This boutique rocks

For those who consider shopping their sport of choice, ROCKS Jewelry Gifts Home provides quite the sophisticated playing field. The elegant Chappaqua destination for fine and fashion jewelry – plus home goods and accessories – marks the second Westchester boutique for owner Tanya Tochner.

The elegant boutique is quickly becoming a source for fine and fashion jewelry since opening just before Mother’s Day.

That’s no surprise, considering the original ROCKS by Jolie B Ray continues to thrive along Main Street in Armonk. But the new boutique from owner Tanya Tochner offers much more than just the contemporary baubles ROCKS has come to be known for over the past eight years. 

In this expansion of her business, Tochner finally found herself with the space to do what she’s long wanted — move into the lifestyle segment.

And she has done that with quite an assured hand, offering a wealth of modern hostess gifts, decorative goods, art and accessories that has been captivating her growing clientele.

Everything within the spacious Chappaqua Crossing boutique, which more than triples the size of the 500-square-foot Armonk space, has a clear point of view — and that is Tochner’s.

“People who assume I have great taste in jewelry assume I have great taste in home,” she says with a laugh.

Indeed, Tochner is not only the owner but also a designer. She creates jewelry for the shops and accepts custom jewelry orders.

And, she adds, “Now it’s the same thing on the home side… I’ve been going into people’s homes and accessorizing.”

It’s all come naturally to her, as she says.

“I went to business school, not fashion school,” adding that she worked for some 15 years in business, including human resources.

Being a stay-at-home mom once she relocated to Chappaqua was not for her.

“I had a need to go back and do something,” she says.

And that has led to today, when she’s working 80 hours a week — by choice.

“This, I’m passionate about. When I worked 80 hours a week at an office, I was resentful.”

Tochner says the new shop finds her with a hand in every aspect, from ensuring the construction — a crazed 10-week effort — was to her specifications to all the buying, from social media to, yes, re-stocking the shelves.

“I always joke now I’m the stock boy. I do everything.”

A GEM OF A SELECTION

The new ROCKS carries not only jewelry designs by Tochner but also creations by some 20 handpicked designers, each piece selected for its individual look. She might purchase several styles from one designer but does not stock, for example, dozens of a particular necklace.

“We try to pick unique pieces… especially for fine jewelry. People do not want to buy something expensive and see it on their friends.”

(When it comes to home accessories, though, it’s more about the look of a piece — and multiples are certainly a way to go. “With home, a platter is a platter,” she says.)

The fashion jewelry, artfully displayed along one side of the boutique, ranges from around $25 to $200. The fine jewelry, displayed on the other side of the boutique, is housed in classic glass cases, starting with selections ideal for Sweet 16s or bat mitzvahs, popular categories and usually $150 to $500. The fine jewelry continues with an array of pieces, mostly modern but with a sampling of traditional. Prices vary with a standout an understatedly chic diamond necklace that’s $15,000. 

“I try to tell a story in every case,” Tochner says, noting how one holds pieces featuring oxidized silver with diamonds and another, designs in gold and ebony.

She will work with customers to transform their own jewelry into something new, to design a piece from scratch or source something they want.

At the market every week, she tells her customers, “I can get it for them, and if I can’t get it, I can make it.”

ON THE HOME FRONT

Tochner takes that same thoughtful approach to her expanded offerings.

“It’s been a nice transition into the home,” Tochner says, noting she’s been pleased to hear the store reflects her aesthetic.

“People who know me (say) ‘It has Tanya written all over it.’”

It’s all come together as hoped, she adds.

“We didn’t want just the items that we sold be beautiful. We wanted the space to be beautiful.”

The boutique is a welcoming space, with soothing gray tones, hardwood floors, modern built-ins and a large storefront bringing in light. It adds up to an understated backdrop for her design-forward offerings.

“I think it’s a creative experience,” she adds.

It all works together, though she declines to name any favorites.

“I love everything. That’s why I picked it,” she says with a laugh.

And she hopes customers will feel the same.

Some brands are well-known, such as Jonathan Adler’s playful interior accents, while Tochner also works to cultivate singular finds. 

“The goal was that you walk into the store (and say), ‘I want that. I want that. I want that.’”

That is easy to do, with an array of vases and lidded jars, serving trays and wine decanters, agate coasters to what she calls “art pieces for your bar.”

The wall art is also modern, some pieces thematic, others signs that impart a bit of wisdom (“Real girls are never perfect and perfect girls are never real.”)

Everything comes back to Tochner.

“At the end of the day, I love design,” she says. “I think that translates. There were things I knew I had to have in here… As a home store, I needed hostess gifts. I needed candles, art on the walls.”

But it’s much more, from pillows to totes, sculpture to throws, including some from It’s A… Yummy, a Chappaqua-based company.

“I try to bring in local artists for both home and design,” Tochner notes.

Though only open a few months, expansion is already planned.

“In the fall, we’re going to carry what we don’t have now — tabletop.”

And that means annexing unused space, a move she thought would come later rather than sooner. She’s also happy to be working with designers, offering them a trade discount for their projects.

OFF THE CLOCK?

These days, Tochner says, “I work seven days a week, even when I’m not in the store.”

While she has an office in the Chappaqua store, she will often go home — she’s been a Chappaqua resident some 18 years — and cook dinner for her family, complete her carpooling duties and then work a few hours from home.

Once autumn rolls around, she expects to settle into a more manageable routine — and get back to some of her favorite leisure pursuits.

“I was a big golfer up until this year,” she says. “I used to go to the gym, too… I had to give up something (but) I knew it was short-term.”

Then, she adds with a laugh, “I just can’t have as many bacon cheeseburgers.”

Something tells us the pace she’s working at these days, Tochner can eat just about anything she’d like.

For more, visit rocksbyjoliebray.com.

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