New Business: Hye Jane

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Most of us have a Verona sweatshirt or two. Ditto Verona sweatpants or maroon-and-white pajama pants, and a Verona hat or scarf. But Verona jewelry? No, no, not jewelry sold in Verona. Jewelry that is all about what Verona is all about, courtesy of a home-based business called Hye Jane.

Hye Jane is the design vision of Jane Hong. She’s a first-generation Korean-American and the business takes its name from her first name in those two cultures. Her Korean first name is Hye Yun, which is pronounced “Hey Yoon.”

Her collection is based on jewelry elements that can be dressed up or dressed down, just the way a Verona mom moves through the day. There are foundational chains, classic (or whimsical) charms and gemstone strings. For the ears, there are studs, hoops and cuffs. Her “Varsity” collection includes a timeless Verona “V” that can be layered on top of charms for track, tennis, swimming, lacrosse, volleyball, baseball, basketball or football, as well as graduation. Hong sells direct through her website, as well as in pop-up parties around town. Also in the works–jewelry for other elements of the community, like music students, and fundraisers to support Verona groups.

“The more I’m immersed with the community, the more people take pride in supporting local,” says Hong. In the photo above, Hong’s charms are layered on varsity letters from another Verona business, Academy Apparel. “They wondered why I was buying them all,” Hong says with a laugh.

Jane Hong, with some of her Hye Jane collection

Hong and her family have lived in Verona since 2019, having moved from New York City. After growing up in Tucson, Arizona, Hong had come east to study industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her first job was in eyeglass design, but she quickly turned her focus to jewelry, and hasn’t looked back. Hong worked in fashion jewelry and fine jewelry at brands like Mark Jacobs and David Yurman, where she learned every aspect of jewelry making. “Everything was designed in-house, which was really exciting,” Hong says.

While Hong thought that some aspects of her career might need to change when her daughters started school at Forest Avenue Elementary School, COVID-19 ”changed everything.” She discovered that she could work and be with her girls, and that she was done with commuting to Manhattan. When the pandemic loosened its grip, Hong found herself on the sidelines of school and sports activities, focusing on the Verona gear that other moms were wearing. “It’s being proud of their identity,” says Hong, who thought that Verona-themed jewelry would add to that feeling.

One thing led to another, and just before Christmas, Hye Jane launched. “I emailed everybody in my email box and just said hey, I know it’s five days ‘till Christmas. If you need anything last minute we’ll do local deliveries.” Positive response? Oh yes.

Hye Jane is a mix of fashion and fine jewelry. All of the Hye Jane pieces are priced under $200, which Hong says is a “pretty achievable price point for most people.” She designs every element, but the pieces themselves are manufactured in Thailand and Korea.

The V and several of the other charms were inspired by vintage pieces–and the nostalgia that they evoke. “The Verona V charm has done very well,” Hong says. “They’ve been great for teachers’ gifts. They’ve been great for just parents who love their sports.”

While Hong admits to being occasionally overwhelmed by all the work that goes into launching and running a business, she’s got a view for the future of Hye Jane. She expects to launch a men’s line and expand the Varsity collection to other towns. Always with an eye to being a community partner.

“Ultimately I can give back and feel good about this collection, and have a purpose,” says Hong. “It’s not just jewelry.”

Hy Jane
On Instagram

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].

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