A Positive Piece

Jun 07, 2010 3 Comments

How refreshing it is to meet entrepreneurs who are realistic, economically savvy and customer friendly. This is exactly what Ana Mari Ortega, owner of MAYI Collection, is.

Not only do her pieces attract all the right type of attention with their bold designs, exotic gemstones and stunning colors, but her gold-filled material, Vermeil and prices have a positive effect on your wallet too. Our favorite part – her website is refreshingly uncomplicated and easy to navigate!

When did you start MAYI Collection?

AMO: I am from Miami but I went to college in Washington, DC. Once winter hit, I was in instant hibernation mode. I desperately needed a hobby and, interestingly enough, my boyfriend suggested I make jewelry. We still aren’t sure how he came up with that idea. He even bought me the tools and materials to begin. I owe him!

What does the name MAYI stand for?

AMO: Mayi is the nickname my family gave me.

When did you first realize you wanted to own a jewelry company?

AMO: The economy took a major nosedive right about the time I was going to enter the workforce. My job prospects were bleak, and at the same time I was getting a lot of positive feedback about my jewelry. So I thought, why not? It was a total gamble and I had no idea where it would go but I am glad I took the risk.

What was the first big step you took to opening up MAYI Collection?

AMO: In the summer of 2008 I got all the permits and licenses needed to do business. My next step was making a great website. I am a total web junkie and I love shopping online, so I knew what I liked and didn’t like in a website. I made sure my site was one that I would enjoy using myself.

At first what were you doing to showcase your pieces?

AMO: I would have small events with family and friends. A turning point came when I displayed some pieces in a friend’s salon. The customers went nuts for it, and everything sold in a week. I knew I was on to something.

What are you doing now to showcase your pieces?

AMO: I do a few trunk shows every year. Since I don’t have a MAYI store it is a great way to meet my customers face to face. Once they know me they have more appreciation for the brand and the pieces I create.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

AMO: I was born and raised in Miami by Cuban parents (very unique, right?)

What did you do before owning this company?

AMO: I was a student earning my degree in International Relations from the George Washington University. I had interned in the Senate, for the White House, and at CNN. Needless to say, I never would have imagined having a career in fashion!

Did you go to fashion school?

AMO: A year after starting my business I enrolled at Miami International University of Art & Design to get a degree in accessory design. We learn not only about jewelry, but shoes, handbags, hats, belts, etc. I would love to add a line of handbags one day.

Tell us about the process that you go through to pick out the perfect pieces.

AMO: I make two large seasonal collections a year, spring/summer and fall/winter. I start to think about a color palette I want to work with. I love to buy gemstones and chain and then just sit at my worktable and mix them all up, take things apart, and do it over again.

Do you make your jewelry?

AMO: Yes, I make all my jewelry.

Where else can we find your jewelry besides your website?

AMO: Miss Pepper, South Miami
Mayda Cisneros Couture, Coral Gables
Creations Hair, South Miami
Pecan’s Day Spa, South Miami

Where do you ship your jewelry?

AMO: The furthest I have shipped too is Canada. But someone from England e-mailed me recently with interest in the collection. I am always curious how people from far away find out about me.

We see that you have jewelry made out of Vermeil; can you please tell us what that is exactly and how it compares to gold and silver?

AMO: Vermeil is gold plated sterling silver. A few weeks ago gold prices broke another high record. Making pieces in pure gold has become very expensive. Therefore, I advise my costumers to purchase pieces in pure gold only if they think it is something they will use for a lifetime. Vermeil is perfect for my jewelry because my customers can get a beautiful, high quality look without breaking the bank, and there is no guilt if they don’t wear it 10 years from now.

Other than stones, what other types of materials do you use for your jewelry?

AMO: I use gold-filled chains in my jewelry. Gold-filled jewelry has a layer of gold bonded to a base metal, so it is more durable than a gold plated piece. I predict that gold-filled jewelry will take a bigger slice of the market if gold prices continue to rise the way they are doing. I use semi-precious gemstones like citrine, amethyst, lapis lazuli, turquoise, coral, agate, lava, bone, and so on…

What do you LOVE the most about your company?

AMO: I tell everyone that having your own company makes every success that much sweeter because it is all a result of your hard work and effort. When someone compliments a piece of jewelry or commend me on the business, I really take it to heart because it is so personal. On the flip side, if someone doesn’t like something it is really easy to take that too personally!

Any great developments in the works for MAYI Collection?

AMO: I am working on expanding my collections to offer more rings and cuffs and do more than 2 collections a year.

Edited by: Bridgette

1.888.894.MAYI (6294)

Fashion, Miami

3 Responses to “A Positive Piece”

  1. Nathalie Vazquez says:

    Freshwater Pearl and Charm Gold Necklace Giveaway! I absolutely love the piece and will be checking out your website!!

  2. happi shopr says:

    Love your work! Thank you for sponsoring the Freshwater Pearl and Charm Gold Necklace Giveaway.

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