Is this the new Carrie nameplate?!
I met Alan Lazowski when I went to the Miraval Spa in the Berkshires with Ellie for a couple of days to unwind from my book tour. He and his brothers David and Barry were in bathrobes and clearly enjoying some male bonding time. We started chatting and he told me about his daughter Jesse Lazowski’s jewelry company, Marlo Laz. It was so crazy because Ellie had just told me about some jewelry she loved…by Marlo Laz!
He gifted us two pieces…how generous, and perfect timing with my birthday around the corner! And I got to know his daughter, just as her Spiked Heart Pavé Necklace showed up on Carrie Bradshaw in And Just Like That! (She also has some beaded necklaces featured on the show!) Her career is taking off, so I asked her about her business, what inspires her, and how it felt to see her work on the much-anticipated new Sex and the City series.
KC: Jesse, when did you become interested in jewelry design?
JL: I have loved jewelry for as long as I can remember. My mom taught me how to bead necklaces when I was a young girl, and we used to spend hours beading together. That eventually led to my first jewelry line, Shopgirl, which I started at the age of 13 and sold locally in my hometown of West Hartford, CT. Everything has come full circle since now I truly am a shopgirl!
Around the same time, my grandparents gave me a brooch that belonged to my great grandmother and Holocaust survivor Miriam, who I’m named after (the M in my middle name Marlo comes from her name). I wanted to turn it into something I would wear more often and refashioned it into a necklace. I guess you could say that it was my first foray into fine jewelry, and I was hooked from that point on.
Later, when I was in my 20s and attending university in Paris — where I lived and studied for three years — I went on a mother-daughter trip to India. I was especially inspired by the country’s jewelry capital, Jaipur, and ended up creating my first capsule collection there alongside local artisans. I haven’t looked back since!
What kind of training did you have to have to open up your store?
After graduating from university in Paris with a degree in art history and communications, I studied jewelry design at the Gemological Institute of America in New York and launched Marlo Laz in 2014 when I was 24 years old.
From the year we launched, we started to get into one great store after the next, and things grew from there. When we celebrated the brand’s seventh anniversary, I decided it was the right time to open our flagship store in Manhattan, where all of our jewelry has been made since the beginning. I’ve always loved the West Village and thought it was the perfect place for our store — my first internship was with Cynthia Rowley on Bleecker Street, and it’s pretty amazing to have a store on the same street 15 years later!
There is so much life and inspiration behind the brand and in every piece of jewelry that I wanted to use the store as an opportunity to share the spirit of the brand with everyone who sees it — whether they visit us in person or see images of it elsewhere. I love meeting the clients who stop by, hearing their stories and seeing how they wear the jewelry, so you’ll often find me in the store. My mom is an incredibly talented interior designer, and we designed it together, which was a special experience.
How would you describe your jewelry?
Our jewelry is meant to be inspirational. Many of our pieces are talismans infused with good energy, that you can carry along with you on a daily basis. Our Agape collection celebrates love, for example, and our signature Porte Bonheur charms are tokens of good luck.
In terms of aesthetic, I like to say our pieces are bohemian in spirit, but timeless in design.
There seem to be a lot of jewelry companies out there. What makes your creations unique?
I think people feel the authenticity behind the brand and the messages the jewelry conveys. Our signature Porte Bonheur piece means, “I bring good luck and happiness,” which is what Marlo Laz is all about — the idea of spreading good things to all those you encounter and calling positivity into existence. I recently added the Spanish and Italian versions to the collection — Buena Suerte and Porta Fortuna — as a way for people to travel through jewelry at a time when we couldn’t physically, and to connect them to fond memories of places or languages that are meaningful to them. There’s always a lot of thought that goes into each piece — not only in design but in the significance — and that resonates with many people.
And where do you get your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from all over the world — from the far East to the American Southwest and beyond. I’ve visited over 40 countries, so you will see a lot of inspiration from travel throughout the collections, like pink and orange color palettes made up of pink tourmalines and orange sapphires as a nod to the Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s terrace in Mexico City.
I’m also deeply inspired by trailblazing women throughout history, like you!
How did you connect with the folks from And Just Like That?
The costume designers (the brilliant Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago) requested some pieces from Marlo Laz. For those who aren’t familiar, stylists or costume designers will call in a whole slew of pieces to select from, with absolutely no guarantee that something will be placed. So, we were excited when we heard pieces had been requested, but cautiously so.
What was your reaction when you learned Carrie was going to wear your heart necklace?
Molly and Danny couldn’t disclose anything to us during filming, so we had no clue if she was actually going to wear it! We kept our eyes out for sneak peeks in paparazzi photos, but when filming wrapped and we hadn’t spotted the necklace, we assumed it wasn’t happening. We found out with the rest of the world when the trailer was released and the heart was featured!
I was in Miami with two of my best friends, Leigh and Rachel, when my phone finally turned on after having been dead for hours. I read them the message that I had received telling me to watch the trailer and we all started screaming in excitement!!
Now Vogue has written about it! Carrie’s nameplate necklace had always been so significant. Are you hoping this one will be a ubiquitous feature on the series?
I would love that! Beyond the fact that it would be amazing to be the next “Carrie Necklace,” this piece has a meaning that emulates Carrie Bradshaw’s spirit. Those of us who have seen all of Sex and the City have watched Carrie move through the highs and lows of all different types of relationships — relationships with her close friends, with men, but most importantly the relationship with herself. Hearts are an incredibly powerful symbol, and many women are purchasing heart jewelry as the ultimate emblem of self-love. So seeing Carrie wear the necklace at this time in her life really brings that home. It makes me think of one of my favorite lines of hers from the original show: “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”
The price point is pretty high…would you consider making less expensive pieces down the road?
One of the reasons I launched our Stella Mare home collection is so that we could offer a wider range of products from the Marlo Laz world. I would love for the brand to be accessible to a larger group of people, so we are always looking for new ways to make that possible.
Any advice for entrepreneurs like you who are following their dreams?
I’ve been so fortunate to have my dad, who is such an inspiring entrepreneur, as my mentor. He has taught me that first and foremost, we should bring our humanity to the forefront in every instance, and in business to always treat people with respect. It’s amazing how great business relationships can be when you approach people with kindness and compassion, and it makes the whole experience worthwhile.
He always told me that there are no problems, only solutions, and although it’s a bit of a cliché, I think that’s the single best piece of advice I’ve ever received. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly having to find creative solutions to things, and it’s important to not get stuck in the drama of it all and find a way to make things work!
And probably the biggest one of all — he taught me never ever give up!