Mazi + Zo Update: How I Expanded Our Collection And Pivoted To 'Sorority Jewelry'

Published: April 22nd, 2022
Lizzy Klein
Founder, mazi + zo
mazi + zo
started January 2019
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
business model
best tools
Shopify Payments, Dropbox, LinkedIn
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
6 Tips
Discover what tools Lizzy recommends to grow your business!
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi! I’m Lizzy Klein, and I’m the founder of mazi + zo, an NYC company that’s all about effortless fine jewelry. Our deceptively simple pieces work for both minimalists and “more is more” types like me thanks to thoughtful design and our focus on sustainability. Our customers love layering on our delicate charm necklaces and showing off their ear style with our stud and threader earrings.

Our licensed sorority jewelry line has grown very popular over the last year and we were thrilled to be namechecked in the #bamarush wave that overtook TikTok in August 2021. FWIW, most of our customers don’t register that our signature Double Star design started as a nod to Kappa Alpha Theta’s twin stars!


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Paid social and keyword campaigns for jewelry were prohibitively expensive this year--it’s always an expensive vertical and then COVID-19 moved everyone’s full ad spend online; we couldn’t get traction. We tried several influencer campaigns and ambassador programs, too, with no luck. I decided to focus on our sorority jewelry both because it’s less competitive in both organic and paid search and also because that line is more differentiated from the competitive set than is our broader line (of course I think those designs stand out, too, but I recognize that there are a lot of cute 14k gold heart stud earrings options.)


  1. Broaden assortment: We’ve added 4 sororities to our lineup (for a total of 18) and expanded the collection based on customer requests for more 14k gold designs (vs. sterling silver.) This gives us a larger market and a broader search footprint.
  2. Incorporate social proof: We added customer reviews to the site to give customers more confidence shopping with us and also to add fresh content for SEO. We use the JudgeMe app on Shopify for this which allows us to group products so a review for one variant of the same style (i.e. our mainstay sorority necklace) would carry over to the corresponding necklace for each of 17 sororities. We also use the app to group single earrings with their corresponding pairs. This allows us to have much more review coverage than we would otherwise. Our next step here is to do a better job of encouraging customers to review and especially to share photos with reviews.
  3. Incorporate social proof 2: When customers (and influencers) post photos of themselves wearing our jewelry, with their permission, we re-post and we also overlay their IG handle on the photo and add it to the product’s page. We think these real-life images are more compelling than our model shots, even when the picture quality isn’t always what we’d hope for. Again, the next step here is to encourage more posting and sharing.
  4. Incorporate social proof 3: We started using SalesPop for those pop-up alerts that display on the site whenever a customer makes a purchase or adds a review. I’d like to run an a/b test for these as I think they may cheapen the brand experience.
  5. Selling in-person: now that the world is opening up a bit, we’ve accepted invitations to host pop-ups and trunk shows at sorority houses and local shops and these f2f sales have been strong. We’re planning a lot of road trips for Q4!





What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The biggest surprise of the year was how great the demand was for 14k gold sorority jewelry. I had focused on sterling silver for our college market to keep the price point as low as possible but it turns out there are a lot of college women (and parents) who recognize the value of 14k gold and are less price-sensitive. Based on our Google reports, searches for “14k gold <insert sorority name> jewelry” convert better than any other search term. Reminder to self: assume nothing.

Remember: be open to everyone’s ideas.

I was disappointed that micro-influencer campaigns didn’t work for us for any of our products. It’s possible that we still haven’t cracked the right influencer profile or messaging, but we tested a variety of approaches and none delivered ROI. On the other hand, happy customers posting on Facebook drove strong sales, reinforcing that authentic testimonials carry a lot of weight.

We were also happy to see that pandemic-era fascination with horoscopes continued, and social media posts featuring our Zodiac collection had the most reach. A highlight was seeing our 14k gold Libra necklace on Vogue ITALIA, particularly because it was the model’s piece.


My best decision of the year was to hire a college intern who’s in a sorority at the University of Alabama, which has the biggest Greek system in the country. She’s got a ton of valuable insight into the NCAA collegiate mindset, she’s more effective at cold-contacting sororities than I could be, and she’s got great ideas.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

In the coming year, I will continue to lean in on our licensed sorority jewelry and build our base of happy customers. This means as much in-person selling as we can (COVID-19 restrictions are still a factor,) and likely adding some new designs. I also want to build out our email list and develop a cohesive content strategy for social media and maybe even launch that long-deferred blog.

In the longer horizon, I’m excited to see if we can convert all of these sorority jewelry customers into customers for our broader collection, or not! I think that’s a fundamental question about the future of mazi + zo. There’s a solid business in a licensed line alone, but I’m also excited about a bigger idea for an inclusive jewelry collection that celebrates all of our achievements, going beyond birthdays, anniversaries, marriage, and babies. More to come on that.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Remember: be open to everyone’s ideas: my business is primarily eCommerce and I work from home. So when a customer asked me if she could see our jewelry on a visit to NYC, my first instinct was “no, she can’t see this chaos.” Instead, I offered to meet her in her hotel lobby, and throughout our visit, she suggested I participate in a Junior League holiday shopping event in TX. I had already passed on the New York Junior League’s event (it’s mostly virtual this year) but I hadn’t thought about traveling to other markets until she mentioned it. I took that suggestion and am now signed up for three Junior League and similar shopping events in the next few weeks. The same customer also really appreciated my bringing part of our collection to her hotel and not only purchased but shared a link to mazi + zo on a “parents of Thetas at Texas A&M” Facebook group which generated three immediate sales.

This leads to the other advice which is to go the extra mile to convert customers (and potential customers) into advocates. An easy example: I receive some sales via an affiliate site that doesn’t offer their customers a way to add a gift note to a package. When I see an order come in where the buyer/ship-to have different names and/or mailing addresses, I contact the buyer and offer to include a gift note, and if it’s a sorority piece I also ask where their recipient goes to school. So far, 100% happily reply “yes, please” and some have given me wonderful testimonials and I’m learning on which campuses mazi + zo jewelry has a presence. I keep track of all of these and hope their students will want to help me navigate their school’s scene when I visit.

Where can we go to learn more:

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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