10 Minutes With…Ali Galgano, Founder/CEO, Charm & Chain

Charm and Chain founder and CEO  Ali Galgano

Charm and Chain founder and CEO Ali Galgano

Charm & Chain was founded in 2008 with the aspiration of “bringing beautiful and unique designer jewelry online at a time when no one else was doing that.” The site was soon named “Best of the Web” by InStyle and “Sweetest Thing of 2009” by DailyCandy. It was also nominated for a Retail Rising Star Award by Fashion Group International. Charm & Chain currently features more than 50 well-known and emerging designers across a wide range of pricepoints and has started working with bloggers and other stylemakers.

Accessories caught up with Founder and CEO Alexandra (Ali) Galgano to discuss jewelry trends and the site’s growing collaboration program.

How did you get started?

I worked in financial services out of college but quickly realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, so I enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America with hopes of becoming an expert in jewelry. I had always collected statement-making jewelry that I came across in New York boutiques and my travels. I consistently received compliments on them, so it was natural to establish a way of sharing my finds.

What is the scope of the site?

The majority of our selection falls under the fashion jewelry category, however we carry fine jewelry and hair pieces and recently introduced a line of exclusive jewelry boxes. We are also open to new categories in the future. Prices run from under $100 to about $4,000.

What new vendors have you added recently?

We’re really excited to launch some new fine jewelers on our site, including Alexa Leigh, Kacey K, and Emily & Ashley. We’re also bringing on popular bridge jewelry designer Jennifer Zeuner and hand-made statement jewelry designer Dolores Petunia. Lionette and Deepa Gurnani are also new for fall.

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How did the Kaleidoscope Collection came about?

This recent collaboration with five of our veteran designers commemorated our 5-year anniversary. Alexis Bittar, Dannijo, Erickson Beamon, Lizzie Fortunato and Lulu Frost created exclusive styles inspired by kaleidoscopic imagery and Jason Pickens designed a line of coinciding jewelry boxes. I chose the kaleidoscope as the inspiration as we look for many of those qualities in our jewelry: color, pattern, geometry, uniqueness and a visually satisfying experience. We plan to launch more collaborations.

What are the biggest trend shifts you’re seeing?

I can’t overstate how exciting it is to see all the new (and rediscovered) forms of jewelry today. The mentality with jewelry right now is not to update classic jewelry forms but rather to discover new ways of accessorizing—think body chains, head pieces, hand pieces, ear cuffs, midi rings and more. These aren’t trends but rather discoveries of self adornment. Chokers are another trend we are calling out on our site.

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How about best-sellers?

Right now, our customers are loving double-sided studs, pearls, stackable bracelets and midi rings, however, statement necklaces, chandelier earrings and monogram pieces are consistently best sellers. I think a lot of these new styles—ear cuffs, ear jackets, double sided studs, hand pieces—will continue on for another couple seasons, if not longer.

How do you follow and incorporate street style?

Street style is an extremely important source of inspiration for us as it is essentially runway style filtered to reflect the needs and desires of the modern woman. We love seeing how people work jewelry into their looks and what pieces are resonating with them at a given moment. The #ARMEDWITHCHARM hashtag lets consumers post photos of themselves in our gallery. Today shoppers are gleaning a lot of inspiration from bloggers—especially on Instagram—so it’s important to keep abreast of styles trending in that space. We do, however, also keep track of what’s trending on the red carpets and consider that when making our buys.

Untitled-2 - CopyInstagram galleryWhich runways inspire you the most?

We’re consistently inspired by the jewelry at Chanel, Dior and Lanvin. These three designers always impress with their avant-garde yet trendsetting baubles, and this fall was no different. Marni and Dries [Van Noten] always show an impressive display of statement jewelry that we can’t help but ogle. My favorite statements from the upcoming season are the one-earring look at Louis Vuitton and the gold arm and ankle cuffs at Mara Hoffman.

What colors are hot now?

We bought into many pieces in Radiant Orchid for spring and will continue to carry pieces in this hue. Blues and greens are best-selling colors, so we’re always buying into turquoise, sapphire and emerald.

What are you planning for the holiday season?

We’re loving stars, cameos, pearls and rich jewel tones for the upcoming holiday season. We’ll also definitely continue selling many of our spring trends: midi rings, ear cuffs, collars and the like.

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Lauren Parker

Lauren Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Accessories Magazine

As Editor-in-Chief of Accessories Magazine for the past 12 years, Lauren Parker has covered accessories both from a retail business perspective and a fashion point of view. In previous full-time magazine jobs and freelance gigs, she’s written about practically every angle of fashion lifestyle living, including accessories, fine jewelry, Caribbean travel, private jets, Hampton’s real estate, the New York art scene, the bridal industry, men’s lifestyle and being a mom. She loves meeting designers and seeing how their latest offerings capture the current zeitgeist and fit into the entire cultural and social picture.