Tonight’s Meet a Mom, Helena Krodel (Wegweiser), together with her husband, best friend and business partner, David Alan (Wegweiser), are the couple behind David Alan, the premier custom fine jeweler atelier in NYC making Custom, Not Customary fine jewelry for private clients.
Their work is extremely personal; the marriages, the babies, the anniversaries, they are here for it all. With a deep background in design, Jewelry PR and deep commitment to the fine jewelry industry, they managed to create a beautiful brand together – their secret sauce… completely different but complementary skill sets that match each other perfectly.
Keep reading as Helena shares her favorite jewelry pieces and your must haves, her passions outside of their business, and how she manages to “balance” a successful business and being a Mom!
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally? Names/ages of kids, etc.?
Hi! My name is Helena Krodel (Wegweiser)! My husband, best friend and business partner is David Alan (Wegweiser). Our daughter Presley is 10! We don’t call her an only child; we call her “The One.” Our French bulldog, Disco is 2.5 years old. He is named after Presley’s favorite tween store in Brooklyn.
Where do you live in Greenwich and what do you love about Greenwich and your neighborhood/ what made you decide to move there/ how long have you been there?
We live just over the Greenwich border in Rye Brook.
Coincidentally, David and I both used to live in Greenwich, at different times in our lives. We had a feeling we would end up back here because of the beautiful community and proximity to the city.
We picked up our life during COVID, (like many city dwellers) and high-tailed it out of NYC.
When schools, parks, restaurants, and museums closed, the allure of living in Brooklyn wore off. We continue to have our business in Manhattan which keeps us connected to the city.
Words can’t express how happy we are here. I will never forget the beautiful mamas who texted me just weeks after moving, asking if I needed anything and if Presley could play. I was surprised, but delighted, by the sweet and special welcome. Fast forward 3 years and I still feel like we are on vacation!
For those of us who aren’t familiar, please tell us about David Alan and what makes it unique.
David Alan is the premier custom fine jeweler atelier in NYC making Custom, not Customary fine jewelry for private clients.
Our work is extremely personal; the marriages, the babies, the anniversaries, we are here for it all. Very much like a family doctor, we are intimately involved in our clients’ lives. We are intertwined with overlapping circles and circles of family, friends, and clients; beautifully blurred lines between them all. The only thing that is clear is that these are some of our most treasured relationships.
Regarding our jewelry: The quality is unmatched. The service is white glove, yet intimate. The designs are mind blowing.
Things that other jewelers don’t have the audacity, talent, or vision to do are no-brainers for us.
David is obsessed with surprises and secret details, so he places diamonds, birthstones, personal effects, coded messages inside the jewelry and in truly unexpected places, some of which you need to hunt for. These become treasured elements that you only share with who you choose.
We create modern-classic, future heirlooms that translate the individual into a piece that will be treasured for generations.
Can you please share about your professional background and career highlights that led you to creating David Alan?
For ten years I was the spokesperson for the United States fine jewelry industry at Jewelers of America. I helped to found GEM Awards, The Academy Awards of the fine jewelry industry. Our board of directors was comprised of the Presidents and CEO’s of the most prestigious fine jewelry brands in the world. To have access to them and their knowledge was priceless. It was an honor to serve alongside some of the most powerful women (some also Mamas) in the fine jewelry and luxury watch industry.
Later, I ran several small fine jewelry PR firms, promoting and growing new and established brands. The pivotal role was as Vice President of Brand Strategy for an online fine jewelry store selling pre-loved designer fine jewelry and luxury watches. Growing an online-only jewelry business taught me how to make an old school business model work in a modern world.
David already had a beautiful, burgeoning fine jewelry business as a master custom jeweler in NYC. At that time David Alan was referral based, with no communications or branding strategy. David said, “You are growing and promoting all of these other brands. Why not do this for us?” It was a true aha moment. We decided to take the leap, and I’ve never looked back!
Our secret sauce…Our skill sets are completely different and compliment each other perfectly. We don’t try to do each other’s jobs, respect one another’s work style, and have trust and faith in each other’s decisions.
David is a truly prolific designer, but also “has the hands.” In the fine jewelry world, this means he can fabricate masterfully. My super powers are communication, style, an understanding of what people want and how to communicate this with a personal, yet brand-centric message.
What are your favorite jewelry pieces? Must haves?
My (almost 20 carat total) emerald cut diamond eternity band is set in 18 karat rose gold. David surprised me with this on our 10th anniversary. Surprising me was no small feat since I am so intimately involved in the business.
My tennis necklace, which is the most wearable and comfortable piece of jewelry that I own…and doesn’t flip! Mine was the first of a just-launched collection called Wardrobe by DAVID ALAN ™.
Wardrobe by DAVID ALAN ™ will be unveiled at ELEVENTY on Greenwich Avenue this Saturday, December 16th!
What is the process like for your custom pieces?
Thank you for asking this!
Making Custom, Not Customary fine jewelry is magical. The fine jewelry industry is notoriously opaque. Our goal is to demystify the making of pristine, custom fine jewelry. We manufacture in our atelier, where you can see our master jewelers creating before your eyes. It is a beautiful process which we want to share. We have no secrets, and we stand behind everything we do.
The first step in our process is a complimentary 15-minute call or Zoom consultation with David to discuss design, budget and timeline.
If we agree that we’re the right fit, we book an atelier visit (for clients in the tri-state area). We also work remotely with clients across the country and internationally.
Our production time is currently 4-8 weeks, but can change depending on the complexity of the design. We never show jewelry as it is being made. Finished pieces are presented in person (when possible). David wants our clients to experience their new jewelry as a fully realized treasure. And, he loves the emotional reactions and surprise!
What’s your typical mom uniform?
All monochrome, cream, denim or black.
I love chic matching sweatsuits in black only. (Is that even possible?!)
Leather or faux leather pants
Oversized denim jackets with tiny layering tanks.
Tom Ford sunglasses to hide tired mama eyes.
What do you find the most challenging and most rewarding parts of owning your own business?
Having a partner in life, love and business means every day is a rollercoaster, a thrill ride of sorts.
David and I are both hard-working, creative, passionate, and particular people. Sometimes we fight but we ALWAYS have each other’s back.
The most rewarding part is the freedom, the fun, and the fabulous jewels. We have the absolute best clients and best staff.
Having shared dreams and goals for the business as well as great communication are the glue that keeps us and our business aligned.
How do you find a balance with motherhood and career? Any tips for the rest of the Moms out there?
The juggle is the struggle!
When we left Brooklyn, our Nanny moved back to Paris. My amazing mother-in-law helps us out as well as my network of babysitters, incredible mamas, friends, neighbors.
My advice is to ask your mom-crew for help. We are all in this together!
Secondly, never multi-task. I am a very active, involved mom. Sometimes that means working until 3 and then putting it all down.
I’m always there for homework, dance carpool and to hear the 10-year-old gossip. It also means picking it all back up after 8 pm when Presley goes to bed.
What do you like to do to relax/have fun?
My career is intense, but it is also my passion.
Tracy Anderson is my addiction.
Fashion is my religion and shopping is a sport! I’m obsessed with shopping new, vintage, and pre-owned.
I have a collection of sequin dresses that I am always on the hunt to add to.
If I my life wasn’t in fine jewelry, I would have become a stylist. I love to pour over fashion and home décor magazines. It’s very old-school but very luxurious.
My daughter is a dancer and so was I. We have been known to bust out in a spontaneous dance party at home blasting music in every room. We lived in Brooklyn in a 180-year-old church with neighbors above and below us, so it’s a luxury to be able to play loud music and jump around.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Our NYC Atelier is expanding! We are in the beginning stages of a full gut renovation in our Fifth Avenue space. We have hired an amazing design and fabrication firm in LA, called via Clover. They are designing the new GOOP pop up stores with Gwyneth Paltrow currently. We are leaning into making a gorgeous experience for our custom clients. David is also diving deep into the chasm of this brain to make jaw dropping Couture pieces which will be available for inspiration and sale. And, as I mentioned, for the first time ever, we are making ready-to-wear non custom jewelry. The collection is called Wardrobe by David Alan ™. It is an editorial selection of our best hits that every mama wants in her jewelry wardrobe. Think diamond hoops, tennis necklaces, gemmy cocktail rings and the most insane selection of stacking bands. Visit us in the Spring!
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places when you are in Greenwich to:
Grab coffee: Gregory’s on The Ave. when I’m in a rush!
Workout: Tracey Anderson At Home, Everyday!
Go on a date night: Meso or The Bar
Go out for a girls night: Raphael’s for coffee day dates
Go out to dinner as a family: East End
Get your hair done: Totally Hot
Get your nails done: Cindy’s
Have fun as a family: Walking, shopping, and popping into the art galleries on The Ave! And Van Leeuwen of course, which reminds us of the original Leeuwen truck in NYC!