Mother-daughter jewelry company sparkling SanTan Sun News

Mother-daughter jewelry company sparkling

Mother-daughter jewelry company sparkling
Business
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By COLLEEN SPARKS
Contributor

A jewelry company spearheaded partly by a teenage girl to earn money has exploded with sales in the United States and Canada after customers were attracted to its heartfelt pieces designed to empower people.

Origami Owl started in 2010 in the Chandler home of 14-year-old Bella Weems, and now it has more than 25,000 independent business owners, called OrigamiOwl Designers, across the United States and in Canada.

Now married, Bella Weems-Lambert, 22, is the co-founder of the business, and her mother, Chrissy Weems, is the co-founder and CEO of the Origami Owl family of brands, which has its corporate office at 450 N. 54th St.

When it began, Chrissy and Bella would sit at their kitchen table to fill orders. Bella would order products, including glass lockets and earrings and she would cut the backs of them to create a “charm,” per se.

Now, a full product development department/team in Chandler designs the charms and various jewelry collections while the company works with outside manufacturers to bring the designs to life.

The company is known for its Living Locket collection, customizable with a huge variety of Origami Owl miniature figurines and plates to put inside.

Most of the lockets are glass and stainless steel. Some of the Origami Owl lockets sparkle with crystals on them, with most of the crystal lockets made with Swarovski Crystals.

Accessories called plates and windows add color, style and meaningful messages to the inside of the Living Lockets. Some include a large silver plate that fits into round lockets with the words “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” on it and a large black plate with the message “Family Is Forever” engraved in it.

A large silver Maze Window Frame in polished silver adorned with Swarovski Crystal Bubbles looks like a complex, branching puzzle with different paths and the word “Wanderlust” engraved on the inside.

Clients can also pick their own words to express themselves with gold, silver, rose gold or black inscription plates.

Origami Owl also sells a huge selection of charm pendants and charm bracelets, as well as locket watches, necklaces, rings and earrings.

Bella said when she was 14, she wanted her parents to buy her a car when she turned 16.

“They said, ‘Absolutely not.’ If I wanted a car I’d have to work for it,” she said. “I started brainstorming things I could do.”

Bella and Chrissy said their business aims to be a “force for good” and to encourage customers and the sales consultants to reveal their personal stories and discover their unlimited potential.

“That’s what we’re all about is helping people tell their stories through their jewelry,” Bella said. “It’s cool because a lot of people when they make a locket, they’ll put the things that matter most to them in a locket, a birthstone or inscribe a date.

“Every locket is different and customizable. A lot of times we’ll tear up seeing what people have ordered. You can tell maybe they’ve just lost a baby or a loved one. A lot of people also keep them as keepsakes.”

Chrissy said the independent designers are “entrepreneurs,” who sell the Origami Owl jewelry over social media and when they host “Origami Owl Jewelry Bars” – parties or gatherings at homes, venues they rent and sometimes at the corporate headquarters. Many of them are stay-at-home mothers and teachers.

“We connect people to the moments that matter most,” Chrissy said. “They’re capturing little memories. We didn’t invent a glass locket; we reinvented a timeless classic, giving it a modern twist.”

Origami Owl gives customers lots of ways to showcase their personalities, hobbies, beliefs, favorite foods and other aspects of their lives with its many charms that fit inside the Living Lockets.

A pink, ombre butterfly, a butterfly with sapphire blue and clear crystal accents, a whimsical, pink flying pig; a brown sloth, a gold camel and a silver dog and a silver cat are among the many animal charms.

Clients can support various causes by buying products with Origami Owl donating 100 percent of the profits to different organizations.

For example, a “Heart Disease Awareness Ribbon Charm” that resembles a red ribbon can be included in a Living Locket with the Light Siam Round Swarovski Crystal as a way to support heart disease awareness.

Origami Owl sends 100 percent of profits from sales of this charm to a charity/organization that supports awareness of heart disease. All proceeds from sales of the “AIDS Awareness Ribbon Charm” go to a charity/organization that supports AIDS awareness.

Marking special occasions and milestones is possible with the “Celebrations” charms, including one resembling a diploma, silver baby boy feet, silver baby girl feet, a star piñata and other styles.

Faith charms include gold praying hands, various crosses, as well as the words “faith,” “hope” and “blessed,” among other designs Origami Owl offers. Family charms feature the words “Mom,” “Dad,” “Family,” “Familia,” “In Memory Of” and other words and images.

Colorful, intricately designed “Food + Drink” charms include ones that look like a to-go coffee cup, a glass of red wine, a “rainbow sprinkle donut,” an avocado, popcorn and a rose gold cupcake. Origami Owl also offers many charms to reflect careers and hobbies.

A bookworm, pencil, silver microscope, silver playing cards, a camera and nursing scrubs are among the many charms illustrating people’s chosen fields.

Other charms include initials and numbers, as well as expressions of love like wedding bands and a “Key to My Heart” design.

Sports-themed charms and ones with Swarovski birthstones and Stardust Crystals by Swarovski are among the huge selection of Origami Owl charms.

Origami Owl’s “Empowerment Collection” aims to boost confidence

in customers and inspire them. One item in the collection is a rose gold, cubic zirconia circle necklace that has the words “I Am Fearless” inscribed on the underside of the circle.

Origami Owl believes in giving back and helps support military families. The company does monthly “Force For Good” promotions around specific causes.

It had a promotion for military families in need from April to June, through which it supported Operation Homefront in the United States and True Patriot Love in Canada.

From January to March of this year, Origami Owl used the “Force For Good” promotion profits to support the American Heart Association and Canadian Heart Association.

The Chandler company also likes to support young people

Children and teens can work as independent designers, selling the Origami Owl jewelry, as “Owlettes,” if they are girls, and “Bros,” if they are boys.

The company has more than 2,000 Owlettes and Bros right now. One of the Owlette’s designs was chosen in a contest Origami Owl had to design a charm that would be made into a “Force For Good” charm, with profits going to a charity.

Proceeds from the sales of this flower charm will all go to Camp Sunshine and its “Sponsor-a-family” program that sends terminally ill children, as well as their families, to an all-expenses paid camp retreat.

“We’re really passionate about the youth and so it’s cool because every month I get on a call where I talk to our youth and inspire them,” Bella said. “They really inspire me to see they’re running their business at such a young age. It’s cool to be able to see their confidence grows from owning a business and learning those business skills at a young age.”

Origami Owl also provides an Owlette Education Award. Owlettes are asked to write essays and send pictures, videos and anything else with their applications.

People from the company’s board of directors as well as others select two recipients of the award.

Origami Owl encourages its designers to share their personal stories. The company, as well as its designers, support a family in need once a year by giving the family 100 percent of the profits earned from every pack of the Live Sparkly Swarovski Crystals Stardust pack sold through the “Live Sparkly Share The Sparkle Campaign.

Three families so far have received the support.

“We have had incredible success, especially since we have grown into Canada, which has been really great for us,” Chrissy said.

Terri Kimble, president/CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, praised Origami Owl.

“Chrissy Weems and Bella Weems-Lambert have spoken at the Chandler Chamber’s Women in Leadership Luncheons as they are shining examples of female success stories, let alone entrepreneurs,” Kimble said. “It is interesting to hear about the ethics behind the management of their company, as it is so inspiring to the Chamber’s members. Origami Owl is a Chandler 100 company – a true stakeholder business in Chandler.”

Bella and Chrissy are thrilled their business has taken off.

“It’s really been such a big blessing,” Bella said. “Now it’s cool because I’ve been able to connect with so many people and it’s really just been inspiring.”

Chrissy’s husband, Warren Weems, is on the board of directors for Origami Owl and their other children: Addison, 12; Weston, 15; Brandon, 17 and Warren Jr., 19, are supportive and help out.

“It’s really neat because Bella had success,” Chrissy said, adding the family wanted to give other youths the opportunity to succeed. “We have youths who have earned enough money for a car, paid off student loans, purchased houses,” she added. “It’s pretty amazing.”

Information: origamiowl.com

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