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
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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