Jewelry has become a big part of hip-hop culture, and for most artists, wearing an eye-catching piece is often seen as a sign of success and status within the industry. Many artists seek out the best jewelers to supply them with accessories to make them stand out and express their personalities. The hip-hop/urban market of jewelry can be competitive, and a jeweler’s success is often controlled by the connections they have. Alex Arabov, owner of VOBARA, is one jeweler who created a space for himself in the hip-hop jewelry niche despite the challenges of not being grandfathered into the industry.
VOBARA has made a name for itself in the hip-hop jewelry niche since its conception in 2016. Owner, Alex Arabov, creates jewelry for artists and everyday people involved in the hip-hop/urban community and specializes in custom pendants. VOBARA has now become one of the only recognized Miami jewelers in this niche, creating quality custom work for affordable prices. The company started as a side hustle for Alex, selling shamballa bracelets while he was in high school, and he quickly became the go-to local jeweler among Miami high school students. In 2016, Arabov started to grow VOBARA full-time, and by 2019 the company rose in popularity, selling and collaborating with clients such as Quincy Combs and King Combs, the sons of Sean Combs, better known as P. Diddy. Arabov is now focusing on growing his company and has plans to launch a flagship store in the near future.
Arabov’s family roots run strong in Miami; this is also where his passion and inspiration for creating jewelry was born. Arabov grew up watching and learning about the jewelry business from his father and uncle, Jacob the Jeweler, founder of Jacob & Co. watches. “My dad is the reason I came into this game,” he remembers. Sadly, Arabov’s father passed away when he was only 8 years old, and Alex uses his brand name, VOBARA (Arabov spelled backwards) to pay homage to him. He began using this name as early as high school, when the company was no more than a dream. Today, the company’s office is now located in downtown Miami in the exact office Arabov’s father had when he was in the jewelry business. Alex has no plans to relocate the office anytime soon, as it keeps his father’s legacy close and has brought him nothing but good things since moving in.
Although the jewelry business inspired Arabov at a young age, he still emphasizes that his “biggest obstacle was just getting into this industry.” He explains that the jewelry industry is “all about who you know,” making someone like Arabov, who lacked connections within the industry, have to work harder and learn to accept rejection early on. Alex is most proud that he was able to build his dream into the successful company VOBARA is today and says, “The fact that today I can work with people like Rick Ross shows that my vision is coming together and makes it all worth it.” Arabov goes on to say that for other companies starting in this industry, one must be prepared to fight for space within the industry and “let the ‘NOs’ be the motivation to push forward instead of giving up.”
Alex has many exciting plans for the future of VOBARA and has a few private projects underway with big-name celebrities. He is also looking to create the flagship store as early as next year and hopefully will cater to even more customers soon. Whatever VOBARA evolves into, Arabov’s father’s inspiration will live on through Alex’s work, and the special tribute to his father will reach many across the globe.