How To Successfully Run a Jewellery Business in Toronto

Corrine Anestopoulos is the entrepreneur and designer behind Biko, Toronto’s quintessential locally hand-crafted jewellery brand. Corrine designs and produces several collections a year, manages a small production team and oversees all studio operations including special events, sales & press pulls to stocking and packing wholesale & online orders.

Corrine travels, does trade shows and participates in retailer trunk shows as the face of the brand — she’s responsible for literally every angle of her business, and has maintained a thriving jewellery business in Canada for 12 years. Without a doubt, Corrine is a #notablewoman. Here’s more:


Do you know where you got your drive from?
Travel to places like Greece & Mexico, road-trips through Canada & the US. My family & friends, and fellow creatives who I grew up with and my home town Toronto – the people and neighbourhoods continually inspire me.

How do you stay self-motivated?
I love my work and I love my customers – excitement from retailers and direct customers gets me going in the morning. I also know there is always room for learning, growth and improvement – that idea keeps me motivated to keep pushing to get to the next level.

What would you say is your preferred way to network?
I’m a social person, with a good network of close friends. It’s never work but I meet tons of people indirectly through my regular social calendar.

How would you describe your process for deepening relationships?
Collaboration, whether with my photographers, retailers, stylists & influencers – if I love and respect their work and they love and respect mine, it’s a breeze.

What are your preferred tools for keeping organized?
Dropbox and Google Apps to stay organized and connect with my collegaues. We’ve made our own colour-coded to-do list in Google Drive, which keeps us on track with deadlines and day-to-day happenings.

What is your favourite way to market your product or services?
Being a very visual person – Instagram. My grandfather was a career photographer with a photo studio in Poland – he led a long, challenging (survived the Soviet Gulags) but eventually very happy life. I share his love of creating and sharing images.

Who has been your mentor in helping you find success?
My friends. I’m lucky enough to have wonderful creative friends like my photography producer, Jess Tjeng, my sales agent, Nadine Parsons and my PR wiz, Jess Way. By being able to work directly with them and grow our success together we mentor each other.

What social issue does your organization raise funds and/or awareness for?
I’m conscious of the environmental and social effects of jewelry manufacturing, so we make our pieces locally here in Canada where I can have better awareness and control over the impacts of the business. We’ve also donated materials and time to a women’s shelter in the past and are looking forward to doing this again in the near future.

How and where do you continue to learn?
I love to read about business and fashion. I also attend lectures when I can. The last great book I read was Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It reminded me to focus on what I love about my life and my business, and to work hard to streamline and protect my quality of life.


Do you have a fitness ritual that you live by?
Absolutely. I have a wonderful gym and trainer at Totum Life Science on King St W. in Toronto. I make sure to get to the gym at least 3 times a week – I love strength training and yoga. Nothing invigorates me more than a mid-day class, it’s often my only break in the workday.

How do you feed your soul?
I try to travel often and take time for myself to reflect and just ‘be’ for a moment (this usually invigorates my creativity). I love to cook, to hike and ride my bike, and to explore this wonderful country through weekend roadtrips to rural Ontario.

How would you describe the eating ritual that makes you feel most powerful?
I like to eat clean – fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are the basics of my diet. However, there is no food I won’t eat – I love to try new things and believe we should enjoy the diversity of food this city provides. Being part-Greek I’m also a big fan of olive oil. My family has an olive grove in Greece – we press our own olive oil and ship it over in huge tins – it’s definitely a key part of my diet.

Who is your favourite personality to follow on YouTube?
I am soooo not a YouTube person. I think I must have an account, but I use YouTube for music, particularly when I work. I love weird ambient & minimal electronic music when I work. YouTube is perfect for finding good mixes.

What type of content do you find most compelling on Instagram?
I love creative people in other fields. I follow ceramicists, sculptors, painters, photographers – seeing people push the envelope creatively in their own mediums makes me work harder to create and follow my voice in my own business.

What lifestyle brand would you say shares your values most?
I love Elizabeth Suzann from Nashville, TN. Their garments are beautifully crafted, with streamlined silhouettes made from high-quality materials. As the voice of the brand, Elie provides a full-transparency production model to her customers, openly outlining the costs of producing fabrics and garments locally, profits earned on their (higher priced) goods, and the importance of a positive company culture. She comes off humble and honest, and ever thankful to her staff and her customers. I fall in-line with her values, and aim to provide Biko customers with more inside information into our local production process, as well as greater transparency into the materials and costs in running our business.

Who is your favourite artist?
I’m a fan of the mid century artist Sol Lewitt. His minimal, pattern driven art continually fascinates me. His search for a process to create beauty is something I relate to.

What is your favourite meal?
My greek grandmothers Spanakorizo and Horiatiki. Spanakorizo is a rustic spinach & rice dish she makes with wild greens from her garden. Horiatiki is a greek village salad. The tomatoes have to be perfect and the olive oil has to be my grandmother’s very own – it’s the best I’ve ever had. As an aside, I can’t knock sushi and tacos here… those are my Toronto (and Mexico) go-tos.

What is your favourite sport to watch?
My boyfriend is a big basketball fan so we watch Raptors games together. I’m also a Jays fan since childhood and have watched many games with my family over the years.

Where is your favourite place to unwind?
My friend Adrian’s restaurants People’s Eatery & 416 Snack Bar. After a long day I love meeting a friend for a glass of wine at one of his two Toronto spots.