I read something from another creator recently, they wrote about their brand and how they had a story behind it. Their WHY. It got me thinking… There is so much more to Empire than just gorgeous jewelry pieces that make you feel like a boss B, the confident queen that you are, and more. Empire holds a very special place in my heart because it was created when I was in what felt at the time, one of the lowest points of my life. For those of you that are extra new here, I’m Reyna. The owner, designer, the “all hands on deck” of Empire. I am originally from Hawai’i but have been living in New York for the last three years.
Lets take a blast into the past to 2016, a little less than five years ago. I was just getting out of a toxic relationship that led to domestic abuse. I was 20 at the time and pregnant to my son. I was a single mom— thankfully had a degree under my belt, but I had no plans beyond that. While pregnant and a couple years before that, I spent some time in the airline industry. I had the best job ever working for an FBO on the island of Maui, my role was an excutive concierge which meant working alongside some of the most high profile celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brady, Hugh Hefner (RIP) and more.
Shortly after I had my son, I decided to stay home with him and start working for myself. I had a business in design and another business creating jewelry. Both were extremely successful for awhile, I actually made more than I ever did working for someone else- I had tons of “friends" and I felt proud of myself for being able to provide for me and my son. On that same note---- I had no idea how to run a business on my own, be a mom or really anything of that matter. I was overwhelmed with orders and the reputation of the brand went from AMAZING to well, not so good… really fast. I lacked one HUGE thing that was essentially the most important thing that keeps any business or relationship afloat- communication. I kept telling myself that “I failed” FOR YEARS.. it took me moving to another city, finding myself and a lot of growth to realize those businesses early on in my life were the furthest thing from "a failure”. Infact, the reason I am sitting in my house in New York right now, watching orders roll through at 1:08am is all thanks to that experience.
In 2018, I decided to visit New York for the very first time, aaaaand the rest was history. Really though, I cannot tell you how much I loved exploring Manhattan and being in a completely different part of the world. Less than a month after visiting New York, I moved to the city and haven't looked back. Since then, I met my fiance, had another child and own a growing business— Empire State Jewels.
If you asked me if I imaginged ANY of this even two years ago, I would have laughed and said you're insane. I was in such a dark, unhappy place with myself, my decisions and everything I had faced thus far. My self esteem was shot and I struggled with being confident with myself. Having confidence and loving myself was probably the longest and hardest journey yet, but here I am, now at 25 years old, living and fighting every single day to for all of that.
As a woman, I love feeling GOOD in what I wear. I love new clothes (who doesn’t)? I love a new pair of shoes/heels. And I LOVE my jewelry. Whether its a good staple piece or a dainty piece, I love it all. I dreamt of owning a business where I could express myself, all while making woman feel BEAUTIFUL in quality jewelry.. Which leads me to the story of Empire:
A little backstory on Empires name; When I first moved to the city, the very first building I noticed was the Empire State Building. When I met my fiance, I would express to him all the time that I loved the building and it was something that inspired me. He knew that I loved Empire State Building and actually talked about proposing to me there all the time (pre covid). When it came time to come up with a name for the business, my fiance came up with Empire State Jewels and I thought that it represented my love for the city and jewelry perfectly.
With being just about 9 months young, Empire has grown drastically with almost 6000 followers on Instagram, it has produced over 4000 sales, reached all 50 states as well as 18 different countries. I am BEYOND proud of where this business is going and the achievements it has already made. In the next five years, I plan on bringing atleast one person on my team to assist with marketing and customer service. I want to continue to expand the brand organically through quality content, persistent posts and designing jewelry you will all continue to love. Aside from that, I will be focusing on building my relationship with EMPIRES TEAM of ladies that represent the brand. If you follow Empire, you will see them tagged often, they create content and bring an audience to Empire that I have never seen before, I am forever grateful for them!
My biggest goal for Empire is to have a studio in the heart of Manhattan. A place for Empires jewelry pieces to be showcased, and most importantly- a place I can meet you all. I DREAM of the day that I have a storefront with Empire State Jewels on it, and I know that day will come in due time.
I want to wrap this “introductory” up by thanking every single one of you for being here. Thank you for being the heart of Empire, and being the biggest support system I have ever seen. I am honored, to be the hands behind this brand and seeing you guys LOVE Empire as much as I do. Thank you for allowing me to create, and trusting me to provide quality jewels for you to wear in your every day. I want you to know that this would NOT be possible without you and it wouldn’t mean as much without you being here. So, thank you- from the bottom of my heart, for your love, support & commitment to Empire State Jewels. I hope that you stick with me on this journey and watch this small business grow to be something amazing.
If you need a push of confidence or a boost in the right direction- let this post be your message:
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!! Live your life unapologeticly and do what makes you happy, even if that means moving 6000 miles away ;) Be confident and love yourself, you have ONE LIFE— live it the best you can. I hope that my story can inspire you in some way to be and do whatever sets your heart on fire... Also, a reminder that life happens. Social media is a big facade of the real world, a highlight reel that mainly focuses on all the good things. Accept your flaws and brokenness, because we all have it in us and that is okay.
Sending you all so much and thank you again for the support that you give this brand, I swear, none of it goes unnoticed.
All my love,