Vered Milner keeps customers happy with B-JWLD creations

As a young woman from Israel who had never left home, it never dawned on Vered Milner that she would leave her small hometown of Petach Tikva to end up in Phoenix by way of South Africa to run a lux jewelry company.

After serving in the Israeli army, Vered moved to South Africa with her first husband. “It was my first time on an airplane,” Vered says, adding that she didn’t speak the new language and did not know anyone in her new home.

She needed to find a job and started working in marketing and sales at a large corporation, eventually moving into sales management. She took her experience and moved to one of the largest supermarket chain in Africa, Pick n Pay, where her last position was general manager of its private-label program.

Vered and her first husband divorced after 10 years. She and her current husband, Robby Milner, worked together, which is how they met. Robby had two children from a previous marriage, son Tyler, now 28, and daughter Kirby, 25. Together they had daughter Jordan, 17, and son Dean, 14.

Due to security and safety issues in South Africa, the family decided to move in 2003. “I wanted a warm place,” she says. “And I didn’t want a big city after leaving Johannesburg.” After vacationing in the Valley for a week, they relocated to Arizona.

Following a total of 18 years of working in the corporate world in South Africa, “I realized very quickly that to carry on working with a big corporation would require a major change from what I was used to in South Africa,” Vered says. “If I wanted to keep that kind of job here in the US, my kids would have to go to a preschool full time and I would have very little time to spend with them.”

Instead she decided to do something on her own, something that would free her up to spend more time with her children, so she started B-JWLD, a handmade fashion jewelry business. She says her sales and marketing background enables her to do just about anything. As a child she worked at her aunt and uncle’s costume jewelry shop, which is now a business which stocks parts, stones, beads and more for making jewelry. A trip back home to Israel sparked her idea for B-JWLD.

“That’s kind of how this business started back in 2004, and I started by just bringing back from Israel some samples of jewelry, including rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces” with an idea of showing samples to prospective customers who would order jewelry. “I put the samples in my car and drove around to some boutiques. The first boutique didn’t want to place an order; they just wanted the samples. I realized I had something desirable. Immediate gratification is the way this business goes,” which is why she carries stock.

Vered’s B-JWLD line is higher end and made with high-quality materials. Each piece is glued, stitched and made by hand with materials such as crystals, leather, suede, 925 silver plate and 24k yellow or rose-gold plate, and all pieces are handmade in Israel, of which Vered is very proud. She sells to boutiques, hotels and resorts in Arizona as well as in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Montana. Necklaces account for 50% of her business.

To ensure the quality of her product, Vered is hands on and travels to Israel every summer to work in the studio. She brings back a large collection for fall and winter, an important period due to the pre-holiday market. She brings back a smaller collection for spring and summer.

Prior to 2007-2008, when the market took a nosedive, her bracelets could sell for $400 each. The collapse of the market also brought with it the closure of 70 percent of the stores to which Vered sold her line. “My business took a huge hit because I had no one to sell to,” she says.

The massive loss caused her to rethink her business strategy and “how I would approach this new era,” Vered says. Things never returned to pre-2008 days, and she did not want to close her business. She decided on two things: First, she had to cap her price points but have product that still looked good and was not as expensive. Second, she had to work harder with current clients and build up their business instead of killing herself trying to find new business.

Her new strategy also included events and trunk shows so that customers didn’t have to buy up front, which was important to customers worried about overspending. “It is more affordable, yet unique, and they do not have to commit up front.” After a tough 2008, the next year was almost back to what it had been previously. Vered has since added additional trade shows, and although most of her business is in Arizona, she is expanding nationally. Travel is now easier as her children are older.

While the jewelry business can be competitive, Vered knows “to stay ahead of the game all the time” with fresh ideas. “I can almost tell which customer is going to like what piece,” she says. “What guides me is coming up with pieces that will match my customers’ style and what will sell.

“I want to stay true to my designs,” she says. “It has to have an identity to be connected to B-JWLD. I try to come up with designs that make sense and stay with the identity of my lines. If you try to be everything to everybody, it’s not going to work because then you spread yourself too thin and try to be just like other designers.”

With a new show on the horizon in Atlanta, Vered is always looking for new opportunities. “Being in a business, nothing ever stays the same,” she says. “The only constant thing is change. You have to keep moving and keep looking for new stores, new ideas and new opportunities.”

Her business keeps her going. Not only does she now get to spend more time with family, she is in what she calls “a happy business. One of my biggest joys is that it makes people happy.”

For more information, see

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For advertising information, please contact