clients’ hearts such as Kids Kloset, a Westchester Jewish Community Services program and the Pleasantville Cottage School, a residential treatment center for young people.
And that community is expanding. Tochner clarifies, “Armonk has become a destination town, boasting many new shops and restaurants. We are enjoying traffic from our neighbors in Bedford, Katonah, Greenwich and Chappaqua.” With the advantages of its setting, also come the challenges of operating a business in a suburban environment. “Business in the suburbs is cyclical,” Tochner says. “Summers, when many children are away in camp, can be slow. Similarly, snow days are quiet. These are issues that NYC retailers don’t experience.”
To combat the challenges inherent in any retail business, Tochner is continuously evolving the shop’s business model. The website, for example, was recently revamped to optimize clients’ virtual shopping experience on those slow summer and snow days. In response to demand, Tochner also now provides liaison services to coordinate the sale of customers’ estate jewelry and is providing jewelry rental for special occasions. These services join ROCKS’ existing menu of offerings including wish lists, heirloom jewelry redesign, repairs for both costume and fine jewelry and personal shopping.
Visit ROCKS by Jolie B. Ray to enjoy an unparalleled shopping experience. For the latest product offerings and jewelry trends, follow them on Instagram, Facebook or visit www.rocksbyjoliebray.com.