Carmel Valley resident’s monogram jewelry line reflects the importance of family
By Karen Billing
Regina Chapman believes she’s not just selling jewelry, she’s selling meaningful, high- quality heirlooms that can be passed down through generations. The Carmel Valley resident’s Grey Lee Designs monogram jewelry line specializes in special custom-made pieces that reflect the importance of family.At this time Grey Lee focuses specifically on monograms in necklaces and men’s cuff links.
The designs are sold mostly online and she hopes to get into major retailers soon. Chapman said the jewelry is a great “push present” for new mothers, good for bridal party presents and while it may be too late for the holidays (orders take about two weeks to complete), it’s never too early to think about Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Chapman, who has lived in Carmel Valley for three years, worked in advertising and marketing before having her son Grayson and becoming a stay-at-home mom. She also has two stepchildren.
“I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, I can never sit still,” Chapman said.
She has also always loved jewelry — when she was 16 she used to host jewelry parties to make a little spending money.
She wanted a line of her own to be about personalization.“I’ve had an affection for anything monogrammed for as far back as I can remember,” said Chapman, her RAC initials sparkling on a Grey Lee Design around her neck.
Looking around in 2009 when she started her business, she saw no one was really doing monograms with diamonds to the scale she was envisioning.
She started calling around and searching the Internet to find a manufacturer.
“The biggest hurdle was finding someone local,” Chapman said. “I wanted to keep my manufacturer local so I could stay hands on and monitor the design process and make sure every piece going out is high quality.”
She named her company Grey Lee after her 4-year-old son, although she tweaked the spelling a bit.
Chapman still personally looks at a sample design of every order before stones are placed.
Grey Lee does not use plated metals, sticking with 14K white, yellow and rose gold and sterling silver. Every initial is placed by hand so it’s laid out the right way and diamonds are placed one by one.
“A real labor of love goes into every piece that we make,” Chapman said.
Because of the quality of materials used and the loving labor, the prices are a bit higher, but Grey Lee offers some options using cubic zirconium to provide a range of $180 to $2,600.
The future of Grey Lee is full of possibilities. Chapman hopes to design a monogram ring and possibly move into charms for necklaces or bracelets.
It was important to Chapman that any venture she took on would still allow her to be there for her children—she didn’t want to miss any of Grayson’s “firsts.”
“To be able to do this and still be home for my family, I couldn’t ask for anything else,” Chapman said.
To check out Grey Lee Designs, visit www.greyleedesigns.com
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