Made in America With Love

 I was driving home from a Chinese restaurant with my mother and brother in Westfield, New Jersey. As we passed through the quaint northern New Jersey town my brother lived in, we saw a long line in front of one store. It wasn’t one of the seven yogurt shops in town. It wasn’t the Cake Boss’ bakery. It wasn’t people waiting for cronuts either.

It was a jewelry store called Alex and Ani that I had never heard of before. But, I knew I would be charmed by the back story. My brother said they sell jewelry and there is always a line outside as if they were giving away money. 

Carolyn Rafaelian, Spirited Businesswoman
I found a short bio on the founder of this brand on the Alex and Ani site: 

An innovative thinker, spiritual enthusiast, and person of integrity, Carolyn Rafaelian is undeniably making her mark. As Alex and Ani’s founder, Creative Director and CEO, Rafaelian has harnessed her strong business sense and divine artistic vision to grow a company that she refers to as a way of life.
Named Ernst & Young’s New England Entrepreneur of the Year and SBA Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year in 2012, Rafaelian is a force of positive energy building a company with a conscience. She is Alex and Ani’s guiding light and perpetual inspiration, a trailblazer who is authentic to the core. Rafaelian is living proof that anything is possible with hard work and a little positive energy.
The store is named for her first two daughters and she has leveraged her family business. Her father had started a factory making jewelry in 1966.  Her business partner, Giovanni Feroce who runs the operations and finance side is an ex-military guy who has brought discipline into the business to compliment the divine, spiritual energy of Carolyn. The Cranston, Rhode Island business has more than 75 outlets and expects to achieve $200 million dollars in sales.
The largest energy business
What this business does is recognize that it really isn’t in the jewelry business.

What they sell is positive energy. 

This isn’t a crazy new age thought but a well-conceived marketing approach that fully understands why connecting emotionally with customers is more powerful than a groupon discount for 50% off the list price. They market with extraordinary customer service and strong connections to their clients.

The brand came into vogue when they designed a necklace with an apple for Gwenyth Pawltrow.  They have some special technology for their clasp that makes the jewelry interchangeable. They also create bracelets and bangles for fundraising and put a lot of work into their Positive Energy charity called Charity by Design.

Alex and Ani is a great example of a brand that goes beyond word of mouth. They focus on being close to the heart.  Embrace the marketing wisdom in this brand.


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