Last month the Chungs moved to a new space near the Colonnade with enough room to handle their booming wholesale business and still keep a small retail showroom up front. Ętre Design still exists, but now the Chungs are running both operations under the Beliza Design name.
The Chungs, both thirty-five, started Ętre Design in 2002, working out of their home. At the time their day jobs were beginning to bore them—Greg was an engineer at General Motors and was a management consultant to the U-M treasurer’s office. So they started looking around for a business of their own. Both had artistic tendencies, so they decided on jewelry. “It’s lightweight and something we could both wrap our arms around,” Audrey says.
They started out doing the trade show circuit while both were still working full time. At first they thought two people could manage it. They were wrong, but that turned out to be a good thing. Today, Beliza makes anywhere from 65 to 80 percent of the alternative metal—that’s titanium, tungsten, and steel—jewelry sold in the United States, and employs 200 workers in a factory in Chagan, Dongguan, China.