Meet the jewelry designer who has celebs fawning
Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields and Lenny Kravitz are fans of Boaz Kashi's 'Boho Chic' designs.
Kathie Lee Gifford returned from a trip to Israel in March bearing gifts for her “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb. Gifford raved about Israel-based designer Boaz Kashi as Kotb modeled her new cuff bracelet and ring. The endorsement on one of America's most popular morning shows took Kashi by surprise. He had no idea that Gifford would do that, “but I’m very, very happy she did,” he says. “I received a lot of inquiries and some orders after the show.”
Celebrities like Brooke Shields, Janet Jackson and Lenny Kravitz have also bought Kashi’s unusual pieces, which are made from diamonds and gold and more unexpected combinations of materials like plastic, brass and leather. “Regardless of which materials I use, I constantly strive to create jewelry of the highest quality possible,” he tells From The Grapevine. “Wearing a Boaz Kashi jewel should make you feel empowered, beautiful, bold, proud, trend-setting, exciting and individualistic while feeling happy and comfortable to be yourself.”
His pieces range from $800 to $150,000, and are sold in 34 stores in the U.S. and online, though he finds that most customers like to try the pieces on before they buy. Around 15% of his business is custom orders.
Kashi’s designs reflect his inspirations – “nature, family, toys, people and my personality – passionate, creative, original, avant-garde, inspired, beautiful and a touch of self-humor. I enjoy swimming against the currents of trends and fleeting fashions and I am open to develop new ideas constantly,” he says.
From a family of jewelers including his grandfather, parents, uncles, sister and cousins, Kashi has been fascinated by everything about the craft since childhood. “I love the idea of creating wearable art, which becomes a part of your persona. Becoming a jeweler was as natural as it was exciting and I immediately felt, and still do today, that this is my destiny,” he says.
He believes his creativity, ambition and tenacity serve him well as an entrepreneur. “I don't give up easily and I have found that downfalls are usually followed with successes as long as I don't give up, and stay positive,” he explains. He also finds that Israel fosters entrepreneurship. “It's a small country, which forces the entrepreneur to look out to the world in order to grow and not be complacent. And there’s a sense of shared destiny amongst Israelis, who are willing to help each other in times of need.”
A second-generation Israeli with roots in Poland and Azerbaijan, Kashi lives with his wife and three daughters who are “too young to work in my business but they are my biggest inspirations.” Together, they live in his native Tel Aviv, Israel. “It’s a great city to grow up and live in: It combines a lot of modern art, the beach, exciting food, great parties and fashion. There is a lot of heart and soul here ... more than I have felt in most places that I have traveled to,” he says.
Kashi, who notes that his business is growing annually with more stores carrying his line, is “proudest of the fact that I managed to maintain my individuality despite the constant pressures to compromise. My constant ambition is to expose more people to my designs and that more people will wear my jewelry. Apart from that, I am still striving to create the ‘perfect’ piece.”
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Related Topics: Fashion