Cuing Diep from Moss, Norway, went to USA to study chemistry in 1999. He became THE designer of jewelry to the hip-hop celebrities.
The company King Ice was founded by Cuong Diep and Derek Belay in 2007 to make custom men’s jewelry, particularly in the Hip-Hop sector. Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Nico & Vins, The Game, Bone Thugs-n-Hatmony, Wiz Khalifa and Tyge are some of the artists, who have been wearing the company’s jewelry the last decade.
Diep and Belay come from extremely diverse backgrounds but their passion to make quality products to fans of Hip-Hop have vaulted them to working with Karmaloop, ESPN, Shia LaBeouf, Katie Perry, Agenda, Mike Tyson and many more.
King Ice is a Internet shop with ten employees and delivers worldwide. Last year the company’s turnover was five million US dollars, but the two guys expect an increase this year, not least due to an agreement with Snoop Dogg.
“We tried to sell different products at first but out here in LA there is a jewelry district, so we decided to try jewelry and because we were connected to hip hop as fans and understood how popular jewelry is in the culture we targeted the hip hop market,” the two founders explain. “But we wanted to do it differently, build a brand, create new designs that hadn’t been seen before and engage the culture by holding events like rap contests.”
They say they initially tried to make silver jewelry, but today most of the products are made by brass covered by 14 carat gold. “The boys buying from us are more interested in design than paying a lot for items which probably are not in fashion next year. The whole thing shouldn’t necessarily be about spending much money. Save that cake for your house. Instead it should be about creative expression in the form of jewelry. We like to create new trends and not always follow them. ”
The two guys claim that the close contact they have with stars like Snoop Dogg is an insurance against fashion changes. “We’re able to quickly change a trend based on feedbacks from the stars,” they say.
Cuong Diep from Norway is the Rappers’ Bling-Bling-King (to the left in the feature image on top)