Shop Quiz! with Ashley Gentry from jewelry brand Annét Chatoyer
When lifelong friends Elizabeth Dansby and Ashley Gentry decided to start a jewelry brand together, they did so mostly as a creative exercise. “If Kendra Scott can do it, why can’t we?” they asked. Now, the Baton Rouge-born brand operates online with plenty of French-chic options in sleek metallics and unique styles. Keep scrolling to learn more about how the shimmering Annét Chatoyer brand came to be, from our Q&A with co-founder Ashley Gentry.
1. What was your reason for opening Annét Chatoyer? When did it open, and how has it grown or changed since then?
I am the co-owner and co-founder with Elizabeth Dansby. Elizabeth was actually getting her master’s and doing projects related to the fashion industry, other brands, her thesis, etc., and after studying it, decided that “If they can do it, so can I.” She talked to me and asked if I would be interested in starting an earring brand with her.
I had recently lost my mom to cancer (the “Annette” in the brand’s title takes its name from her). She was an artist and I was an accountant and I was trying to channel more of her already, so I had started buying patterns and fabric to make my own clothes because I’ve always had a passion for fashion. When Elizabeth reached out, I said yes, but I also really wanted to use the business as an artistic channel. I want our products to always be changing and evolving and really thrive that way.
We officially started the company in June of 2021 and made our first sale in October of 2021. At the end of 2021 we only had three products, and now we’re up to 18 interchanging products. It has drastically changed. We increased our following on social media; hosted 22 trunk shows last year across the United States; traveled to India, South Carolina and New York for work; and were featured in The Scout Guide Baton Rouge. Our sales have been doubling from month to month. It’s been amazing.
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2. What sets Annét Chatoyer apart?
We use inspiration from everything: vintage, travel, family, friends, colors. I dream up these designs, and I do a lot of research to make sure they’re never copied or too close to anyone else’s design.
The process for our earrings is very tedious. We work with artisans across the world—India, Ukraine, the U.K., Paris—to get our prototypes perfected, and it usually takes around four months for one prototype to be finished. Then, once we place an order, each pair of earrings takes 14 hours to be created by hand by our artisans.
3. What are some of your best-selling products?
Definitely our Barbe Nicole sequined earrings. It was one of the first three styles we launched in 2021, and they were worn by Katey McFarlan, a fashion influencer out of Fort Worth, for her 30th birthday. That’s how we gained a lot of traction on social media. We have sold out every single time she’s posted about them. They’re off-white, sequined, pearl-and-feather statement earrings.
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4. Can you share a hint of what shoppers will see in your online shop next season?
Bright colors! We have pastels and bright colors coming in the near future.
5. What is one thing customers should know about your shop that they may not be aware of?
We start each day with a call to each other. Our motto every single day is “everything is figure-out-able.” You also have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to succeed and start growing a business from scratch.
For more information, visit annetchatoyer.com and follow @annetchatoyer on Instagram.