#59 Nadine Kahane: CEO & Founder of Stone and Strand

Nadine conceived of STONE AND STRAND while getting her MBA at Wharton. She wanted to do away with the boring world of high-end jewelry, as it felt dry and irrelevant for the modern, self-purchasing woman. Instead, she wanted to create an online space for fine jewelry, combining super-relatable customer service with an offering of expressive, cool, and on-trend pieces.  She grew up between Singapore and London, before happily settling in NYC.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

Accountability - 

I’m a big believer in taking ownership and being accountable in different aspects of your life. Not just in what you say you are going to do, but also emotionally in terms of how you are feeling and the energy that you bring into a room. I often reference Viktor Frankl in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” where he writes “You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you”.

Curiosity -

I crave novelty, something that serves me well in our trend-driven business. I love trying new things, going to new places, and place huge value on continuous learning in life. I believe in surrounding yourself with people from whom you can learn and who expand your world. In a work context, this means hiring people who are way better at what they do than you are and really trying to figure out what will make someone succeed in that role. 

Resilience - 

I think a lot about how to best help my children develop resilience and believe that being able to bounce back gracefully from failure is one of the most important skills in life. This partly comes down to self-confidence, but I also believe that resourcefulness plays a huge role in allowing someone to try out a different path to the same outcome after experiencing failure going down the first route.

Success in entrepreneurship rarely follows a linear path, and as a CEO I’m constantly having to deal with unexpected curveballs. I need to be able to have a bad day, but bounce back and be back on top of my game very quickly in order for us to move forward.

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

In the early days of STONE AND STRAND, we did a pop up in Philadelphia that was a huge flop. I remember driving there in a packed car loaded with jewelry displays, props and diamonds only to then proceed to sell absolutely nothing over the entire weekend (that is, apart from one sale to my friend whom, in total desperation, I asked to come buy something). One sale seemed better than nothing!

The experience taught me a lot about doing trunk shows and the importance of really knowing your customer base at a personal level. We jumped at the opportunity because it was an established brand-name store, but I didn’t take the time to really evaluate whether or not it was the right place for us as a company. 

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future? 

I’m personally very inspired by the power of femininity an am constantly motivated by the ambitious ladies both at STONE AND STRAND, as well as the wider community that surrounds me in NYC. One of my favorite parts of this role is dreaming up new collaborations under our “GOOD GIRL” platform and we have a really exciting one coming up. So watch this space!