Crystal Gale

When the winds of change started blowing, this entrepreneur escaped the jewelry game and entered the world of bejeweled décor.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the July 2002 issue of . Subscribe »

Vital Stats: Jay Strongwater, 41, founder and designer for Jay Strongwater Inc.

Company: Elegant hand-enameled frames, timepieces, miniature boxes and home décor bejeweled with Swarovski crystals. The line, started in 1995, is sold in such stores as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

2002 Sales Projections: Over $25 million

Fashion Foray: "My background originated in fashion jewelry. We were doing very well during the '80s, but in the mid-'90s, fashion jewelry fell out of fashion. I was concerned about how we were going to stay in business. That was the impetus for beginning in home décor."


"In the mid-'90s, Oscar de la Renta didn't want any jewerly for his runway show, and Vogue wasn't calling anymore. I asked myself, 'What could we do with all this knowledge we have?'"

Attention, Shoppers! "I designed one frame as a gift for different buyers and friends, and they said, 'You should try to put together a line.' When we shipped the first order in fall of 1996, we got an immediate reaction. Stores said customers were buying more than one at a time. We're talking about $400 to $600 frames retail. It very quickly grew from that point."

High (Priced) Art: "Because of the size and the amount of stones, the labor and material set the price. Some of the frames have anywhere from 1,200 to 1,600 Austrian crystals. We have several pieces that cost $1,200 to $1,400 retail."

Thinking Inside the Box: "About three years ago, we started making little boxes, very decorative and charming, from $95 to $290. That helped us grow tremendously, because it let the beginning collector in. We found a lot of collectors start their children with the boxes, which is very interesting."

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.