A life in Beverly Hills is for most people seen as life in luxury with fast cars, beautiful women and tons of A-list celeb-stars. This is in fact not far from reality, but how does a Danish man like Jannik Olander suddenly end up in Beverly Hills, where he in no time have established him-self a huge brand in the jewelry industry? We sat down and talked with the Dane, who has been able to make it big over there.
Some time ago, when Carlo A contacted the founder and CEO of Nialaya Jewelry, Jannik Olander, resident of Beverly Hills, it was with some skepticism on whether we would get an answer. For some time we had followed Jannik Olander in the press and various media where especially his extravagant life with Ferrari, beautiful models and parties including guests like Chris Brown and Beyoncé, aroused great interest. In addition to living a life, who most dream about, we also wanted to know who the person Jannik Olander was. Our skepticism about his lack of response, however, was brought to shame. After a lot of struggle and contact through different middlemen, we finally reached Jannik. He is undoubtedly a busy man, but we managed, and we met a very ambitious man, who also possesses an incredible drive and positive spirit. Despite all of this Hollywood life, he has still not forgotten the family back home. Jannik is actually not afraid of declaring him-self - though with a certain ironic undertone - the world's best son with his three weekly calls to his mother in Middelfart.
When Denmark is too small
It was probably given that Jannik should be an entrepreneur and preferably abroad. In the family there is a need for entrepreneurship, and when Jannik at the age of 19, choose to leave Vejle to go to London, it was the beginning of many adventures abroad.
- In London I got a job at Harvey Nichols in their Menswear dept. At that time this was THE hottest Menswear store in Europe. I worked there for a year and learned a lot about myself, life and fashion and met a lot of crazy people. Later I moved to Munich to learn German. It was so bad and I could hardly say a word. But I was lucky that they Spoke English in the Ralph Lauren store in Maximillian Strasse. I got a job there and learned German mainly from going out to clubs 7 days a week. Later I worked a couple of winters in the Alps trying to teach tourists how to snowboard and I was a bartender in the summer in Ibiza. It was some pretty crazy years. With 24 I finally decided to be serious and went to Hamburg where I became manager of the Ralph Lauren store. I studied business in Copenhagen at the same time and after graduating I finally moved back to Copenhagen after 7 years abroad. It felt like home and really good. I was headhunted to Brdr. Andersen as CEO and from there I went to start Polo Ralph Lauren in Illums and I started my life as self employed. It was expensive to start up, but I had a small saving and my newly bought apartment in Copenhagen had already gone up in price so I bored money to start. I later added Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Jeans, Tommy Jeans, Polo Kids. etc. I also added Distribution in for Lexington in Denmark to my little empire. After 7 years I sold everything and started a T-shirt brand with printed T-shirts. Build that for 3 years and sold it prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2008.
The beginning of something new
With the move to Los Angeles, Jannik started a new era in his life. After a less successful start with a new magazine, he wanted to turn back to the roots and to what he thought was fun and exciting - like something that was great to sell and within the fashion world. This was the beginning of the successful jewelry adventure - Nialaya Jewelry. Jannik had a great interest in jewelry, but thought that an alternative to the expensive jewelries in the industry was missing. His goal was to create some spiritual bracelets with an edge.
- I wanted to create something that was handmade, affordable and in general really cool. I thought that they had to be other cool guys, like me, who loved jewelry and would like something more spiritual. Now, 6 years later, I can say that I was right. With Nialaya have we developed a brand with great products, which is affordable and differentiated compared to the other cool brands in the market. Everything is still handmade in Hollywood as we make it by hand behind the store on Melrose. My concept has proven to be loved all over the world and I think that it is one of the biggest rewards as a designer and entrepreneur.
A brand in growth
Nialaya Jewelry started in the garage of Jannik in the Hollywood Hills 6 years ago. Since then has the company developed itself to being an international brand, which sells to more than 100 different countries worldwide. The expectations for 2016 is to have 1.000.000 visitors on their online shop. In general is the interest for Nialaya Jewelry increasing and their unique products are seen as trendsetting by many in the industry. The reason for their huge success must be found in their approach to the online media:
- We have been very much focused on online media right from the start and we are especially skilled on SEO. Today are we far ahead of many of our competitors. We are very active on social media, with nearly 100.000 followers on Instagram and 66.000 on Facebook. I very much believe in the online business. We have developed a 3D app, where you can build your own bracelet in 3D and twist and turn it. We have a Mobile app, where we can send push notifications to several thousands and nearly 70.000 have signed up for our weekly newsletter. In other words: WE ARE ON!!! If you own a company nowadays and don’t have an online shop, you are not considered as a professional and I would actually say that you are irresponsible. It is not too late to start, but you are really behind.
Apart from the online media does Nialaya Jewelry include 3 flagship stores in New York, LA, Tokyo and are expecting to open one in Beijing in 8 months time.
Personal branding complements the success
Running a company is never easy, and it has not been a walk in the park for Jannik eiher. Jannik has an obvious ability to brand him-self, which is one of the main reasons for his success. He has done a lot of PR, participated in numerous TV interviews and moreover had the lead role in a reality show on the biggest tv-station in USA, Bravo TV:
- It is easier to build a brand if you have one person as a front runner. One, who people can relate to and be inspired off. I surely hope that I can motivate people with what I do, so that they dare to follow their own dreams.
Jannik´s dark sun tan and big smile, often accompanied by beautiful models indicates that Los Angeles might not be the worst place to start as an entrepreneur.
- Building my dream company in USA, brings me in contact with the coolest people, the funniest events, and the best experiences in the whole world. It has been the craziest ride, which I could not have done in eg. Denmark. It would not have been possible. Denmark is fantastic, cool and cute at the same time, but is very tiny and does not create the same attention as USA and especially LA. The entire world is looking at Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We watch in TV when we are kids and it is attractive, exciting and exotic in LA, and moreover to sell a jewelry brand in LA, which is built on celebrities. To build a company, open a store on Melrose in LA and in Bleecker Street in NY and to act from US to the entire world has been a cool and very challenging experience – something that I am proud and very grateful for.
Do it with style
Fashion is a large part of Janniks life and he does not compromise with his own style.
- I grew up reading GQ and Arena at the age of 14. Fashion is a part of the culture today and a part of my life. I am not obsessed with fashion, but I would lie if said that it doesn’t matter to me. I actually have a huge wardrobe. I want my staff to look great and classy too. It’s important. We hired a guy 6 month ago. His style was so bad I had to give my assistant $500 and take him out to get him dressed. It was killing me and my eyes were hurting from his brown clothes every morning I walked into the office, says a laughing Jannik.
He particularly requires a lot of how his staff is dressed:
- I have pretty high expectations to how my employees are dressed at the office, because we have a lot of exciting clients, celebrities, bloggers, dealers, agents or press coming in. We sell fashion jewelry and we are a brand which people from around the world buys. It is important to show them that we mean it ourselves.
The design and concept of Carlo A also receives some positive response:
- I think it is cool, simple and pure. Overall pretty cool expression. Moreover is it great to see when you try to differentiate what you do and creates a cool concept around it.
When life is more than high society
With a hectic life in Beverly Hills, took Jannik in 2014 a break from the everyday and travelled to the north of Thailand. Here he visited the orphanage Sarnelli House for HIV/Aids infected. During his time he had the opportunity to hear the story of the children. Often very sad stories – as many of the children was abandoned by their families due to their illness. Jannik bonded with the orphanage and till this day still in contact with them. Every year is Nialaya Jewelry donating medicine, toys and food to help and continue the good work they are doing. You can read more about the charity here: www.sarnelliorphanage.org
- I think that all children have the right to a happy and healthy life. The Sarnelli House Collection takes a step towards fulfilling that dream. That is why we want to support this.
THE 6 SHARP
What are the ambitions for the future – where is Nialaya Jewelry in 5 years?
- I think and hope that we are a global player on the international jewelry market with additional shops, dealers and an even stronger E-commerce platform. Though we already incredibly strong online.
What is the next big project for you/Nialaya Jewelry?
- I have just signed a contract with Lamborghini and I am designing their first jewelry collection which will be named NIALAYA for LAMBORGHINI. It will be sold in 124 Lamborghini dealerships around the world and in all the stores, which sells Nialaya. So that will be in my own shops, on www.nialaya.com – www. lamborghini.com and hopefully also in 1000 jewelry, fashion hotel and lifestyle shops around the world.
What is your best career advice?
- Believe in yourself, work more than any of your friends, keep focus and remember that your girlfriend always comes in the second or third row, if you have a dog, laughs Jannik loudly.
Which limititaion can there be in creating your own career?
- You are often alone, if you do not have a partner and you cannot ask anyone for an advice or share you success with others. Financially can it be incredibly though. A basic education is recommended in order to understand the terminology. Other than that will I recommend that you work for somebody else a few years, and use the experience of your bosses in order to face the challenges in the best way possible. You are never be 100% ready anyway, so just try it.
Do you have a motto?
- “NO excuses - just make it happen” That is a sign that hangs behind me on my desk and reminds my employees about how I think.
Which book is on your bedside table?
- The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer.
Name: Jannik Olander
Age: 44 years
Residens: Beverly Hills
Education: se: Bachelor Business/Retail from Niels Brock, Copenhagen Business School
- Nialaya Jewelry
- SkyBlue – In-house Hotel Magazine
- Own T-shirt brand
- CEO – Polo Ralph Lauren, Illum Copenhagen
- Store Manager – Ralph Lauren, Hamburg
- Sales Manager – Ralph Lauren, Munich
- Sales Manager Harvey Nichols, London