How a one-woman jewelry company struck deals with Disney, Marvel, “Star Wars” and more

This week Get a real job The guest works alongside Yoda, Iron Man and more than one Disney Princess on a daily basis. Allison Cimino is the CEO, founder and designer of RockLove, a jewelry company that started small (like a team of her own) and went on to make licensing deals with some of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet: Disney, Marvel, Star wars and more.

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During our chat, Allison spoke about her unexpected career path, the challenges of wearing the hats of a creative thinker and a mad businessman simultaneously, and has some great tips for anyone on the point. to take a meeting at Star trek Headquarter. (Spoiler alert: let your geek flag fly!)

Below are some highlights from that conversation, which can be heard in full above or wherever you download podcasts. Thanks as always for listening!

Big ideas start with big problems

“My career has definitely been a winding road. At no point did I say, ‘I want to make Disney princess jewelry. This is my life goal. “I was a violinist and thought I was going to be a musician. I’ve always loved jewelry, but never thought of it as a career. While I was in college, I put on this beautiful golden diamond nose ring that was supposed to be, you know, premium quality. And I had a horrible allergic reaction. I looked like Quasimodo. It was very traumatic. And I learned that I had this metal allergy. And as soon as this experience happened, I decided that I wanted to go abroad to Florence, Italy, to do an old-fashioned apprenticeship and make my own jewelry so I could trust to the metal that I was putting into my body. And that became the cornerstone of RockLove. Metalworking was how I solved my personal problem. “

Birth of a licensing company

“I was making pieces for shops with that kind of rock and roll style. And then I started working with bands and writers I met at live events like Ink and Iron or Viva Las Vegas, rockabilly-themed weekends. unique pieces of merchandise for them like an extension of T-shirts, stickers or CDs. And that was my start with merchandising, which was never a route I had planned to take. “

Screen dreams

“My jewelry’s first on-screen appearance was on HBO Real blood. It was very exciting. And I have all of these low res screenshots because it was at least a decade ago. But more recently I worked with the very talented props department for Star Trek: Picard. I created with them physical jewels that are worn on the screen. And Sir Patrick Stewart, who’s been my captain since he was seven, has been holding my collar there for most of the first season. It’s a giant plot point and he’s holding it and I’m crying. And my husband takes videos of me and laughs, and then we sent the video to my dad because he was the one I was watching. Star trek with. It was a very memorable moment. Patrick Stewart holding my jewelry! It annoys me, even just telling the story. “

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Don’t play cool

“When I visited the Star trek studio, I completely panicked and I stopped everything to go and sit in Captain Picard’s chair! And at Disney, they have this whole campus and there is so much to see that your eyes go everywhere. At times like these, I really think it’s important to just be yourself. And if you’re gagging at some awesome prop sitting right there, then just express it! You’re a fan, and the people you meet are working on it for a reason too. They’re fans so you can get away with it a bit. Your enthusiasm makes you love these very jaded consumer products people. So I think it’s really important not to try and pretend you’re a big badass. You’ve walked through the door, you’ve already sold them, so just be yourself. “

Success starts with authenticity

“I only make jewelry for things that I’m a fan of, and that’s part of what made RockLove so successful. decisions, my sincerity has taken me far. And so I think anyone looking to make a brand, whether it’s jewelry or not, it has to come from a point of sincerity and not chasing dollars. It must be something that you really can’t imagine waking up and doing nothing, even on a bad day. A certain level of interest in the business you are pursuing is absolutely paramount.

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