The Daughter of Coke CEO Muhtar Kent Is Going After the Big Business of Jewelry

The daughter of Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., is trying her hand at high-end jewelry design. Selin Kent, 30, has created a collection of rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets featuring clean lines and minimalist design. Although she launched the brand two years ago in New York that today sells in about 10 stores, the young designer on Oct. 1 debuted the collection at her first store in Atlanta — Mednikow Jewelers in Buckhead, located across from Lenox Square mall. “It’s an exciting opportunity to test the market here,” said Selin, a native of Turkey who was in town in early October to celebrate the launch. “My parents live here, so it’s a nice opportunity to see them as well.”

She added, “I think there’s definitely a great appetite for jewelry here ... I’d like to have a greater Atlanta presence in the future.” Jay Mednikow, owner of the Atlanta store where her designs are showcased, said he sees great potential for Selin.
“It’s incumbent on me as a jeweler always to nurture up-and-coming designers,” he said. “It’s important for her, especially at this stage of her career, to get behind the counter and meet her customers face-to face. She will thrive off what they like in her jewelry and it will inspire her to do more things.”

He added: “I see a long future for her if she continues on this course. She’s building a quality product from the very beginning, and she is concerned about her image and the continuity of a brand. That’s something that a lot of young designers don’t have.”

Jewelry design is a new venture for Selin, who admits she was first an academic, studying history and politics in college. She had previously worked for a market research company.

“I had a reaction to sitting in front of a computer all day,” Selin said, so she enrolled in metal-smithing and jewelry fabrication classes. “I wanted to learn to make something with my hands — something tangible ... It started out very much as a hobby.”

But now, jewelry making has become her full-time passion and likely her long-term career. Her pieces are manufactured on 47th Street in Manhattan — known as the “Diamond District.” They range in price from about $100 to more than $4,000. Selin describes her collection as “sophisticated with a bit of an edge.”

She added: “They are very minimalist. They are very streamlined. I take a ‘less is more’ approach to design, without being boring ... It’s very wearable. It’s very contemporary. I like playing with different geometric forms.” Many of her pieces can be stacked in ways to create personal looks. “I believe in allowing the wearer to curate her own story,” Selin said. “So there are a lot of options in terms of stacking different rings and layering necklaces to almost create your own piece.”

She uses materials including 14-carat gold (yellow, white and rose gold), diamonds and precious stones. Celebrities who have worn her pieces include Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba and Emma Watson. Selin said she shares some of her famous father’s traits — especially his personality.

“He has a very strong business acumen and I think some of that has passed on,” she said. “It’s not just about designing jewelry, it’s about running a business ... It’s nice to have him as a resource.” Yet, Selin admits it’s not easy to break into high-fashion jewelry. “It’s very over-saturated,” she said of the industry. “There’s a lot of players, and it’s hard to distinguish yourself from the rest.”

But, the payout could be big, especially in a rapidly improving economy.

Jewelry stores are expected to be a $34.2 billion industry in 2015, according to market research firm IBISWorld. Industry revenue is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent to $38.5 billion by 2020.

“The future looks bright,” says IBIS World in its July 2015 report on jewelry stores. “During the five years to 2020, the industry is expected to grow largely in line with the overall economy. Consumer confidence and purchasing power are both anticipated to rise steadily as the economic climate continues to improve, bolstering demand for jewelry products.” -  Amy Wenk, Staff Writer - Atlanta Business Chronicle -
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07