This week’s person to know is entrepreneur and jewellery designer Shay Lowe.
Photography by Tara Noelle.
A typical day?
Incredibly busy – professionally and personally. As an entrepreneur no day is typical. No two days are alike and I am involved in every aspect of my business day to day. Whether it’s strategy, sales, production, design, editorial pulls, media, trunk shows, meetings, side projects, events…the list goes on. It’s part of the high I get from running my business and being very social. I love constant change, excitement, seizing opportunity, and getting out there. I like having a lot on the go in all areas of my life, and most importantly time with friends and family.
How did you get started as a jewellery designer?
It began purely out of charitable efforts and tapping into my creative outlet in my spare time. I’ve always been highly creative from a very young age. I began experimenting and creating jewellery several years ago and I loved it. I think I’ve always been inclined naturally with an entrepreneurial mindset as well, and gradually the two started merging. With being so involved in charities, I would donate pieces to silent auctions and it just grew from there. People would constantly ask where they could buy pieces. Eventually I partnered with a designer for fashion week to launch my first runway collection. And the rest is history as they say…
Speaking of … jewellery or jewelry – which do you prefer?
Your major influences as a designer?
Nada Shepherd, Lanvin, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Swarovski, Tom Binns, vintage jewellery design, and old Hollywood.
You design a lot of big, sparkly ‘statement’ pieces. Does this speak to your personality?
Most definitely. My work certainly emulates my personality! That said, I do have a quiet side and relish my down time – which is very rare these days!
Biggest name to wear your creations?
Hard to choose, I’m sure, but do you have a single favourite item you’ve designed over the years?
One of my favourite pieces and very special to me is the statement necklace that was on the cover of Flare magazine.
What’s up next?
My work will be featured in a coffee table book by Swarovski coming out this month, my design for the Tutu Project for The National Ballet 60th Anniversary will go on exhibit shortly, and I also have a chapter coming out in the ‘Making it in High Heels’ series on women entrepreneurs later this year.
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people to?
The Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. It’s a world-class venue and the story behind the architecture and acoustical engineering is incredibly interesting. Whether The National Ballet or the Canadian Opera Company is in house, you will leave a performance feeling a great sense of the richness and culture of what Toronto offers.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Blowfish has been my favourite for many years. Gusto 101 is also great.
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
Tough choice. Toronto has such a wonderful diversity of neighbourhoods, restaurants, and culture and I love tapping into all of them. The St. Lawrence Market area is great – the market and neighbourhood altogether is an oasis within the city, a chill vibe while still being right downtown. Right now I am loving the residential feel of Rosedale/Summerhill, and enjoying some favourite neighbourhood hangouts with friends in Yorkville.
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
Susan Langdon, who is the Executive Director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) has made an incredible impact on our city both past and present. If it not were for her leadership and setting the foundation for TFI, I am not certain what would exist to support young and emerging designers the way TFI has and in such a positive way. It’s their 25th anniversary and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.