Celebrity jeweler Greg Zaks aka Greg Grillz has officially partnered with JuJu Smith Schuster, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, for a new line of custom grillz and high-end jewelry for Grillz.com. While the custom grillz is their most sought-after product, they also specialize in creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces such as chains and watches that celebrities and athletes can’t get enough of.
With Greg leading the creative direction, he works exclusively with the highest-end precious stone retailers in Manhattan’s diamond district. With clients ranging from Justin Bieber to Bryson Tiller to Post Malone, it was only a matter of time before the partnership with JuJu would come to be. With a mutual love and connection for jewelry, both bring their business acumen and love for fashion to the table to create ever-lasting products of the utmost quality.
Flaunt caught up with both Greg and JuJu to discuss the new partnership, their backgrounds, and what they hope to achieve.
Greg, what is your background as a jeweler?
Greg: The truth is, I never imagined being in the jewelry space, but I’ve always loved and appreciated jewelry. In college, I began working for a well-known jeweler whose business was really taking off. This was during the rise of Instagram back in 2013/2014. I created systems for social media and applied it to my own business after being mistreated by my boss and luckily, things flowed from there.
How were you connected to various celebrity clients and athletes that you designed one of a kind pieces for?
Greg: Starting off, I had no connections. I made my way going out to various clubs in LA and connected myself with all the young somebodies of the city. Everyone was growing together and looking to help each other at the same time, it was all very organic. I owe a lot of my success to the network I built through night life truly.
What are your favorite styles/pieces?
Greg: Watches have always been my thing: plain ones from the factory. There are few things in life that get me as excited as a sexy new timepiece. It’s always a brilliant conversation starter too. I have met many great people from wearing collector pieces. As far as jewelry goes, I always have an iced out Cuban link. With prong or flower setting only! I switch off between that and a couple layered tennis chains always to match the color of the watch I’m wearing that day.
JuJu, tell me about your love of sports and fashion
JuJu: Growing up, sports has always been a fun thing for me. It always kept me occupied and helped with staying out of trouble. The fashion aspect just came along with it. Knowing that once I was making my own money, I was able to buy stuff I liked and began wearing and appreciating higher end items. It came hand in hand.
Talk about being a young player with an appreciation for business
JuJu: I consider myself a businessman and have really started to get into the mindset of myself as a brand. I started to put more energy into modeling myself after other businesses I admired. I’m always looking to better myself and strive for the best.
JuJu: One of my favorite pieces is actually something that Greg made for me. We’ve known each other since USC and he created this pendant for me called In God We Trust, which is something that I’ve always held near and dear to my heart.
How did the partnership form?
JuJu: We met at USC and just clicked. Ever since then, we always kept in touch. I always respected how Greg was himself and how he was so passionate about his business. When I saw that and saw the hunger and fire he had in his heart to be great, it was really cool. It inspired me to do the same. I kept that partnership close and we became more than friends, we became a business.
Greg: I met JuJu when he was playing for USC. I made his first set of grillz and the pendant came shortly after. We stayed in touch over the next few years and one day JuJu was curious to know more things about my brand. We had dinner the next time he flew into town and after that, we both knew we had to make a partnership happen.
What do you hope to achieve as a brand?
JuJu: I believe that Greg Grillz will be something huge one day, it’s something I wanted to make myself a part of. We want to take over the world honestly. Grillz is a really common thing that’s being searched for online nowadays. Grillz.com is an iconic name for something that’s already popular. My involvement just enhances it.
Greg: Accessibility is a huge component for us. Creating a world where both high end grillz and fashion jewelry live in one place. Your one-stop shop.
Talk about revolutionizing the way grillz can be made with at home mold kits (Covid-friendly).
JuJu: One of the main things we discussed when we entered our partnership that was really amazing was imagine if you could custom design a shoe at home, 3D print it and have it shipped out. That’s the same thing we’re doing here with the concept of the at-home mold kits unique to other businesses. The fact that it’s working is super exciting. This company is awesome. 2 young guys who want to grow to be great and build this business to the best it can be.
Greg: During Covid, this helped tremendously as many people were scared to meet in person. As a jeweler, I always prefer to meet with my clients face to face because it’s such a personal experience. Being able to have mold kits delivered to customers helped eliminate a lot of the worry for people while still being able to create exactly what they wanted.