Design of the Times: Ladan & Tania Shayan, SHAY

Launched in 2002, SHAY is an eclectic fine jewelry brand that celebrates the different sides of a woman’s personality. Los Angeles native mother-daughter duo Ladan and Tania Shayan has created a collection of sophisticated and classic styles that do not sacrifice fun and glamor.

The duo has channeled its passion of runway fashion and laid-back California style into handmade jewelry made from precious diamonds and gemstones set in 18-karat gold and platinum. These pieces are made to be stacked, layered, and mixed-and-matched for a versatile jewelry collection that can go from the office to a night out.

Below, the designers describe what it’s like working side by side as family members, their vision for the brand, their design process, and more.


What was your initial inspiration for starting your brand?

We saw a void in the market for cool, trendy, but still wearable jewelry, & that’s something we both knew we could change. We wanted to create jewelry that we would both wear & through this, we evolved into what SHAY is today.

How would you describe your style?

SHAY is known for its edge and us of geometric shapes, as well as Victorian and Art Deco inspired designs. Its style is rather eclectic – the designs feature both delicate and bold, chunky pieces; dainty, feminine, and classic, as well as modern and trendy. Again, this taps into the different sides of a woman’s personality – edgy, soft, professional, fun, artistic.

How did you decide to enter the jewelry industry together?

My mom and I have always been extremely close, and a love of fashion was always something we shared. In high school, I started playing around with making my own bracelets, and it was something we both naturally gravitated towards. Our very first pieces was a version of a link bracelet which is now a staple in the line! Luckily she and I share a similar aesthetic and love for layering! In all seriousness, I have a very supportive mother who saw and also shared my interest in something and really allowed me to turn it into a career. I couldn’t have done it without her!

What is it like working with your mom/daughter?

It’s second nature for us! We love spending time together and have managed to incorporate business into pleasure with amazing travel. Whether it’s trips to Paris, Asia or something relaxing and tropical, we find inspiration wherever we go. For example, one of our most recent trips was to the Middle East, and after observing all the amazing talismans there, we wanted to incorporate our own version of an Evil Eye into the collection.

What’s your advice for other designers that work side-by-side rather than singularly?

Always listen to what your business partner has to say.

Are the two of you more similar or opposite in personality and style?

Similar. We share & wear everything. My mom isn’t just my mom; she is my best friend.

Describe your target audience.

Our target audience reflects between ourselves. Our age group ranges from 25 through 60. But it doesn’t stop there. Age is nothing but a number. SHAY is to be worn every day at every age. It’s jewelry that can be worn dressed down or dressed up. Our jewelry is a part of your everyday life; you’ll never feel the need to take it off.

Can you give us an idea of what your design process is like?

The design process starts with both Tania & Ladan coming up with an idea.  Then we sit down together & begin to sketch it out until its perfect it. We go through many different sketches until we reach the final sketch.

Once it’s sketched out we begin to produce it & then from there we keep making changes until we’ve mastered the perfect design.

Not only does the aesthetic of the piece must be perfect but also the fit & feel. It should be comfortable & that isn’t going to bother them. For instance, when we are creating a new choker it has to look beautiful & make a great statement while also having the right amount of elastic to be comfortable on your neck so you don’t get sick of wearing it.

Have you noticed a shift in consumer attitudes since your launch in 2002?

When we first began in 2002 we were a high-end fashion jewelry brand. Our price margin back then ranged from $300 to $2,000.

Today there’s a much larger market for our type of jewelry which wasn’t there before. Before when it came to fine jewelry everyone was only into the brand names such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels.

SHAY has entered a marketplace for people to invest in high-end jewelry where they are wearing it every day, whereas before we feel like the tone was set to fine jewelry only being worn for special occasions.

Since our launch in 2002, we have grown & established a clientele whose price margin has increased significantly.  It’s not even about that though. Every day we come to work with the mentality that we are connecting our clientele with a beautiful piece of jewelry that they will always wear. Our customers are taking home a piece of us that they cherish for the rest of their lives.

Tell us about the collections you showcased at JCK and Luxury.

This year we presented our Dot-Dash Gemstone & Diamond collection. This collection is absolutely stunning & has been selling well for us. The collection is a mix of bezel & baguette gemstone & or diamonds. We have incorporated this pattern & produced rings, earrings & necklaces from it.

All our jewelry is made from 18K yellow, white, rose and even blackened gold, which allows for every woman to find something that matches their jewelry wardrobe. Our collections are as follows…

Would you like to expand the availability of your collections?

SHAY is found throughout the US & in Europe in stores, such as Browns, London Jewelers, Saks 5th Avenue. We’re available online as well. Of course, we want to continue growing our company, however, we don’t want to over extend our brand. What makes our jewelry so unique is that every piece is handmade to order for every customer. SHAY is sold exclusively to high end boutiques & specialty jewelry stores. We’re not going to be found in every single jewelry store.

What are you most looking forward to at JCK 2019?

Seeing all the people & companies from around the world brought together under one roof all to celebrate the love of jewelry.

To learn more about SHAY, visit their website.


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