Can a company be founded on true love?
It's a rare thing when two people with a shared love for fashion and each other come together to create lasting bonds in both marraige and business but that's just what happened in 1973 when William and Harriet Albanese tied the knot and founded Giavan the very same year. The two met at Hartley's, a local dress store in Westwood, NJ where Harriet was an accomplished salesperson and Bill committed himself to meeting as many women as possible - the perfect job for this endeavor. It wasn't long before the two got well acquainted and opened their own store nearby, selling high-end apparel brands to local fashionistas. It was here they began designing their own jewelry collection and selling it in-store. These early pieces, made primarily with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious beads, were an instant hit with local shoppers so they started selling these items to other stores as well. When Harriet became pregnant with twins a few years later, the store was forced to close and wholesaling jewelry became the primary business.
As the collection's casual aesthetic gradually evolved into something dressier, independent dress stores and bridal shops became their primary customers and some were requesting more variety, so in the early 80's, imported jewelry became a significant part of the business. Yet the in-house jewelry collection continued to be the foundation of the company and the style most instantly recognizable as our own. The growing number of independent bridal shops during this time led to a natural expansion into tiaras, haircombs and other bridal accessories. Retailers loved the reasonable prices and endless customization available to them and Giavan saw a steady increase in store accounts and industry recognition in both the wedding and social occasion segments.
After nearly 40 years of running their accessory brand, Bill and Harriet welcomed me to the organization in 2003 to assist in sales, marketing and creative direction. More product categories followed including handbags and sashes, followed by a company store in 2007 which provided local shoppers access to the entire collection, on-site customization and personalized one-on-one service. The company website, also selling direct to the consumer, was launched shortly thereafter, showcasing the brand to a much wider audience while continuing to stress our core values of quality, customization and in-house assembly.
Bill and Harriet's lasting dedication to their business and to each other continues to shine through in both the products we sell and how we sell them. This commitment to providing beautiful pieces for the biggest days in one's life showcases our love for the business and one another. We know of no other business that better represents what is good and timeless in this world.
- Richard Albanese, December 2017