Jacob Pazos was just a kid when Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing federal levee failure changed New Orleans forever 11 years ago.
He immediately wanted to do something to help, and his philanthropic mission continues to this day with the launch of his new jewelry line, Revival Nola.
Jacob became interested in jewelry design in his early teenage years when he began working with his father for a local diamond wholesaler. After graduating high school, he knew that he wanted to merge his loves of jewelry design and New Orleans and create a way to give back to the local community.
Revival Nola is exactly that: a limited-edition jewelry collection inspired by iconic New Orleans images, with a percentage of sales going to select non-profit organizations in the Crescent City. Each original design takes more than 30 man-hours to create and is offered as a limited-edition collectible pendant. Only 500 of each design are produced, and each necklace comes with a certificate of authenticity.
I recently chatted with Jacob to learn more about what inspired him to start Revival Nola and what the future holds:
During summertime as a teenager, I would spend my time doing two things: volunteering and working. I volunteered at a variety of places—nursing homes and under I-10 with homeless are a few examples.
At 13 years old, I started doing CAD design at a diamond wholesaler in Metairie, LA. My passion for philanthropy, especially in my hometown of New Orleans, combined with my skill set of jewelry design is the mixture for Revival Nola.
This company revolves around giving back to the community. It is the sole reason we exist.
I went around New Orleans looking for symbols that locals would automatically recognize and connect with. I like to pick favorite symbols that mean a lot to me and to the city, and come up with lots of ideas that I eventually narrow down.
I also take into consideration what personality traits of New Orleans I want to capture that quarter. The designs must have a profundity to them in their design and meaning.
With each piece we have, there is much much more than meets the eye. To us, these pieces are more like art than jewelry.
For each design, we narrow down the ideas I have to 5 designs that I feel best capture the city for that given time.
After I decide on a design in theory, I draw out what I want each design to look like. I go through many drawings trying to fully capture the spirit of the piece. After finishing the drawing, I design it in the computer program and work for many hours to capture every detail of each piece.
When I have completed the first draft, I go back and try to refine it over and over. Then, when I feel comfortable with it, I have a prototype made so I can see how it looks in metal.
Then I see what flaws it has and what upgrades I can make. I address those last changes to make sure it meets my quality standard and then have the pieces made.
Each piece is made with solid .925 high polish silver that is hand engraved with its limited edition number on the back (1-500).
Revival Nola as a brand is something very unique because we’re a business built on passion before profit. That’s something you don’t see in the business world very much.
As a philanthropic jewelry company, we are not only different in our philosophy, but also in our product. We put extreme detail into our pieces—trying to make them seem as realistic as possible. You’ll notice details like shingles on roofs or columns and windows in the Cathedral or trim on the Gallery Home piece.
The detail and profundity of the designs are something that we intentionally spend a lot of time and thought on. We don’t whip up designs for the sake of having designs. We craft the best 5 designs of that quarter and present them as something we are very proud of.
We’re going to donate to a couple different non-profits we have in mind at the end of this quarter. We also plan to do some community serving events around the holiday season.
Most companies that donate to charities say they “give a percentage of proceeds” to the non-profit, and those percentages are usually extremely low (typically under 5%). As a brand new startup, we’ve already committed to give 10% to non-profit efforts in the city.
We want to show we’re dedicated to the city and its improvement, and our hope is that the percentage we give will be able to increase as we continue to grow.
Getting together with friends and family, exploring new places to eat/being a tourist in our own town, playing sports in the park and coming back home to cook a good meal while watching the LSU game and the Saints game with friends.
Essentially: food, friends, and football are the equation to a great weekend in New Orleans.
As a company, the future hope of Revival Nola is to grow so that it is able to provide economic stimulus through job training, coaching, and creating.
As far as designs go, I can’t tell you what next quarter’s line is yet… you’ll have to wait. But if you sign up for our email list, you will receive a heads up on the designs, and you’ll have first opportunity to claim them before they come out. That reveal will be before year’s end.
As of now, we’re strictly e-commerce. Being e-commerce allows us to donate significantly more to non-profits in the city, and as I mentioned that is our purpose of the company.
If we keep growing, we will definitely love to have a store in the city, but for now we’re sticking to online.
A big thanks to Revival Nola for sponsoring Miss Malaprop!
Mallory Whitfield has been making things and performing for as long as she can remember. She started blogging at MissMalaprop.com in 2006, and currently hosts the Badass Creatives podcast. Throughout her journey as a creative entrepreneur, Mallory has worn many hats, including blogger, visual artist, upcycled clothing creator, performance artist, jewelry designer, craft show vendor, creative strategist, speaker, teacher and consultant to other small business owners.
She worked as Content Analyst at FSC Interactive, a leading digital marketing agency, prior to taking on her current role as Director of Marketing at LookFar, a New Orleans-based startup studio which builds digital products and visionary companies.
Do you believe that art, creativity, innovation, and kindness can change the world? If you answered “Heck yeah!” then this is the podcast for you.
Badass Creatives is hosted by Mallory Whitfield and features marketing and business advice for creatives, as well as interviews with a diverse range of handmade artists, performers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs.
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