A glitzy collaboration between celebrity jeweler, Greg Grillz, and wide receiver for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, JuJu Smith Schuster, has resulted in a dazzling new line of custom grillz and high-end jewelry. The collection’s pieces are lovingly handmade in Los Angeles and available on Greg’s website. The duo also specializes in making one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, such as customized chains, rings, watches, bracelets, and more. Brought together their friendship and a mutual appreciation for jewelry and fashion, JuJu and Greg’s partnership is a marriage of sport and luxury style. Here at 360 Magazine, we sat down with Greg Grillz and babbled about baubles, business, and big-name celebrity collaborations to come.
How did this collaboration between Greg Zaks, aka Greg Grillz, and JuJu Smith-Schuster begin? Who originally brought up the idea for a partnership?
Greg: I’m born and raised in Los Angeles and met JuJu through mutual friends while he was attending and playing football at USC. We immediately clicked. I was just starting in jewelry at the time and actually made him his first set of grillz. It was a simple gold bottom fang but that piece solidified our friendship. He loved them so much he asked me to make a custom pendant shortly after. Over the next few years we stayed in touch and JuJu kept an eye on my growth. One day he reached out and was curious to know more about my brand and the jewelry business. From there we had a conversation about working together which made it clear we had to solidify the partnership.
How did Zaks begin his venture into the jewelry business?
Greg: I have always loved and appreciated jewelry, but I never imagined being in the jewelry space until I reconnected with an acquaintance of mine who was a well-known jeweler back in 2013. As a college student, I began working him while his business was really taking off. He was like the don of Instagram back then, doing a bunch of jewelry pieces for celebrities like the Kardashians. I had a lot of ideas to improve the business that were rejected and shut down, so I came up with the idea to start my own company. This ended up turning into my prized possession, Grillz.
How did Zaks go about building such an impressive celebrity clientele and expanding his business?
Greg: When I started my business, I didn’t have any money–period. Which meant I couldn’t do any traditional ad campaigns. I made my way going out to various clubs in LA and connected myself with all the young up and comers. Everyone was growing together and looking to help each other, it was all very organic. Influencer marketing was key in the beginning stages. It’s given me notoriety and recognition in an industry that’s very dog-eat-dog. Using celebrities and influencers for shoutouts on social media in exchange for free jewelry and free grillz was everything.
For clients looking to order a custom grill, you are offering custom mold kits. What does the process of making a mold at home look like?
Greg: The process is very simple; we have created our own custom mold kits prepackaged with all the supplies necessary to do the teeth molds at home. We provide our customers with detailed instructions as well as an envelope with prepaid postage to send back to us. We have a high success rate and many people view the process as fun and easy. During Covid, this helped tremendously as many people were scared to meet in person. 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. We’d send the kits to the customer with instructions, they’d send it back with their design preferences and specifications, and a few weeks later, they’d have their own piece.
How do DIY molds for grills compare to having face to face consultations for custom grill pieces?
Greg: At Grillz, we have all the tools necessary for our customers to communicate exactly what they are looking for without the need for a face-to-face consultation. We have one of the largest online inventories of all private jewelry companies worldwide. We have everything from low end to high end merchandise in order to cater to our massive audience. Our merchandise includes solid gold and diamond earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. We have also recently expanded our collection to a wide variety of ready-made engagements rings. Overall, we have several ways of communications to ensure that all of our customers wants and needs are met.
When did Smith-Schuster’s interest in jewelry/style first begin? Is jewelry something he’s learned more about and recently become interested in, or has it been a passion project in the back of his mind for a while?
Greg: JuJu has always shown interest in fashion and jewelry. He stays up to date with the latest and greatest fashion trends. Thinking back on the first pieces I made for JuJu vs. what he’d be interested in now is a clear indicator of that. As long as I’ve known him, his sense of style continues to elevate as well as his taste in jewelry. By curating a more refined sense of style for himself, he is perpetuating our brand, as well as future partnerships.
What collaborations can we expect to see in the future from this partnership?
Greg: Currently we are creating a capsule collection with JuJu that will be exclusive to Grillz. We have many other future celebrity collaborations in the works with big names. We are constantly striving for greatness and looking to take our business next level.