Carolyn Rafaelian founded Alex and Ani in 2004 based on the concepts of sustainability and positive energy. Each delicate and beautifully crafted piece is made in American factories with the goal of encouraging growth in local economies. The symbols used in Alex and Ani designs carry their own meanings and are intended to empower the wearer and be passed on for generations. We caught up with VP of Design, Beecher Fritzeier, regarding Rafaelian’s iconic brand in our Q&A below.
Barry’s: It’s hard to look at a stylish girl’s wrist and not see an Alex and Ani bracelet these days. When you first set out to make them, did you anticipate how popular they would be?
Alex and Ani: We knew that we were creating something special because so much thought is put into each piece and the meaning behind it. No one would have been able to anticipate the popularity and through it all I hope I have taught my team to be humble and remember where the brand started and the importance of giving our customers something more than a product.
Barry’s: What’s your favorite way to wear your Alex and Ani bracelets?
Alex and Ani: I love stacking multiple bracelets, and depending on my mood mixing the different symbols.
Barry’s: Each Alex and Ani jewellery feels as though it has a story and a deeper meaning behind it. Can you expand on that?
Alex and Ani: Meaning and symbolism are the core of the brand. We put equal efforts into creating a beautiful piece as we do creating the meaning behind each design. This is what makes the brand so unique. Every person can find something that they love and can relate to and it’s their story that sets them apart.
Barry’s: When it comes to jewellery, what is your philosophy?
Alex and Ani: I love accessories. It is the finishing touches that make me feel complete and confident. Jewellery is a great way to express your individual style.
Barry’s: How do you ensure that every new collection stays fresh and inspired?
Alex and Ani: It organically comes together. It is never forced. We do not try to be trendy. In the end we are bringing the customer essential pieces that can be worn for years. The focus for our Design Team is to always push new concepts and functionality.
Barry’s: While the bracelets are the most recognizable, Alex and Ani also carries necklaces and rings. Can you tell us what makes them just as special as the bracelets?
Alex and Ani: There is meaning incorporated into the necklaces and rings as well and like the bracelets, they look great layered.
Barry’s: Talk a little bit about your charity, Charity by Design.
Alex and Ani: Charity by Design is such an important part of the company’s identity. We design product for specific charities and a portion of the proceeds are donated directly to the non-profit organizations. It is a big part of our story and what we stand for and we hope to inspire others to give back.
Barry’s: Can you share a little-known jewellery tip with our customers?
Alex and Ani: I don’t think people realize how easy it is to maintain and clean their jewelry. We will be coming out with a polishing cloth in a couple of months that will help customers care for their pieces.
Barry’s: What upcoming Alex and Ani can we expect in the future?
Alex and Ani: We will be coming out with a new Precious Collection that will look great layered in with our Providence Collection. We also have some fun Vibrant Colour enamel charms that will be a great way to add colour to your bangle sets.