Hot 100 2014: Arlene Katorza & Lisa McMyn

Arlene Katorza and Lisa McMyn were named NexGems in Professional Jeweller's Hot 100 2014 (Kalory.co.uk)

They say that opposites attract, and that statement has never been more accurate when describing Arlene and Lisa.

Having worked as a professional designer-maker for more than 20 years, Arlene is responsible for I Love a Lassie’s aesthetic, while former accountant Lisa is in charge of the numbers.

Thankfully their differences are muted by a long-term friendship that flourished in their early- 20s and now continues in the gothic, hilly surrounds of Edinburgh.

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The pair formed I Love a Lassie in September 2013, aiming their distinctive pieces at jewellery lovers in the UK and beyond. After an initial flurry of international excitement, Arlene and Lisa are taking stock and focusing on building a strong following on home soil, having gained 40 retail partners to date.

“Our biggest inspiration is people’s reaction to our jewellery designs,” admits Arlene, “it has given us great validation and confidence.”

Indeed Arlene and Lisa regularly come into contact with customers forgoing traditional notions of gifting and treating themselves instead. Lisa recalls one customer who “phoned to order a Bawbee Coin necklace for herself, saying our beautiful jewellery combined with its story made the perfect keepsake”.

While looking ahead to the future of their brand, the pair is always glancing back – even naming their company after an old Scottish ditty by Sir Harry Lauder. “Our aim is to spread the word of I Love a Lassie to people who love unique, interesting and well-made jewellery,” adds Lisa, hinting that Arlene is already working on a collection for the SS15 season.

With the fresh Scottish air (and even fresher weather) keeping both Arlene and Lisa grounded, it’s their down-to-earth approach to business that really shines through.

Lisa admits: “Don’t be scared to ask for help. It’s amazing how much advice and support people volunteer if only you ask – the jewellery industry is so friendly and supportive.” After all, “Shy bairns get nowt”.

Arlene Katorza and Lisa McMyn were named NexGems in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2014, in association with headline sponsor Pandora and principle partner The Company of Master Jewellers.

To read a digital version of the Hot 100 2014 book in full online, click here.

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