The former 'Real Housewives of New York' star gives us the deets about her beautiful new bauble collection and what she'll serve up next.
-Diana Denza, BettyConfidential.com
As a former Real Housewives of New York star, fans knew Jill Zarin for her larger-than-life personality. So when her reality show stint ended, we knew this leading lady would hardly slip back into the shadows. And we were right! Today, Zarin helms Skweez Couture shapewear and a brand new jewelry line.
We chatted with the ex-RHONY celebrity about the affordable price points of the Jill Zarin Jewelry Collection (pieces range from $28-$150), her design inspirations, and adjusting to life without a camera crew. You can find the collection at Lord & Taylor's New York City flagship store on 5th Avenue and online too! On FNO, Jill will be at the Lord & Taylor flagship store signing autographs and saying hello to fans. If you're in the area, drop on by!
Betty Confidential: What kind of research did you do before designing your new jewelry line?
Jill Zarin: I am a solution-based brand, so I wanted to bring women a fashionable, affordable brand. A lot of my ideas for my brand stemmed from pieces I own and I wanted to bring them to my customers at a price they could afford. I asked my daughter for her advice as well. Allyson is always on trend so I wanted to get her opinions while designing my line.
BC: What were a few of your design inspirations?
JZ: I am always inspired by my travels and by New York City. For example, my Skyline ring was inspired by the New York City Skyline. It is one of my favorite pieces. Things that happen in my life also inspire me, such as The Big Apple necklace, which was inspired by my days on RHONY. My Monkey Pendant necklace came from my father. Growing up, my father always had the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" sign in our house.
BC: Why did you choose to make your price points so affordable?
JZ: I wanted my jewelry line to be accessible to my fans and customers. I wanted my customers to feel like they could wear my pieces and travel with them without feeling scared that they would lose them. I wanted my fans to feel like they could have a piece of me. At the end of the day, I always like good value, and I feel my jewelry line really represents that.
BC: Do you have any personal favorite pieces?
JZ: The Laughing Buddah Ring! I love this piece! I wore it on Good Afternoon America and so did Lara Spencer! Lara Spencer kept complimenting me on it and it gives me such pleasure to see her wear it on GAA all the time.
BC: We love that your Skweez Couture line includes plus sizes. Why is that important to you?
JZ: Skweez Couture was developed for women of all shapes and sizes! We have developed a full range of products that suits women of all ages and sizes, especially plus size, which is not normally offered from most high-style lines out there. Everyone wants to feel confident in their clothes and we want our girls to know we have studied the market. Our demographic is the modern woman, who wants to feel sexy and confident and doesn't want an unattractive girdle anymore.
BC: What makes your Skweez line stand apart from shapewear competitors?
JZ: We designed products that fill a void, whether you have a tummy that needs a little slimming or you want that boost in your rear. We have made a product for women that is designed not to roll, has targeted compression, panels to tone from every angle, all while still feeling comfortable and feminine.
(ed note: you can find Skweez Couture at Lord & Taylor and online)
BC: What fitness tips do you have for women who juggle multiple commitments?
JZ: I always find it is hard to juggle work, family and your health. I try to take some time when I can fit it in to exercise. Possibly 10-15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night; it is cumulative so anything counts. I love dessert, but everything in moderation!
BC: How has your life changed after RHONY?
JZ: I still wonder how I was able to take care of Allyson in high school, film a reality show and work at Zarin Fabrics without having a nervous breakdown. After leaving RHONY, I thought I could kick back and finally enjoy my life and soak up all the positive energy around me. That lasted for a few weeks and then I went back to work full speed ahead because that is what I truly enjoy. I love to be creative, come up with product and marketing ideas and implement them. If I don't know how to do something, I will find someone who does and put them on the task at hand.
BC: Are you relieved to not have cameras follow you around all the time?
JZ: It is very different! Sometimes, I actually still feel like they are there.
BC: Looking back, do you have any regrets about your portrayal on RHONY?
JZ: Of course, but some of it had to do with editing, and you do get wrapped up in all the drama. I made mistakes, and I am growing each and every day from the experience I had and the lessons I have learned from it!
BC: What do you hope to accomplish with your shapewear and jewelry line?
JZ: One of the most important things that came from my experience is the relationships I made with buyers and distributors in the retail industry. Not only am I experienced in the hosiery business, but also in the fashion industry. Having a career in both hosiery and fashion led me to be able to create an environment where I could start my own shapewear line and jewelry line.
We always look to Europe for their innovations and continually scour the market for new advances that help to keep Skweez in the forefront of the shapewear market. What I hope to accomplish with my jewelry line is to make my customers happy and constantly excited to see what new pieces I have coming. I hope to have an outlet to express my creativity and share my experiences traveling around the world so that my customers feel like they are with me, too.
Diana Denza is a regular contributor to BettyConfidential.
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