Young Gun Alum
Andria Rogers '12
At just 15 years old, Andria Rogers ’12 knew she wanted to run her own business someday. What she didn’t anticipate was how an exciting life event would lead to a bright career in the diamond industry.
Rogers began looking for the perfect ring five years before she officially became engaged. And while she was determined to find a unique band that reflected her vintage style, she admits to another motive for the long search — the thrill of the hunt. “When you find a ring that’s 100 years old, rich with history and absolutely stunning, it is an incredible feeling,” Rogers says.
Years later, with a degree in hand from the College of Charleston School of Business and a number of gemology courses under her belt, she turned what was once a pre-wedding hobby into a full-time job. Rogers is the founder and owner of Victor Barboné Jewelry — a vintage and antique engagement ring boutique located in the heart of New York City’s Diamond District.
Rogers named her company after her great-grandfather, an Argentinian cheese wholesaler, who was known for his patience and attention to detail — qualities that kept his customers loyal and family members chuckling. “On autumn days, he would venture into the backyard and pick up leaves one by one when a rake could do hundreds at a time,” says Rogers, who has inherited her great-grandfather’s strong business sense.
Like many young entrepreneurs, Rogers started her company from her home. After many months of building an online presence through a dedicated website, digital advertising and Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages, she began to attract her first clients. “I’ve sold more rings because of strategic hashtagging and good photography on Instagram than by any other method,” Rogers says.
She also attributes her success to fine-tuning and targeting her online advertisements and staying up-to-date on the latest social media platforms and their capabilities.
Her effective marketing has allowed Rogers to ditch the at-home enterprise and move to a space in Manhattan, where she meets with customers for fittings and consultations. She is currently the company’s only employee, but contracts photographers, digital marketing experts and jewelry repairpersons to assist with various aspects of the business.
While Rogers has a passion for all things pretty, her academic background is what bolsters her business efforts. Rogers, a business administration major, says the School of Business gave her the opportunity to meet industry leaders and educators who shared lessons and experiences that have stuck with her over the years.
Rogers recalls Lancie Affonso, adjunct professor of information systems, telling his students on the first day of class that their seat choice would likely influence their grade: row one, an A; row two, a B; row three, a C; and so on. Rogers, who had chosen to sit in the fourth row, quickly moved to the front of the class and made sure her performance throughout the rest of the semester reflected that move. “This applies to everyday life as well. When you show up and make yourself known in your workplace or at a networking event, only good things can happen,” she says.
Judging by Victor Barboné Jewelry’s online customer reviews — which sing high praises of Rogers’ knowledge, service and products — it’s safe to say she is making her mark on the vintage jewelry industry. But it has taken years of hard work and dedication to get to where she is today and it hasn’t always been easy.
Her number one piece of advice for other young entrepreneurs: Never stop learning. Do whatever it takes to keep growing as person, she says. “When you work for yourself there is a lot of self-motivation involved and sometimes you need a little help. I think books can do that.”
What’s on Rogers’s bookshelf? “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “Sell or Be Sold” by Grant Cardone.
All business gems; just like Rogers.