It was a very personal journey that led Aline Salmen to start LAJOUX, an affordable fine and custom jewelry brand.
She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2017. And being a mom to two young children (1 and 3 at the time), the diagnosis was even more frightening. Her family did a lot of research on where and how to get treated. And they ultimately decided to move from Germany to Los Angeles for 6 months where Aline underwent chemotherapy.
Aline experienced hair loss as most do, and it contributed greatly to her feeling vulnerable and bare. She began exploring new ways to accessorize in hopes of “feeling pretty” and gaining back her self-esteem. It was during this time that she decided to channel her creative energy and the time that she had. Instead of being scared, sad, and in her head, Aline turned the circumstance into something positive and uplifting. She started drawing, brainstorming, researching, and slowly putting the pieces together to what eventually became LAJOUX.
Our Interview with Aline Salmen
Why are you passionate about LAJOUX, and what should people know about the company?
I am extremely passionate about LAJOUX because for me, it was another lifeline, besides my husband and our children, of course, so to speak. Something else to focus on during such a challenging time. Continuously keeping me distracted when my thoughts would wander off in a negative direction. LAJOUX is made with love to bring joy to its clientele. I want my clients to love their pieces and to wear them every day.
Where did the name LAJOUX come from, and what does it mean?
LAJOUX is a combination of Los Angeles, LA, where LAJOUX was born and the French word BIJOUX, which means jewelry.
What has been your biggest challenge in launching LAJOUX, and how have you tackled it?
Oh, there have been plenty of challenges along the way, as with any new business. One of the biggest was probably reaching out to A-List celebrities in the beginning and actually getting a reply. It took months and months of research, rejected emails, and no replies. At one point, I was banned from sending new messages on social media for 24 hours because they flagged it as probable spam. All I could do was wait and try again.
What advice would you offer other founders that are looking to create a jewelry collection?
Create with a passion, create with love, and focus on your audience. Be determined and be kind.
Your designs are so fun and beautiful! Can you talk a bit about your design process and how you decide what goes into production?
Thank you very much. I love to get I spired by the world around us and everyday life. Shapes, sizes, colors. All LAJOUX pieces are well thought out. Typically I will sketch and draw new pieces, edit and re-edit them before even the sample pieces are made. Then there are always 2-3 versions of the sample pieces until final product is decided.
You have some pretty big name fans of LAJOUX – Eva Longoria, Emily Ratajkowski, Priyanka Chopra, and Bella Hadid! For founders that are launching a product – what advice would you offer them with getting that product in front of celebrities?
Honestly, it is sometimes still unreal when I see one of those smart and beautiful women wearing a LAJOUX piece. As this was one of my challenges, my advice would be to know who you would love to have/ wear your product, do your research, and do not give up. Be persistent.
With everything going on in the world right now, it’s never been a more challenging environment to operate a business in. What advice would you offer other business owners for how to navigate these next few months?
It really is. My advice would be to use this time to get organized, focus, and be open for new and different ideas. Help each other out. Things are always evolving, right now it is a very different way, but we can get through this together.
How do you practice self-care and balance your personal and professional life?
Quality time with my husband, my children, and my friends really gives me balance. We don’t know what life has in store for us, so we really should try to make the most of it. That does not mean we have to learn a new skill every week, it can just be.. to actually listen to each other, tell jokes, laugh and dance, watch a sunset. Enjoy the little things.
If you could go back and give yourself three pieces of advice when you first started LAJOUX – what would you tell yourself?
- It’s okay to ask for help
- There are not stupid questions
- It’s okay to make mistakes
What single word, saying, or motivational quote do you identify most with?
If the answer is no, you are asking the wrong person.
What’s next for you and LAJOUX?
We have many new and exciting things planned. We just launched our Love & Light collection full of fun and colorful pieces that you can mix and match. We are also launching our pendant collection soon, which has helped me to stay inspired and motivated during these times. I am so excited for what’s still to come for LAJOUX!