Natalie Solak is a self-professed workaholic. It is her busy work schedule that landed itself to establishing and incorporating of Devil’s Tear jewelry in US. Solak co-founded the company with Chief Creative Officer Nataly Glushko, and the two have worked diligently on developing brand’s calm and tranquil jewelry pieces. It is that calm and tranquil feeling that helps Solak unwind from the tasks of her other work.
Devil’s Tear officially launched in 2018 in New York and has seen wowed audiences with its pieces which are inspired by fables, myths, dragons, and the two co-founders’ travels around the world.
Solak’s journey into the jewelry arena offers her a break from the hectic business world she operates in. Devil’s Tear isn’t just a side project or vanity affair for Solak, it is a chance to work in a new arena and to succeed as an entrepreneur. Solak is doing what she loves, and it is making others look and feel great. The entrepreneur and her co-founders have big plans for 2019; and Devil’s Tear with its potential future offsets will become the top choice for individuals seeking unique, socially-aware, empowering and ultimately beautiful pieces.
Natalie, you are the co-founder and CEO of Devil’s Tear jewelry. Can you tell us about the company and how it was formed?
NATALIE SOLAK: I met with my co-founder and business partner, Nataly Glushko, a while back after seeing one of Devil’s Tear iconic bracelets that she was developing – the Dragon, a universal symbol of strength, love, protection, and security. I fell in love with the piece, and what it meant to represent. So, over time, it became my amulet and lucky charm bracelet, as well as a focal point of my wishes. Nataly and I continued to stay in touch so one can say we bonded, and Devil’s Tear was forged through our mutual love for fables, hopes, wishes-that-come-through, and Dragons! With Devil’s Tear being a startup, both of us are wearing many different hats. With my responsibilities as co-founder and CEO, I work very, very closely with Nataly as the other co-founder and Chief Creative Officer. Recently we were lucky to expand our team with another amazing female, Nikky Samuels who has been spearheading our operations as a Chief Operating Officer. Through this collaboration, we can shape many areas of Devil’s Tear and guide all future directions for the company, both creative and otherwise.
What is the inspiration behind Devil’s Tear jewelry and its designs?
NATALIE SOLAK: For my co-founder, Devil’s Tear inspiration was to find a way to express and release all her passions and emotions she was going through at that moment. For me, the brand is a reminder of strength, of perseverance through my personal experiences, and the most important reminder not to remain aloof to what is happening around me. There are thousands of jewelry brands and what I think sets Devil’s Tear apart is that our designs are about emotions, hidden passions, reminders that deep within ourselves we have the strength to achieve whatever we desire, the power to conquer our personal demons. Our inspirations to continue designing for Devil’s Tears are the comments and feedback from our customers, for whom the pieces became more than just jewelry but a sort of a “protective, lucky talisman.” We do not try to revolutionize the jewelry design world, for us, jewelry is an intimate choice of each person. We want our clients to have a piece through which they can achieve their level of assurance that through our passion we can achieve what we want and need most. Our jewelry is for people who want to let Devil’s Tear pieces guide them like a compass through their journey.
Devil’s Tear jewelry is said to bring a ‘calm and tranquil’ feeling to those who wear it. Why is this important and who exactly are the designs for?
NATALIE SOLAK: I am a workaholic, who is used to leading a hectic life, dashing between meetings, appointments, with project deadlines perfectly fitting in leaving little to no space for personal time or the quality time I could spend with my family and loved ones. And this lifestyle is pretty common in the current working environment, where most of the people I know lead extraordinarily active and busy lives. When I discussed the main goals of our brand, both Nataly and I wanted our jewelry to evoke a feeling of peace, calmness and inner equilibrium for its wearer so that we can never lose the sight of our “True North”. And yet, we deliberate Devil’s Tear pieces to be the type of jewelry that can support and easily fit within the lifestyle of our clients and could be worn from morning to late after-work hours events with its sleek yet timeless designs.
It is said each design is influenced by your worldwide journeys. How have your travels helped your creativity?
NATALIE SOLAK: I have always felt that jewelry is a very personal, almost intimate choice of an accessory; therefore, it will always reflect experiences and characteristics of its wearer. I have always been interested in the history of jewelry from the earlier times when jewelry served as amulets to protect against illness or forces of nature to the modern times when jewelry is used as means of self-expression and the way to capture one’s unique character. To this day, jewelry remains one of the last vestments of uniform “language” across multiple countries and cultures. However, while having similar if not universal meaning, each place I visited had something unique added to the objects they used to adorn themselves. Some distinct pops of color relate to specific countries, gems that can only be found in particular areas, unusual materials and such that can often identify with a single unique place and experience. Both my co-founder and I collect the pieces from our journeys as mementos to those incredible experiences. The name of our brand, Devil’s Tear, comes from the name of the magnificent black coral cliffs located on one of the multiple tiny islands in Indonesia. The sprays from the massive waves crashing over the rock resemble the tears of otherworldly deities, and the place itself is believed to have a strong spiritual connection to the daunting power of Mother Nature and revered as a strong spiritual place by both tourists and locals. We hope that Devil’s Tear jewelry can help us showcase a distinct combination of world-wide traits unique to the brand and well-suited for our discerning wearer who likes exclusivity, elegance, style, and spiritual connection.
Solak has a variety of influences when it comes to envisioning future designs in making jewelry. Devil’s Tear pieces aren’t the typical gold or silver numbers other companies produce. They are creative and bring forth a feeling lacking in many modern jewelry pieces. Wearers can select a piece and interpret the item’s meaning. As Solak says, no creature is good or bad. However, the wearer can decide on which side of the line they fall on when wearing a Devil’s Tear item.
Can you tell us about the creatures, charms, and protective amulets created by the company?
NATALIE SOLAK: Some of the creatures we use as part of our designs originated from fables, myths, and lore across the world. For as long as humans have existed, they have used bejeweled objects to adorn themselves and assign meanings full of hope for protection or wish-granting abilities to the jewelry. To this day, we retain the habits of our ancestors as well as a child-like desire for having an amulet that can help us reach our goal. The creatures we use in our design were always an integral part of any folklore and to this day retain a mostly positive connotation across multiple cultures. These creatures serve as one of the few remaining universal languages that help us connect despite the differences we may have in our upbringing, helping to underline innocence, female or male energy, protection, good luck or fortune. No creature in our collections is good or bad – there is merely an interpretation, and we hope that our clients will let Devil’s Tear creations add and enhance their personal stories. I feel confident and supportive energy from our designs and hope that our clients will feel the same.
With her busy work schedule and multiple obligations, it is hard to believe Solak can find the time to create a jewelry brand. Yet, that is just what she did as she continues to thrive in the business world. Solak says jewelry and Devil’s Tear’s customers are her passion. It is easy to believe those claims as she writes a new chapter in her life.
Natalie, you have had a long, successful career working with Thomson Reuters, CBL Path, and ZNPartners. Why move into the jewelry business at this point in your career?
NATALIE SOLAK: Throughout my career, I was privileged to work with some of the brightest, most successful and creative people I have ever met. During my professional engagements, I learned not only the foundation of the business, its strategy, and growth but I learned to appreciate that one produces the best of its work when they follow their passion. Devil’s Tear and all it means to our clients and me is my passion. I am still actively engaged in many business initiatives, as I love the work I do, and I feel a strong commitment and devotion to all of my engagements. However, I got involved with Devil’s Tear for myself – in doing so, I followed two things – my passions, and my thoughts on what I can contribute to the outside world from my past, present and future experiences. I feel that I am creating a new chapter of my life, or in other words – creating my life’s story. As part of my personal development, I didn’t follow a fashionable trend of a strategy. I merely chose to do what I love and I am lucky to have a co-founder who feels about Devil’s Tear as strongly and passionately as I. We both hope that our clients will feel some part of the positive emotion every time they wear a Devil’s Tear creation and let it guide them in telling their own life story.
Not only are you the co-founder of Devil’s Tears, but you are also the COO of ZNPartners. How do you get the work-life balance right with such a busy schedule?
NATALIE SOLAK: And I am also a co-founder of another startup (digital networking app, Nice to Meet You)! I can only be grateful for my wonderful husband who has always supported me in all of my work engagements and who can follow my ideas from technical specifications to business consulting to jewelry designs. If there is one thing, I learned that would be to pursue my passions. I never look back! There are some stressful and nerve-wracking days, but there are many more moments where I cannot be more proud or happier seeing what I have achieved. I am continually learning and refining everything I learned across all of my engagements. I may not achieve perfection, but I learn from my experiences and mistakes and apply it all to the future of my projects. I strive to do my best and deliver to the clients what can make them happy.
In December, Devil’s Tear prepared for its exclusive launch party in New York City. A large crowd of fashion experts, family, and friends are expected on hand as Solak and Glushko unveil their line of unique pieces.
On December 14th, Devil’s Tear will host an exclusive launch party in New York City. How did it feel to showcase the designs and company you co-founded this year?
NATALIE SOLAK: As I am drafting my interview for Totalprestige, the launch party is only a few days away. The future never looked scarier or brighter at the same! I am incredibly proud of what Devil’s Tear has achieved. Throughout the event, I hope that people will see that Devil’s Tear is not just beautiful jewelry. We are the brand that wants to help people stop being aloof to what is going on around them. We are not here to create a revolution but show that helping others less fortunate than we are only through financial means may not be enough and we may choose to engage on a more personal level and perhaps lead others by example. We will be supporting several causes that are important to the founding members of Devil’s tear and help teach the real-life business skills to those who aren’t as fortunate as we are. Besides, we will help practice the skills learned through Devil’s Tear and hope that this approach can help pave the way to a better and happier future to the beneficiaries of those causes. I can only hope that people attending our launch event can see that and collaborate with us in the future.
While some entrepreneurs as busy as Solak would take a backseat and let their company grow organically, she is not ready to rest yet. Devil’s Tear is expecting an active 2019 and will go straight to the consumer with existing pieces, with hopes of developing future diffusion lines.
What are your plans for Devil’s Tear over the next two years? Is it going to be a slow, organic growth or will the company attempt to make a more impactful impression on the public?
NATALIE SOLAK: I am truly fortunate to have an incredible female-led team, and through our collaboration we are expanding Devil’s Tear. Next year for us will be about building direct-to consumer e-commerce business, exploring new possibilities through diffusion lines and plans to begin manufacturing in New York. We will also be focused on working hard to evolve and develop our existing designs, add new and thrilling products to the brand and engage with our clients and beneficiaries of the causes we support to keep interactive feedback. This will allow us to keep Devil’s Tear and its future expansions full of fresh and unique ideas, make it exciting to our clients and help us build a foundation for a stronger business.
As an entrepreneur with three businesses running concurrently, what is your advice to others who are reluctant to stretch themselves further?
NATALIE SOLAK: Running any business is always hard. Running your own business is one of the most challenging things you will ever do. However, if you are reading this or other advice about entrepreneurship, you must be wondering about striking on your own. So, my advice would be – don’t be afraid to start. If you don’t try, you may never know what level of success you can achieve. Failure is part of the learning process and nothing to be afraid of. If you have been dreaming about your own business, take the risk and make the step towards something that could be the most exciting chapter of your life.
Away from the business world, Solak is a lot like other entrepreneurs. When she isn’t working or learning about business, Solak can be found with her two dogs, relaxing at home.
Natalie, what is a day in your life like?
NATALIE SOLAK: My days are rarely the same! While it usually starts at 6 a.m. and ends only when I complete what seems to be a never-ending daily to-do list, there is never a dull moment. Perhaps my days may not be as tranquil or glamorous as some books or social media show, but I get to spend my day learning about business, meeting new people and most importantly, learning new things about myself. Some days may be incredibly tiring and frustrating, but I always try to set small breaks with a “happy routine” to break the tiredness and recharge. However, the one thing that never goes away is that I love what I do and even in the longest days that is one thing that will always keep me going.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
NATALIE SOLAK: Despite being quite social and having a successful career in the extroverted business world, I am an introvert who had to learn how to understand myself better and how to be at peace with myself, so I can be professionally successful, while still preferring and enjoy the solitude and quiet.
What makes you smile?
NATALIE SOLAK: Spending time with my two puppies – Russian toy terriers – Honey and Lou. Every day they help me understand and remember what unconditional love is.
What scares you?
NATALIE SOLAK: I am afraid of being so wrapped up with all the things that are happening with my professional life that I may not have enough time for my family, friends and even for myself.
Do you have any hobbies?
NATALIE SOLAK: I am lucky to have my hobby so closely aligned with my work. I love to travel, so needing to take long and frequent business trips have always been a pleasure rather than a chore. I love learning about new cultures, trying new foods, seeing places that before I could only see in books. I am incredibly grateful and proud that part of my knowledge that makes up Devil’s Tear future strategy comes from my hobby and favorite pastime.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
NATALIE SOLAK: Anne Frank – A young girl, with incredible talents for writing, had a presence of mind and perception of reality of someone far older than she was. The most astonishing thing about her is the one that inspires me the most. Having gone through unimaginable struggles and hardship, having experienced hatred and the worst humanity had to offer, she still chose to retain positivity and optimism on life. There is a quote from her diaries I read a while ago, and it left a massive impact on me. I read it to this day, from time to time, to remind me that no day is bad enough for me to lose my humanity or not to believe in the goodness of others. “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideas, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. I keep them because in spite of everything I still believe that people are good at heart. I can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.”
Can you share your two favorite quotes with us?
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” – Coco Chanel
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
NATALIE SOLAK: Part of Devil’s Tear vision is to highlight that it’s ok to be different, to be an individual. “I am not what I appear to be” is part of the mission I wish our pieces to deliver. Quite often, I see that people try to hide themselves and their feelings out of the fear of being rejected and isolated. Quite a few people will seek validation through the opinion of others, which breeds cruelty, unhappiness, and loneliness. If I had the power to change just one thing it would be to give everyone enough confidence to learn to be themselves and enough kindness to accept others who may appear different.
Devil’s Tear is a unique jewelry brand based on its co-founders loves, passions, interests, and travels. While its pieces may not appeal to everyone, that doesn’t bother Solak. Devil’s Tear is unique and isn’t looking for validation from others.
In many ways, Solak is just like the jewelry she, Glushko and Samuels envision for all existing and future lines. She is unique, full of meaning, and unflinching. Devil’s Tear current pieces and interesting innovations may just give their wearers the confidence Solak keenly wants them to have and the self-belief she has plenty of.
For more information on Natalie Solak and Devil’s Tear jewelry, please visit http://devilstear.co/
Journalist and author. Contributor