Archive for Jewelry

Snap Caps – Maddie Bradshaw

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Maddie Bradshaw was worth her first million at only 13 years old.  At 16, she was selling over 60,000 of her unique necklaces a month and making over $1.6 million annually.

Her idea for these unique, interchangeable, bottle cap necklaces started out as simple school locker decorations.  At 10 years old her uncle had given her 50 old bottle caps.  She decorated them, attached magnets to them, and when her friends saw them they all wanted some.  This inspired Maddie to create different designs with bottle caps.

She created Snap Caps.  Snap Caps are necklaces with metal pendants on them to attract and magnetize bottle caps.  Every bottle cap has some kind of symbol, letter, or design so that a person can swap different caps out depending on the style they want to wear for the day.

Maddie found immediate success with her necklaces.  In nearly every store she launched them in they all sold out.  As her business continued to grow and she made her first million at 13, she attracted the attention of the national media and ended up being interviewed on ABC and was able to pitch her project on Shark Tank.  The Sharks loved her idea so much that THREE of them invested into her company!

Currently 19 years old, Maddie continues to grow and expand her business.  She has said, “The great thing about our company is that it’s growing with me.  As my tastes change, so will the products.”  Maddie has also published a book called You Can Start a Business, Too.  Her advise to other young entrepreneurs like her is to, “Follow your passion. If you come up with an idea and you love it, chances are other people will, too.”

16-Year Old Millionaire Necklace Maker

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Maddie Bradshaw is popular on the blog tonight.  Like Grace, I researched Bradshaw for this post. I want to talk about her success from a slightly different angle, though.  As you might have read from Grace’s awesome post, Maddie Bradshaw is a 16-year-old millionaire.  She designs and sells Snap Caps, creative bottle caps that can be worn as jewelry. She has 25 employees and sells over 60,000 necklaces each month.

I found her story particularly interesting because she isn’t selling something that solves a huge, mind-boggling problem.  In fact, she’s similar to Apple in that she’s giving people something they didn’t even know they wanted.

So, why are people buying from her?  Anyone can make a simple necklace, and many companies do. What sets Bradshaw apart?  She presents Snap Caps as the necklace that celebrates and brings out a girl’s unique qualities.  Each necklace has a theme, whether fairytale or music or ladybugs or faith.  Girls choose the ones they think fit their personality. Just like Zappos, she’s putting a bigger “why” behind a product most people don’t usually think much about.

Her approach fits right into the “conceptual age” idea we were talking about in class.  To have a place in the market, products need to be more than just functional.  They need to stand for something.  Snap Caps stand for uniqueness.

Bradshaw’s success shines far beyond her net worth.  She has appeared on multiple TV Shows, like The View and Shark Tank, and has even published her own book, You Can Start a Business, Too. Her biggest piece of advice to young entrepreneurs is to follow your passion.  She says, “If you come up with an idea and you love it, chances are other people will, too.” I think people forget this a lot.  They don’t work towards something they love because they’re scared it won’t interest others. That has certainly been true for me and many people I know.  Bradshaw is a wonderful reminder that you can create a business around any passion.  She took the risk most people wouldn’t have and it’s paying off for her in amazing ways.

(Image: The Toggery)

Stinky Feet Gurlz?

When I first came across the name “Stinky Feet Gurlz” I was like “Yes! Something that I can put in my track shoes for when it rains and they are smelly”.  Little did I know that this company had nothing at all to do with smelly shoes or feet at all.  Stinky Feet Gurlz is a business that was created by Asya Gonzalez at the 14 that involves apparel and accessory items.  These items are fun, simple, and cute clothes and accessories is designs based off of the 1940’s.  These clothes and accessories include t-shirts and a different variety of knitted hats.

Aside from the clothing and accessories, Gonzalez reaches out to people all over the country.  She speaks to large groups of students and teachers about following their dreams with Independent Youth; a peer-to-peer mentorship program that empowers today’s teens to become tomorrow’s business leaders.  She also is actively involved in being a teen radio host that gives teens advice and talks about almost anything.

Other than running her own business at a young age, talking to people about following their dreams, and speaking on a radio show, another thing that makes Gonzalez unique is that she donates a little bit from ever sale to her charity She Is Worth It!.  This charity is about bringing people aware of child sex slavery.  She Is Worth It’s goal is to “have an educational program in EVERY school across America exposing the dangers of trafficking, warning girls that these Pimps are calling themselves “boyfriends” and what our youth and our public MUST know to alert to the issues.”  I think this is so awesome because after recently watching that video about this topic last week, it is a true motivation to see that someone so young is supporting such a great cause.

If you think any of Asya Gonzalez items are cute, I think you should definitely invest in her products!  Not only are you supporting her growing business and getting cute items, you are supporting to the cause of raising awareness about human trafficking.  Happy Blogging!

Origami Owl – A story In A Necklace

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Isabella Weems wanted a car, and her parents told her she needed to earn the money on her own by starting a company. At the age of 14, most kids would sell lemonade, but Weems ended up creating a huge business, Origami Owl. She wanted to create a business to allow people to express their dreams. Origami owl is an addictive site that offers customizable lockets and necklaces. A customer picks a locket  they would want to buy and then they selects from many different charms to customize their locket. People use Origami Owl to tell their stories, remember a loved one, or to celebrate all the big moments in their lives.

Origami owl now has thousands of independent consultants who host jewelry parties. In 2012, Origami Owl made $25 million. According to Forbes, the company hopes to reach $250 million this year.

Isabella not only created a huge company, but also started a fashion trend. Many people have copied her idea, and now when you go to any type of craft show or shop on Etsy, you can find hundreds of companies just like Origami Owl. I love Origami Owl and have spent way too much money on the site. I recently made a locket to remind me of my trip to Haiti and to help share the story of so many orphans around the world.

ModCloth: eCommerce at its best!

images (2)ModCloth is an online retailer that specializes in vintage , vintage-inspired and indie clothing, accessories and decor. ModCloth was started in Pittsburgh in 2002 by Susan Gregg-Koger and her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Eric Koger. Eric started a web development business in 2000 and used his knowledge to help Susan launch an eCommerce site for the amazing pre-worn vintage items she’d found at vintage sales. The company began in the Kogers’ college house basement at Carnegie Mellon where they employed a student part-time to help with packaging and shipping. It now has, however, 450 full-time employees across offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. It is one of the fastest-growing fashion and home eCommerce ventures to emerge in the past decade and the company did more than $100 million in sales last year.download (2)

ModCloth is extremely popular with fashion bloggers, vintage lovers, and online shoppers in general because there are up to 50 new products a day on the ModCloth website. That fresh content is essential to making browsing the ModCloth site a daily habit. Also, ModCloth’s Be the Buyer program allows customers to vote on which designs are created and sold by ModCloth. Combine all this with ModCloth’s great customer service and it’s no wonder that in 2010, ModCloth was  named the #2 Fastest-Growing Private Company in America according to Inc. It was also named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for Technology in 2011 and for Art and Style in 2012. ModCloth also made No. 19 on the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies as well as No. 14 on the Most Innovative Social Media Companies list by Fast Company in 2013.2-3_ModCloth

A Girl’s Best Friend: Customizable Jewelry

dudeQuality jewelry can be an expensive gift to buy, especially if you want it to be just right. Customizing jewelry in store can not only expensive but a hassle, and sometimes not even completely what you want. Matt Lauzon recognized this need and build his own website and company to offer a convenient method of building that perfect piece for that perfect someone. Gemvara.com is a place where you can go and make that piece just right for you. You start by picking out the jewelry type, then style, and finally specific gem and metal types. The result is a simple, reasonably priced place for anyone to become their own jewelry designer.

At just one-year-old in 2011, Gemvara had a $10 million run rate which was drastically increasing. Matt’s goal for Gemvara was to someday, “take Tiffany head-to-head.” (Matt Lauzon) Each piece, designed and ordered online, is made to order with supplies all bought and made in the United States.

Matt started his company, which was originally called Paragon Lake, while he was a student at Babson College. The original business model had a business-to-business approach but ultimately he wanted to be in more control over customer service and pricing, so he shifted to a business-to-customer model for Gemvara. Matt launched the Gemvara website in 2010 with necklace$5.8 million from Highland and Canaan Partners. With the recession working to his advantage, and “by the third month, we were seeing six figures in revenue and our average sale was $1,000.” (Matt Lauzon) 20% of customers gave testimonials to the quality and creativity of Gemvara.

“I think about us as Amazon early on.”

-Matt Lauzon

So why not go try it out yourself? Gemvara is perfect for any occasion and is excellent since you control the price.