Brooke Anthony never dreamed of being a jewelry designer. As a child growing up in Hyde Park and Rhinebeck, she awaited the day when she’d finally make her mark of the film industry. Yet when graduation day at Marist College, where she studied communications, rolled around, she realized she wasn’t willing to move away from her close, tight-knit family. So she followed the path of many graduates and got a convenient, albeit lackluster sales job close to home. Soon after beginning her new profession she realized she was quite good at it, and wound up following the sales track for the next eight years.
All the while, she continued to dream.
“I never really sold anything that I really, really loved,” she explains. “I wanted to develop something of my own, something that I could have ownership of.”
Although her experiences in sales taught her how to drive business and launch and market products, it wasn’t until a chance trip to a jewelry store gave her the inspiration she needed to turn her entrepreneurial daydreams into reality. That said jewelry store, which just so happened to be in the Netherlands, is only part of the story.
“My husband, well, my boyfriend at the time and I were over in the Netherlands and had just gotten engaged,” she recalls. “I had been engaged for 24 hours and came across all these absolutely gorgeous earrings.”
The ones that caught her eye were made with Swarovski crystals and were of a design unlike anything Anthony had seen before. She bought a single pair, hoping she’d be able to find others like them when she returned to the United States. Yet when she finally sat down to scour the internet, she came up from her search empty-handed.
Anthony with her dogs Chloe and Madeline
“I could not find anything that was a decent price point and as beautiful,” she notes. Thoroughly smitten with her original pair, she ended up ordering another set from that little shop in the Netherlands. At the same time, she realized she had discovered what was — in her eyes — a void in the local jewelry market. She knew she couldn’t let the concept go, so she began her fledgling efforts to open Chloe + Lois in 2018.
Although Anthony is an admitted jewelry lover, thanks largely to her late grandmother, Lois, who liked to gift her QVC baubles whenever she visited, she knew she had little knowledge of how to actually get her business up and running.
“I am 100 percent self-taught in this,” she stresses. “I knew nothing about jewelry production and taught myself everything I needed to know about manufacturing, stone types, and sizes.”
After logging a ton of research hours, Anthony began designing each and every piece that would become part of her collection. Sketches in hand, she worked with a manufacturer to select stones and turn her drawings into wearable art.
Skip ahead to 2019, and Anthony is close to completing a year at the helm of Chloe + Lois, which draws its name from Anthony’s grandmother, Lois, and her Yorkshire terrier, Chloe (her other pup, Madeline, is a newer addition to the family). During that time, she’s become an expert at everything from carding and SKUs to photography and social marketing. She also expanded her preliminary roster of designs to include delicate Swarovski pendants, dainty stud earrings, stacking rings, and eye-catching ear climbers.
“The stacking rings have taken off,” Anthony enthuses. “[With the ear climbers,] I’ve inspired so many women to get a second hole in their ear.”
When it comes to purchasing Chloe + Lois, the brand’s products are available via its curated website. In the Hudson Valley, they can be found at shops like Adams Fairacre Farms, Cream in Newburgh, Oliver Anne Boutique in Montgomery, and Sierra Lily Boutique in Poughkeepsie. Anthony herself makes a point to visit her local carriers to restock and style her jewelry as needed.
To say that this #GirlBoss is busy would be an understatement. She rises before daybreak at 4:30 a.m. to check on overnight orders, then scoots out to her day job until 3 or 4 p.m. After fitting in a workout at The Wheel House in Poughkeepsie to clear her head and recoup, she heads home for a quick dinner with her husband. After that, it’s back to work on all things Chloe + Lois at her home office (or on her couch). Anthony takes advantage of the nighttime hours to touch base with her manufacturer, chat with her marketing assistant about product development, and plan every social post.
It’s a lot, but Anthony wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, without her rise-and-grind schedule, she never would have met the Hudson Valley’s supportive community of female entrepreneurs. Through her afternoon spin breaks, she’s collected quite the family of female business leaders, including Lauren Hoheusle at Chakra Bowls, Kelly Lyndgaard at Unshattered, and Michelle Shah at The Wheel House. All #GirlBosses in their own right, they’re the ones Anthony chooses to model Chloe + Lois on the brand’s website and share their respective stories in the process.
“I credit all my success to the women in the Hudson Valley,” Anthony enthuses. “I’ve turned customers into friends. This has become so much more than just jewelry for me.”
With this in mind, Anthony hopes to continue to extend her network of female entrepreneurs in the Hudson Valley both as a way to find new inspiration and connect with like-minded, driven professionals like herself. On the product end of things, she has big plans to add 17 new pieces to her line this spring. Throughout it all, she wants to keep up her commitment to help women feel good about themselves.
“I want every woman to feel celebrated and special,” she says. “When you start to believe in yourself, that’s when the magic starts to happen.”