Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is known for his flair on and off the field, but he is now channeling that style into a new business venture.
Smith-Schuster is launching his own line of high-end jewelry and grillz, a collaboration with celebrity jeweler Greg “Grillz” Zaks. The partnership was announced in an interview with Flaunt Magazine on Monday.
.@TeamJuJu is getting into the high-end jewelry business.— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 23, 2021
The Pittsburgh Steelers receiver teamed up with Greg Zaks aka Greg Grillz to design a new line of custom grillz and high-end jewelry, per @FlauntMagazine. pic.twitter.com/A4bJGs7M7f
The idea to enter the space evolved from Smith-Schuster appreciation for fashion and the high end accessories.
“Growing up, sports has always been a fun thing for me. It always kept me occupied and helped with staying out of trouble,” he said. “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.”
For Smith-Schuster, the collaboration is another opportunity to grow his brand, which is already one of the strongest in the NFL.
“I consider myself a businessman and have really started to get into the mindset of myself as a brand,” he said. “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.”
Zaks has done work for Smith-Schuster in the past, designing multiple pieces for him since the pair met while the latter was playing his college ball at USC.
“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,” Smith-Schuster said. “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.”
Zaks evn crafted a custom piece for the star wideout’s dog Boujee.
“I met JuJu when he was playing for USC. I made his first set of grillz and the pendant came shortly after,” Zaks said. “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.”
One of the more interesting aspects of their collaboration is the introduction of home mold kits for clients looking to purchase a custom grill.
Becoming increasingly popular during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the kit allows clients produce molds of their measurements when in-person consultations are not possible.
“During Covid, this helped tremendously as many people were scared to meet in person,” Zaks said. “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.”
Smith-Schuster is set to hit free agency in matter of weeks after leading the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020. He also tallied 831 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of USC, Smith-Schuster has 293 receptions, 3,565 yards and 24 touchdowns as a Steeler. He was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018.