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10 startups, 3 IPOs, 3 acquisitions: This Jewelry Entrepreneur Gets It, A Founder’s Story with Lizzy Klein

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Lizzy Klein is a proven startup leader with a talent for scaling early-stage businesses and over 25 years, 3 IPOs, and 3 acquisitions, has been recognized for creating >$300mm in equity value at diverse companies including GrubHub, Everyday Health, and MSNBC. Lizzy started her career in fashion and her current business, mazi + zo, takes her back full circle to design and manufacturing in her adopted hometown, NYC. mazi + zo crafts effortless fine jewelry for people who value quality, elevated design, sustainably sourced materials, and local production.

 

Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I grew up in Columbia, MD, a planned city designed by James Rouse with a focus on community as well as racial and economic diversity. In Columbia, each of the neighborhoods takes its name from art and literature and I grew up in Hobbit’s Glen where all of the street names came from J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy (I grew up on Wood Elves Way and had friends on Willowbottom Drive and Tooks Way!) My parents were founding members of our temple in Columbia, so I had early insight into the rewards of building something from the ground up. As a kid, I didn’t necessarily recognize Columbia as a special place but now I recognize that Rouse’s ideals around community-building, particularly racial and religious inclusion, influenced my values.

 

How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
After growing up in a new city and a new temple, it wasn’t a surprise that when I participated in sorority recruitment at Cornell, I was more excited about the chance to become a charter member of a sorority that was returning to campus than I was about joining an established sorority that had everything figured out already. I think that was my first real taste of entrepreneurship. So after working for two years in fashion, ready for a new challenge, I landed at Time Warner’s very first, very early e-commerce venture. I loved getting in at the start and seeing the direct results of my efforts and I’ve worked in startups ever since. I have 25+ years of experience as a team member, founder, investor, and advisor.

 

What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Marketing is everything – mazi + zo designs beautiful jewelry that our customers adore, so I sort of assumed that every sale would lead to 10 “where did you get that necklace/those earrings?” word-of-mouth sales. “If you build it they will come,” right? Nope. I spend at least 70% of my time learning how to reach our customers through various channels when I’d much rather be creating with Dan. I am wildly uncomfortable creating TikTok content, but that seems to be one of our strongest drivers these days, so I suck it up! And while we haven’t yet broken through to the awareness level mazi + zo deserves, I recognize these are early days and I plan to continue prioritizing marketing ahead of new designs.

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Opinions expressed by Disrupt Contributors are their own. Disrupt Magazine invites voices from many diverse walks of life to share their perspectives on our contributor platform. We are big believers in freedom of speech and while we do enforce our community guidelines, we do not actively censor stories on our platform because we want to give our contributors the freedom to express their opinions. Articles are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by our community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Disrupt or its employees.
We are committed to fighting the spread of misinformation online so if you feel an article on our platform goes against our community guidelines or contains false information, we do encourage you to report it. We need your help to fight the spread of misinformation. For more information please visit our Contributor Guidelines available here.


Disrupt ™ is the voice of latino entrepreneurs around the world. We are part of a movement to increase diversity in the technology industry and we are focused on using entrepreneurship to grow new economies in underserved communities both here in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. We enable millennials to become what they want to become in life by learning new skills and leveraging the power of the digital economy. We are living proof that all you need to succeed in this new economy is a landing page and a dream. Disrupt tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real-life experience. Disrupt Magazine was designed to give the world a taste of that.