“Your path will be revealed to you. You have to trust,” says Tina Tang, whose dual passions for fitness and jewelry design aligned to form Iron Strong Jewelry.
The multi-line brand of sterling silver and brass jewelry, key chains, cufflinks, and charms was born from her creative and self-empowered nature.
In 1998, Tang said goodbye to an unfulfilling, six-figure job as a Goldman Sachs equities trader, to pursue jewelry making full-time. She'd previously dabbled in the craft as a hobbyist through WYCA classes in wax carving and silversmithing.
Before long, Tang sold her “very feminine designs” out of West Village, New York studios, but “It wasn’t paying the bills,” she says.
To supplement her income, she got certified as a personal trainer and taught at Equinox, where inspiration for Iron Strong struck.
“I wanted to find things to wear to express my enjoyment for getting strong and feeling accomplished,” she says.
Tang designed her first piece, a kettle bell charm necklace, for a fellow trainer, which she bartered for a free training session. Inquiries poured in, so Tang successfully raised $6600 through a Kickstarter campaign in order to grow her jewelry lines. Each new design costs her roughly $200 for the carving, casting and 3D printing processes, says Tang.
With orders coming in, Tang left Equinox this past January to focus on her business, which she operates from a home office in downtown Jersey City.
Targeting those devoted to fitness in their life, Tang says she plans to launch a rock climbing line next. Comfortable letting her business grow organically, Tang says, “You have to stick with it. I’d rather have less money and enjoy what I’m doing, than have regrets later.”