Every so often I’m made aware of a new product vying to break into the marketplace, and it’s always exciting to see what is on the horizon in various categories. Equally interesting are the stories behind these up-and-coming ventures, with those seeking to “make a difference in the world” via social entrepreneurism at the top of my personal interest list.
I recently became aware of one jewelry design hopeful, Mark Strelau of Type AG, who is creating his own “silver lining” out of the dark cloud of ovarian cancer his mother battled with. Call it a chance encounter, call it fate that I learned of Type AG and its plight to raise start-up capital on Kickstarter.com, where worthy creative projects get “all-or-nothing funding” with pledges as low as $1 from regular folks like you and me. But, since ovarian cancer has affected my own family in significant ways I was particularly touched by Mark’s story and his palpable sincerity relating to the inspiration—and unique training ground—for his edgy sterling silver ring designs that are as cool as they are cause-conscious.
With a hip, trendy and sometimes irreverent urban aesthetic and a passion-driven purpose, Type AG has its sights set on inspiring others one silver ring at a time. Here Mark provides some insight and inspirations regarding his flagship line along with his unique path in the dental industry that uniquely fueled his ability to become a jewelry designer.
Your company name—what does it mean or represent?
The name is pegged to the element abbreviation for Silver, which is AG. My 100% sterling silver rings are bold, unique, and truly encompass different personality types while being a symbol of motivation and perseverance.
How did you learn to work with silver as a medium and to design jewelry?
For the past 14 years, I’ve been creating dental crowns and veneers in a laboratory. I must say, it’s actually been very rewarding to know how many new smiles came from my work. However, since the age of 13 my aspiration has always been to create a business in which I can inspire people to make a better life for themselves, their family, friends, and all the people around them. It’s just how I’m wired.
For years I toyed with the idea of making rings. Using the same processes that I use in the dental laboratory, I started to create designs, but ended up putting the endeavor on hold because I couldn’t find a direction that meant something to me.
What ultimately inspired you to press forward with Type AG?
In 2011, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. To spend some meaningful time together, my family decided to take our very first vacation together. It was during that trip that, as we sat on a beach, we were approached by a woman selling trinkets. My dad purchased 4 identical necklaces in the shape of an ‘ohm,’ which was for good luck.
As I reflected on what was happening within my family, the extraordinarily important time we were spending together, and this necklace that now symbolized the entire experience, I realized this was the purpose I had been searching for. Just as my necklace purchased that day at the beach serves as a reminder of a very important aspect of my life, others can now find that same comfort and inspiration with my new line of symbolic silver rings.
What fuels your passion for your designs and your business, Type AG, overall?
My desire and life goal has always been to do something amazing for humanity since, as I’ve met such a wide variety of people over the years, I’ve come to realize that it only takes a little bit of inspiration to push someone to achieve their goals. Ultimately, I believe, we are all one step away from accomplishing amazing things in life, and I’m honored to be a part of someone’s journey.
Tell me about some of your inaugural ring designs.
The “Together Til the End” design was one of the first rings I ever created. Because of the skeleton some people might think it’s only for a specific type of person or personality but, for me, it symbolizes being close with friends, family, or anyone meaningful in my life. I have a lot of family and friends that live very far away, so this ring is a reminder to myself that they’re always with me, supporting me, and that our connection runs deep and will never be lost.
Some might only see the “Driven” design as a simple tire, but it carries much deeper meaning. Most people have goals in line and often find it difficult to surpass hurdles encountered along the way. This ring is my reminder to keep your eyes on the prize, to not lose focus in any aspect in life, and to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. What are you “Driven” to accomplish?
This “Free” butterfly is for both men and women, and represents freedom, being a free spirit, or any other variation that works best for you. It serves as a great reminder to be yourself in any situation, live life to the fullest and, most importantly, smile during the whole process.
The “On Track” ring is suitable for a wide variety of styles and personalities for both men and women as well. It serves as a daily reminder to always make decisions that lead in the direction of your personal goals and remain committed to achieving them.
How much do the rings cost?
The line, which is crafted in 100% sterling silver, ranges in price from $120-$165
Do you wear your own rings?
I do wear my ring designs, and I am constantly being stopped and asked about them. It becomes a great conversation piece because the rings mean different things to different people.
Anything you would like to add?
Any kind of pledge on my Kickstarter.com project page–even just $1—will make a difference in making my dreams a reality by turning my creativity, ambition and heart into a jewelry design business that will beguile and benefit others. Also, be sure to check out the designs and “Like” me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TypeAG.
Yes, Mark, like you indeed.
“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***