Skip to content
Free Shipping on all U.S. Orders

Celebrating Chalonne’s 5th Anniversary

On the eve of Chalonne’s 5th anniversary I’d like to take a moment to reflect on my own personal journey as Chalonne’s Founder.  

I’m very proud of Chalonne’s success and that we are continuing to deliver the finest Apple Watch bands on the market. Every single band is meticulously crafted by hand in France with the finest, ethically sourced materials available including diamonds, freshwater pearls, lustrous 14k gold and rich leathers. My bands are crafted to satisfy the senses of the most discerning customers, like me. 

A Passion Project

I’ve always had a love for art and design. Ever since I was a child, I loved taking art classes, visiting museums and dreaming up craft ideas that I was certain I could turn into a profitable business. My mom still loves to remind me of my failed career making hair clips with spectacularly large bows in the 80’s and I think there was even a stint bedazzling jeans as well. 

At Penn, I pursued my passion, studying Art History and taking drawing and painting classes. Freshman year, I started learning Italian so I could study art in Italy during my junior year abroad, which I did. I lived in Rome for a semester and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Art class was no longer sitting in a dark lecture hall looking at projections on the wall, but rather standing in front of the actual work of art and appreciating it in person, which makes all the difference in the world.  

Not only was I moved by the art in Rome, but the culture in general (especially the food). I enjoyed my regular walks to the Pantheon, which included a scoop (or two) of gelato from Della Palma and sitting on the steps of Della Porta’s fountain, people-watching and sketching. I recently went back to Rome for the first time since college and took my daughter to the Pantheon. It was a special experience for me and she absolutely loved the gelato.  

After Rome, I spent that summer travelling through Europe before returning home to Los Angeles. Senior year was upon me and I was back in Philadelphia. I felt a wave of anxiety when I considered my future after college. Even though the arts were a focus for most of my life, I somehow convinced myself that business career would be a better option. I decided that I would move to New York to pursue a career in advertising, which seemed to make sense at the time. And just like that…I gave up my passion. 

In hindsight, I know that it was not quite that simple. Although I may not have been able to articulate it at the time, my unspoken goal was to become an independent and self-sufficient woman. Growing up, I had seen too many women in my life feel trapped and powerless and I found myself making life decisions to ensure that would never happen to me.  So, in essence, I was making decisions out of fear…instead of trying to achieve what would make me truly happy and fulfilled.  

Journey to Madison Avenue  

I spent the next several years in the “Mad Men” world of advertising in New York, gaining expertise in Account Management, working on ubiquitous brands like L’Oreal, Nabisco, Wrigley’s and Frito-Lay. 

Family First 

After 6 years in New York, I decided it was time to move back home to Los Angeles. My father had been diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to be closer to my family. Because of my experience in New York, I landed a marketing job at Sony Pictures. This was a very transformative time for me, adjusting to my new life in Los Angeles, spending time with my dad and managing a very intense job. But it was through that job that I met my soulmate and husband, Michael. After we got engaged, he agreed to have the wedding quickly so my dad could be there. My dad did in fact walk me down the aisle and we danced to “My Girl” at my wedding. But that turned out to be the last major life event we shared together. To this day I am still saddened that my dad never got a chance to meet my daughter. He would have adored her. 

After I had my daughter, I realized that with my long hours at work, I wasn’t really raising my own child.  Growing up, I was told that women could have it all--they could have the career and the family and life could be balanced and wonderful. But in reality, I found that balancing a career and a family was a huge challenge.  

Eventually the long hours, stress and politics were taking a toll on me. I felt burnt out and wanted to spend more time with my daughter. After much discussion, we decided that it would be best for me and my family to part ways with Sony. Once the weight of a stressful job was lifted, I was able to take some time off to reflect. And it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I was able to hit the reset button, and without the daily pressure, I had the space to be creative. I decided that I wanted to get back to my roots and become an entrepreneur. I wanted to create something of my own, that I could manage and drive, and have flexibility to be there for my daughter, and maybe one day, pass the reigns to her. It was during that time that I developed the initial concept that evolved into Chalonne. 

New Beginnings 

For my “first act” in life I spent so much of my career in the corporate world, working at companies that I didn’t necessarily respect, marketing products that I did not personally connect with. So, I decided that for my “second act” I would start a company with an amazing, high-quality product that would want to buy but also one that would give back and be a great place to work. And that is the core of how Chalonne began. I spent a lot of timing thinking about the kind of company that I wanted…the sort of place that I would want to work at and would want to be a part of.  At that point, I decided that whatever I created, I would use it to support women and women's causes.  

At the same time, I was also trying to figure out what my product would be. I had tossed around a few ideas, but nothing got me really excited. I knew I wanted to create a product that could benefit from my marketing experience. Then one fateful day, my husband and I decided to get Apple Watches and went to the store to check them out. I was surprised by the lack of quality options for the bands.  The Hermes bands were nice quality but the designs were a bit boring. I began to think about watches and accessories—why I wear them and what they represented.  In my mind a watch is a piece of jewelry, like anything else a woman puts on every day to express her personality, feel confident and look good.  There is nothing like the feeling of putting together a super cute outfit, with all the right accessories. I didn’t want to sacrifice my personal style to sport the latest tech, and I knew other women must have felt the same way. I immediately started to imagine all the creative possibilities that could bridge the gap between tech, jewelry and fashion. I knew I had to do the research first to confirm if this was in fact a viable business opportunity. 

When I started researching, I found that wearables in general fell short from a fashion perspective. The tech industry tends to be male-dominated and I imagined that the Apple designers were focused on the needs of their male customers when they designed their bands. It seemed like an area that could benefit from female perspective—someone who understands the need for tech to be functional as well as fashionable. Once I realized the potential for the concept, I started putting my ideas to paper…And I had so many ideas!  

Getting Back to Creative Roots 

It was so fun and fulfilling to be designing and getting back to my creative roots. I wanted my first collection to be relatable and accessible, using an established vocabulary since, at the time, this was a new concept. I wanted to easily register how a Chalonne band on your Apple Watch could complement and enhance an outfit without compromising personal style. 

Chalonne Becomes a Reality 

After an extensive search, I found the perfect partner in Manufacture Jean Rousseau who lends Chalonne its 70 years of expertise and artisanal heritage. All of Chalonne’s bands are made in Franche-Comté, a region imbued with a centuries-old history of watchmaking and zest for craftmanship. Jean Rousseau has always fostered a spirit of innovation and excellence and they were incredibly enthusiastic and supportive of the brand from the very start. I think they were intrigued by my unique designs and were excited to take on the challenge to achieve the quality and aesthetic that Chalonne requires. 

I decided on the name “Chalonne” since it represented the intersection between the Bel Air and French lifestyles. I wanted to have a signature color for the brand and decided on purple since it evoked the beautiful purple blooms of the Jacaranda trees that are so ubiquitous here in Los Angeles (and a personal favorite).  
Since giving back was built into the DNA of the Chalonne brand, I wanted to identify and secure a non-profit partner right from the start and I knew that I wanted to partner with cancer research organization. I was absolutely thrilled to have the Breast Cancer Research Foundation on board as my first partner. For every band sold on we will donate 4% of sales to BCRF. The goal is to continue to add more non-profits to a growing list of partners who are committed to helping women in a variety of different areas including health, empowerment and economic opportunities.
Lessons Learned 

Launching a brand from scratch has been an amazing experience. It’s forced me to tap into my skills and talents in a way no other job ever has. It’s been humbling and challenging at times, especially when I need to step outside of my comfort zone (no, I still don’t like accounting!). I do wish someone had told me to do more personal introspection before starting my company and take the time to really be objective about my own personal strengths and weaknesses. I did a full SWOT analysis for my business, but I should have started by doing one on myself. I realized that while I am good at many things, I am certainly not good at everything. Once I discovered that (the hard way), I was able to pivot and get help where I needed it the most, which freed up time for me to lean into the tasks that are in my wheelhouse.  

Signs of Success 

When I first approached the business, I was completely focused on financial success and how to achieve it. I imagine most businesses want to generate significant revenue and achieve a high valuation, but I quickly realized that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time and consistency to build a new brand. So, my outlook changed from focusing on the next 2-3 years to thinking about what the next 10-20 years will look like. I am focused on slow, steady brand growth. I also consider the impact that my company has on supporting and empowering women. As my company grows, our ability to be a vehicle for good increases and that kind of success is just as important as revenue. It’s important to build a company that reflects my values and principals, because that directly impacts my own personal fulfillment and sense of accomplishment, which is another marker of success.

It’s been an incredibly rewarding journey and I am very proud of what we have created. I look to our future with positivity, optimism and gratitude.


Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping

Select options