Hidden Gem: Meet Female Founder Debora LaBudde

Debora LaBudde is on a mission to shake up the jewelry industry. As a former exec, she was confident when it came to high-powered business deals, but as a consumer, she found the experience of buying jewelry incredibly intimidating and impersonal. Enter Memo, LaBudde’s solution to what she considers an antiquated shopping process: a site that allows women to shop for fine jewelry on a much more intimate level. Taking a cue from high-end fashion stores, Memo allows clients to try out jewelry at home (at no cost) for 3 days. A beautifully curated selection and thoughtful content means customers don’t just covet, but connect to the jewelry and its artisans, introducing a level of approachability to e-comm that’s, well, not too precious.

Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Tailored with sleek silhouettes and investment basics — a clean palette to adorn with beautiful accessories.

What inspired this career path for you?
I have a background of working with entrepreneurs and co-founding, advising, or investing in start-up companies.

I’ve always loved discovering new fine jewelry designers. Over the years, my frequent travel has allowed me to meet fine jewelry designers who are wonderful hybrids of craftsmen and entrepreneurs. Their work is so inspirational — I found myself wanting to discover more. I quickly realized that discovering talented fine jewelry designers was nearly impossible without traveling or walking into an actual studio or boutique. Most retailers create a barrier between the consumer and the product with stiff glass cases and little to no information about the designer or brand. Additionally, online luxury sites have minimal editorial depth in this category of luxury goods.

Memo was created to bring an intimate approach to purchasing fine jewelry with a discovery-focused shopping experience — making the often complex and unapproachable world of modern fine jewelry more accessible to everyone.

What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Memo is a luxury platform to bring visibility to inspirational designers in the fine jewelry industry. I’m constantly inspired by the talent we have curated on Memo — their focus on perfecting their craft, the unique point of view they bring with each of their collections, and the strength they exhibit in building their own businesses.

Who do you look up to in the world of female entrepreneurs?
I truly applaud anyone who makes the decision to start their own business. Whether in fashion, tech, or even a family-operated business, I know firsthand the sacrifice that is required. I look up to women who share my relentless work ethic and are taking risks as well as delivering results.

What have been the highlights and challenges of starting your own business?
As every entrepreneur knows, starting any business can be a roller coaster ride with highs and lows — often on a daily basis. Meeting and interacting with our designers, as well as receiving praise from clients who are especially delighted by a special piece or exceptional service, have been some of the greatest highlights of starting Memo. Many of the challenges I’ve encountered have been a result of my own desire to grow quickly, perform for all of our designers, and consistently provide exceptional service to every one of our clients.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own companies, or grow into top leadership positions?
Focus on staying strong amidst adversity. I believe to be successful, we need to learn from every negative event or situation so that a future positive outcome can occur. We need to let any disappointments only fuel our desire to succeed.

Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life” —Marie Kondo

Which blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
I read BoF and WWD daily to stay current on news in the fashion industry, as well as L2 and its related reports for key trends in the e-commerce industry. I also enjoy Town & Country Magazine and Architectural Digest.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
This year we’re looking to expand the Memo service on many levels, including adding new designers and featured collections, new levels of service, as well as additional client events and exciting new partnerships.

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