In our Brand Story Hero series, we shine a regular spotlight on different brands that we think tell their story well. Here we take a look at Alex and Ani, the jewellery company.
Brand: Alex and Ani
Product: Bangle bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings
Founder: Carolyn Rafaelian
Year founded: 2004
Mission: To design products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and
empower the spirit.
Alex and Ani is an American producer of jewellery that is located in Cranston, Rhode Island. The retail was founded by Carolyn Rafaelian in 2004 and is a combination of the first names of her daughters. Alex and Ani specialise in new age, celestial chic bangles, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings. Carolyn learnt the craft as an apprentice to her father and took over what had been her father’s Rhode Island jewellery factory in 1966, to design meaningful, eco-friendly jewellery.
Alex and Ani represent 50 years of RI craftsmanship from design to execution. The company’s products are charged with the love and energy of more than 1,500 employees. The people that make the accessories are fellow community members and their vendors are their neighbours. Furthermore, the company believes that they don’t just make jewellery in Rhode Island, they make a difference in Rhode Island.
In recent years, the lifestyle brand has shaken up the jewellery world has it focuses more on how the accessory makes the wearer feel rather than just how it makes them look. The aim of the brand is to design accessories that will enlighten the mind and empower the spirit. The purpose of the accessories is allow the wearer to effectively express their own individuality.
The first Alex and Ani store opened in Newport in 2009, and in addition to the stand-alone stores, the jewellery was sold across other international departmental stores in America.
In September 2018, the company launched the Liberty Copper Collection, that featured original copper preserved from the centennial restoration of the Statue of Liberty. This collection is particularly close to Carolyn because her family’s story in America started when they came through Ellis Island from Armenia in pursuit of a better life. Her work is a commitment of spreading Lady Liberty’s message of love, light and hope which is at the core of everything she continues to create.
Their Storytelling Lessons:
Lesson #1 Add Positivity Through Charity
Alex and Ani is committed to giving back to society through its “Charity by Design” collection, where it partners with different organisations ranging from health and wellness to empowerment, children’s well-being and saving the planet. Through its “Charity by Design” the company co-creates unique charms that portray the stories of these charities.
Customers can support these charities by purchasing these charms and donating the money towards a good cause.
Lesson #2 Add Personality
Alex and Ani is not your regular jewellery brand, as it allows its customers to choose their charms based on their personality.
All you need to do is take a blueprint personality test on their website by entering in your full name, date of birth, aspirations and the type of energy you would like to be surrounded with. The results then reveal your birthstone stone, zodiac sign and personality number. Hence, customers can wear different charms that display their stories and add to their overall personality.
Lesson #3 Big Time Partnerships
Alex and Ani’s biggest milestones have been its partnerships with companies such as THE United States Army, the National Football League, the Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the Olympics and 62 different colleges across the US.
The jewellery company makes all the official jewellery for numerous sports teams and universities. It is also the mastermind behind the jewellery products sold at Walt Disney. By partnering with these companies Alex and Ani is able to tell the stories of these companies while adding a touch of their own story.
Their Storytelling Tools
1) Get Appy
The Alex and Ani mobile app is recognised for its unique blend of content and e-commerce that allows its customers to connect in fun and engaging ways.
The “Inspiration Engine” feature on the app is particularly interesting as it lets customers learn more about themselves with insights from the universe, guidance from ancient symbols and much more.
The app has won Alex and Ani the Content Marketing Award for Best Integration of Mobile Devices in a Content Marketing Program.
2) Get Social
Alex and Ani love to see the different ways that their users style their bangles and charms. Whether it is just a stack wrist of bracelets or a charm paired with their party outfit.
The user then needs to share a photo using the #charmedarms onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and get a chance to be featured on the company’s official website. This allows their users to express their individuality and true expression of positive energy.