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Why do we handcraft our jewelry in West Kelowna?

Why do we handcraft our jewelry in West Kelowna?

Out of all the possible places to handcraft our jewelry, why did we choose West Kelowna? Could it be the lakefront views? Or perhaps the never ending supply of locally sourced wine and bubbly? Is it the artful community that drew us in?

Before I get into sharing why we chose West Kelowna, I'd love to walk you through how Carolily came to be, why we decided to make and sell jewelry, and where you can shop our pieces locally. 

It all begins with a great love affair of jewelry...

Why did we choose jewelry?

For as long as I can remember, jewelry was an integral part of my life. Growing up, I received heirloom jewelry from my parents and grandparents, passed down through the generations of our family. I wear these pieces, like my great grandma's 25th wedding anniversary ring, with immense pride and love. For special occasions, I have often received a special piece to mark the momentous occasion.

Over the years, Mom told me stories of how her mum and grandma loved pearls and valued the thoughtful intention of wearing jewelry. Her grandma Lily wore them during the war, along with her Regiment Red lipstick, as her suit of armour anytime she left the house. I never had the chance to meet either of them, but their stories stuck with me.

Jewelry was seen as something thoughtful and meaningful in our family. It was a way to express love, share family heritage, mark a special occasion, express our sense of style, or fortify ourselves before a tumultuous day. Jewelry has always gone far beyond a mere accessory to us.

How did we come up with Carolily?

While our company dates back to 2015, our story begins two years before that in the summer of 2013. Mom and I went out for a walk to enjoy the late evening sunshine and warm summer air. It was then that we began talking about the idea of going into business together. Having come from a family of entrepreneurs, I had always intended on going into business for myself and, with Mom being my best friend, it was a natural conversation to have.

We talked at length about what the company might be. The name, Carolily, was decided on before we even knew what we would be selling. Mom had pinned it to her vision board many years prior in celebration of her mum Carol and grandma Lily. Whatever it was we decided on, we would be known as Carolily.

The idea of designing and selling jewelry came easily enough. Mom, an artist in every sense of the word, had been making jewelry since grade school. She even sold her creations throughout her university years to help pay her tuition. With my degree in marketing and experience with all things digital, we decided to focus on creating an online boutique that sold Mom's designs! 

It really was as easy as that. Over the next two years, we worked on our collections, branding and website. By the time December 2015 rolled around, we were ready to launch. With a captivated audience of only a couple hundred people, we opened our virtual doors and began our journey to share the Carolily love with women everywhere.

Why is our jewelry studio in West Kelowna?

The location of our humble jewelry studio often comes as a surprise. When folks hear that we've been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, New York Fashion Week (twice!), Paris Fashion Week and just about every Canadian news outlet you can think of, they assume we live in a metropolitan center. Toronto, is often the first guess. But we live, work and have built our company in West Kelowna, British Columbia!

Back in 2010, after graduating high school, I moved to Kelowna to attend UBC. I had every intention of moving back to the Lower Mainland. But, between a past love, the wineries and Lake Okanagan, I wasn't going anywhere once I completed my degree.

When we launched Carolily, it was originally based back in the Lower Mainland on our family property. A couple years of living apart was all it took for my parents to decide to sell our family home and build in West Kelowna. I'd not only be closer to my parents, but Mom and I would no longer have to work together at a distance.

When my parents built their new home, we decided to include the Carolily studio as part of the build. It would limit our overhead costs, make it easy for Mom to design when inspiration struck, and we could set it up the way we wanted it. An excellent plan at the time, it was even more beneficial when the pandemic hit. We were lucky that, from a business perspective, very little changed for us. Mom and I were able to work as normal and, when things opened up, we were able to welcome our team back to work in-person. It has made the ebbs and flows of small business life more manageable!

Why we handcraft our jewelry in-house

One of the main differentiators between us and other Canadian owned jewelry brands is that we handcraft all of our jewelry in-house from our studio in West Kelowna. While there is nothing wrong with choosing to outsource your jewelry production overseas, it's simply not how we do business. 

Mom designs every piece of Carolily jewelry and then our small team of women artisans handcraft each piece. Having an in-house team allows us to pay our team members a livable wage, maintain ethical businesses practices, ensure quality control, and foster team morale. We take pride in overseeing every aspect of our business because it matters to us. Whether or not you love your jewelry matters to us. Ensuring it was made in a relaxed, welcoming, loving studio matters to us. Cultivating a culture of cooperation, empowerment and joy within our team matters to us. 

We simply couldn't do what we do if our jewelry was crafted elsewhere.

Where to shop our statement jewelry in Kelowna

While our West Kelowna studio is available by appointment only, we have a new showroom in Kelowna that is open 11:00 - 5:00, Tuesday through Saturday, within Most Wanted Luxury Resale.

We have a beautiful assortment of our everyday collections and a few of our one-of-a-kind necklaces, as well! Our showroom is a fabulous opportunity to shop at your leisure without the need of booking an appointment (or traveling over the bridge!).

The only logical choice

With all things considered, running a jewelry brand with my Mom in West Kelowna makes perfect sense. Sharing the Carolily love with women like you brings us such a sense of joy that we couldn't imagine doing anything else. We feel grateful every day that we get to spend our time creating beautiful pieces that bring you joy. And, with our new Kelowna showroom, we look forward to spending more time getting to know you in-person!

Click here for directions to our showroom located in Most Wanted.

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