30 Under 30: Kayla Gabelhouse makes nickel-and-lead-free jewelry that won’t stain your skin

Kelowna-based Lavender & Grace Jewelry prioritizes educating people on how to take care of their accessories.

Kayla Gabelhouse of Lavender & Grace Jewelry

Credit: Lavender & Grace Jewelry founder and CEO, Kayla Gabelhouse

Kayla Gabelhouse, 25

Founder + CEO, Lavender & Grace Jewelry

Life Story: Childhood bake sales and lemonade stands may have triggered her passion to be an entrepreneur, but Kayla Gabelhouse never imagined herself a jewelry baron.

Growing up in Edmonton and Kelowna, she didn’t know a ton about making jewelry to begin with. All she knew was that she struggled to find casual, affordable and long-lasting accessories. But the more she researched, the more frustrated she became as a consumer: “There was a lack of transparency with materials and education of jewelry care in the industry,” she says. 

A full-time business student with a full-time retail job in Kelowna, Gabelhouse launched Lavender & Grace Jewelry in 2015. With manufacturing partners in Los Angeles, Florida and Israel, the entrepreneur found herself applying classroom theories in real time: from marketing campaigns to business tactics, she was building a company through trial and error. When she graduated Okanagan College in 2020, she jumped head-first into the business.

Educating people about jewelry care became a priority for Gabelhouse and her three-person team. The Lavender & Grace website explains how metals should be handled and the company uses Instagram Reels and TikToks to communicate that message. In-person events where customers can see and feel the products are especially important to the CEO, who plans to host a pop-up every month in the Okanagan. 

Bottom Line: Kelowna-based Lavender & Grace Jewelry makes simple, nickel-and-lead-free accessories. “Those are usually the two types of metals that react easily to our skin, oil, perfumes and lotions,” says its founder (and designer). The company did well during the pandemic, with sales growing by 434 percent in 2020. The products are available for purchase on the company’s website or through 20 outlets in Canada, including The Latest Scoop and Spruce Collective.