In my line of work, trunk shows, personal appearances and retail in general are things I hear about and even write about often, but they’re not things with which I’ve had much personal experience. All of that changed when I accepted the generous offer to stay in Carmel, California for a few weeks this summer from my dear friend Soraya Cayen, owner of Cayen Collection in Carmel-by-the-Sea. All I can say is….wow, can this woman retail!
My trip coincided with a trunk show with Victor Velyan and a trunk show with Margot McKinney, as well as Cayen Collection’s Anniversary luncheon (next up are trunk shows with Ray Griffiths, Erica Molinari, Arunashi, Nicholas Varney and a return visit from Victor Velyan). Throughout these events, and even on a day-to-day basis, I simply marveled at Soraya’s work ethic, her incredible depth of knowledge, and the close relationships she has with all of her clients. I witnessed so many animated conversations about the intricacies of various gemstones, the design philosophy and techniques of the artists she carries, and general discussions about the best colors and silhouettes to complement a woman’s features. All of this comes naturally to Soraya because she’s got encyclopedic knowledge about gemstones (prior to opening Cayen Collection, she had a thriving business in the gem trade), she honestly believes the artists she represents are the best designers of the 21st century, and she’s adept at sizing up how someone can best highlight their features (and she’s not afraid to speak her mind!).
And then there are the events….Soraya Cayen knows how to throw a party! No detail is left to chance—from the floral design to the menu to to the seating arrangements to the jewelry displays to the fabulous St. Germaine spritzers that she has trained her staff to make to perfection, Soraya has a hand in all of it. For the anniversary luncheon, which was held at a local restaurant up the street from her store, she worked with her florist to re-create the entire look and feel of the private dining room, complete with a gorgeous backdrop for an exquisite display of jewelry. Of course, with everything she does, at all touch points everything is top-of-the-line everything, and yet Soraya also establishes a vibe that is incredibly down-to-earth and without pretension, which puts all of her clients at ease.
And have I mentioned how much her clients love her? These women (and a few men) show up to her store for events, not just on time, but early, simply buzzing with excitement about spending time with Soraya. And who can blame them?! Her warm, Brazilian nature, her genuine love of life and that contagious laugh that constantly rings through the store are all pretty intoxicating. While not all of her clients were friends with each other before, I witnessed several friendships blossoming right in front of me, even when the only common thread was their love for Soraya. She’s created a culture of trust because she takes the time to get to know her clients well, knows their likes and dislikes and she would never lead them astray.
So if you’re ever in Carmel-by-the-Sea, be sure to stop in and say hello to Soraya and her amazing staff. And when she offers you a spritzer, do yourself a favor and say “yes!”