Meet Torey Lehman, the Jeweler Making Sustainable Sophisticated
Apr 14, 2020
Our women’s business owners series continues to highlight women doing remarkable work in Brooklyn. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Torey Lehman, the founder of Reigning Grey jewelry—and also its designer.
Torey’s mission is to cater to the independent spirit through unique, modern and sophisticated jewelry designs. Her career as a jewelry maker got started after a move to New York City following her graduation from The Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2010. Her goal? “To change the conversation of female-owned businesses through creating pieces focused on empowerment, inclusion, and individualism.”
For Torey, that’s meant finding unique approaches to her business and e-commerce plans, including a commitment to inclusivity and lower overhead, as well as marketing tools like digital trunk shows, giveaways, and a portion of sales allocated to charitable causes since her line’s launch three years ago when she felt “a surge of inspiration.”
But as most entrepreneurs know, sustaining that inspiration and connection to the work over the long haul is a challenge. How do you stay afloat when being a female business owner is hard enough in the nest of circumstances (much less when dealing with a global pandemic)? “Speaking up and being honest helps so much,” explains Torey. “Recently, I posted asking for help during these hard times. It was my birthday so, in lieu of gifts, I put our entire website on sale for 40% off to celebrate with everyone. I was blown away by how many orders we got in 24 hours! It was the perfect way to celebrate with everyone. I ended 152%+ over last year and [had] more online orders than we ever had seen in a 24-hour period.”
Torey’s relationship with her community is a reciprocal one. One of her most innovative programs is the Reigning Grey Rework. Here’s how Torey explains it: “A pre-paid shipping label along with a 20% off coupon code will be sent via email for you to use to send in any unwanted, old or broken jewelry you wish to donate. These pieces will then be repaired and reworked into new designs named after you. We tag the donator in all stages of the design process—from concept to celebrity photo shoot. We also gift them a 20% off coupon code for participating in the program. I think it’s so important to include community within design processes. Brooklyn has grown me as an artist constantly inspiring me and connecting me with new experiences- something critical to the development of an artist. You can participate in our recyclable program by visiting www.reigninggrey.com/rgr “
Torey’s advice for those considering entering the business world themselves feels especially relevant right now: “Get connected and mentored to help alleviate any stress or help with any unanswered questions you might have. Be open and adaptable and ready to pivot when the ride changes. Nothing is perfect and things can be challenging so help yourself by creating structure and plans. When days are long, take a hot shower and remember tomorrow is always a new day.”
If you’re a woman-identifying Brooklyn business owner who’d like to see your work featured here, please get in touch.