‘Rock’ is an apt last name for Layla Rocher, owner and jeweller of AlpenGems, whose work is created using various gemstones and crystals.
“I’ve always been interested in rocks and gems,” explains Rocher. “But it wasn’t until I began creating jewellery with them that I started to research their properties.”
Rocher knows people either believe stones are imbued with naturally occurring properties that can impact a person’s well being or they don’t – she doesn’t mind either way. What matters to her is that she believes her jewellery combines beauty and healing.
“Let’s use howlite, as an example,” she says. “It’s a gemstone believed to have calming properties. So, if I make a piece with howlite, I will be sure to put a peaceful or calming intention into my work. I hope whoever buys that piece benefits from wearing it in a way that elevates it from being something pretty to something meaningful.”
Rocher’s work has been steadily increasing in popularity. Her best sellers are essential oil diffuser bracelets. Every bracelet has lava beads onto which wearers to place drops of essential oils. The lava beads work with the wearer’s body heat and acts as a natural oil diffuser. The bracelets are carried in 19 stores throughout B.C. and Alta., including three Lole yoga wear stores.
In a year and half, Rocher has taken her company from being a side project to being her full time job. Though large store orders can be overwhelming, Rocher is grateful that her work is resonating with people. This past March, she took part in her first ever Vancouver Fashion Show after being asked to create eight unique jewellery sets to accessorize a clothing line by designer Kristina Benson.
|This past March, Layla Rocher took part in her first ever Vancouver Fashion Show after being asked to create eight unique jewellery sets to accessorize a clothing line by designer Kristina Benson. (Submitted)|
“At first I was intimidated by the fashion world, but I quickly felt comfortable and enjoyed every second of the experience,” Rocher said. “It was a great challenge for me to fuse mindful jewellery and fashion, and it was fabulous to watch the runway show!”
Rocher is a fan of custom orders.
“Wrapping someone’s favourite crystal, making mom and daughter matching bracelets or meditation malas with gemstones that I wouldn’t have thought to use otherwise, opens my creativity to another level and is very rewarding,” Rocher says.
As she works away in her home studio, Rocher talks about her plans for the future.
“I will be re branding in 2019,” she explains. “I created AlpenGems as a small mountain town business and didn’t think that it would have such success. I will keep making the same products but also add new designs, new brand name and logo.”
“I am working on a website. I think online shoppers would rather have an insight into my work on a proper site. Any local web developers who want to help me with that or re branding, please reach out!” she laughs.
Sticking to her mindful roots, Rocher is eager to work with other local jewellers.
“I promote collaboration over competition,” she says.
Rocher, who originally hails from France, believes that being based in Revelstoke has helped her succeed.
“I first came here five years ago in winter, but I was renting a horrible place, did not have a pass to the hill, spent my time studying and I wasn’t confident in my English,” she says. “Then, three years ago I came back. I bought a pass and wasn’t so isolated. I met like minded people, I could speak English more fluently. I fell in love with the community.”
“There are a lot of businesses and locals who support local,” Rocher enthuses. “Community support here is amazing.”