Alex and Ani
|Industry||Jeweller and retailer|
|Headquarters||Cranston, Rhode Island|
|Key people||Carolyn Rafaelian (Acting CEO)|
Alex and Ani was founded in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian. The name comes from a combination of the first names of Rafaelian's two daughters. The company originally stated that they wanted to produce "bangle bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit". The company first manufactured its jewelry in a factory that was founded by Rafaelian's father in 1966 and all materials are made in America. The first retail Alex and Ani store opened in 2009. In 2010 Giovanni Feroce joined the company as CEO and drove the company's expansion, increasing the sales total for the year by more than 20 times its previous annual total.
The Independent newspaper stated that a "signature design feature" of the company's products was a "patented sliding mechanism that replaces the traditional clasp, making each bracelet entirely adjustable" making it "one-size-fits-all". They are also "stackable", referring to the ability to attach them in a broad chain up the arm of the wearer, as well as expandable. Alex and Ani produces bangles, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings. The company first came to national attention in 2004 when they produced a necklace featuring an apple for Gwenyth Paltrow following the birth of her daughter Apple, leading to a large number of orders of similar merchandise. The company has described its products as "eco-friendly", as "positive energy products", and its line as "an eco-friendly jewelry and lifestyle brand". Much of the material used in Alex and Ani designs is either recycled or from vintage articles. Jewelry lines for Alex and Ani have included the Spiritual Armor Collection that incorporates ancient religious symbols. All Alex and Ani products are manufactured solely in the United States.
In 2011 Alex and Ani appeared in the Inc. 500 List, and number 16 on their retail sector list. Between 2010 and 2012 the company increased its sales from $4.5 million to $80 million, with its labor force increase from just over 20 to more than 600. The company added new marketing components or expanded infrastructure in each quarter that year. It also increased its sales by over 300% between the two respective year's Christmas seasons. In 2012 Alex and Ani also opened its first European branded stores. That year JH Partners also acquired a large stake in Alex and Ani, adding it to its lifestyle companies portfolio. Towards the end of 2013 Alex and Ani was on pace to sell more than $200 million in merchandise that year.
In 2012 the company acquired a majority stake in the advertising agency Mediapeel after becoming the firm's largest client, changing the company name to Seven Swords Media. Seven Swords designs marketing campaigns for Alex and Ani as well as outside firms and individuals, such as the band Colour of London. Colour of London partnered with Alex and Ani with a 2012 acoustic tour of more than twenty of its stores across the US. In 2013 Seven Swords produced a 30-second spot that aired during the 2013 Super Bowl, filmed at the Rafaelian-owned Belcourt Castle.
In 2011 the company partnered with the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival to create speciality charms for each ticket buyer of each festival. In 2013 the company partnered with the New England Patriots and New England Revolution sports teams to provide sports themed merchandise and uniforms, including the provision of bangles to be worn by the Patriots' cheerleaders on the field and in public appearances. The three-year deal included the opening of an Alex and Ani store in Patriot Place. Alex and Ani also has partnerships with Major League Baseball and the Boston Celtics.
Alex and Ani also creates bangles in conjunction with charities in order to promote their fundraising campaigns. Many of their bangles are designed for charities and proceeds of the profits go back to the charity. They also host charity events for non-profits across several states. The charity department of the company is called Charity by Design, which runs programs including the "Hero" bangle campaign that sets asides 20% of all sales from the bangles to give to the Hasbro Children's Hospital. Large donations by the company have included $1 million donations to both Bryant University and Rhode Island College, and other donations have benefited more than 135 other organizations and individuals. The company has also opened the positive energy workshop provider Alex and Ani University for its employees.
- Allan Fung (July 19, 2013). "OP-ED: Mayor Allan Fung on The Keys to Cranston's Success". WPRO. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Alex and Ani in stock". The Independent. July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "New Bedford-native named Mass. Small Business Person of Year". South Coast Today. March 23, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Leigh Buchanan (April 2013). "The Disciplined and the Divine: An Unlikely Partnership". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Chandra Johnson Greene (July 17, 2013). "Eco-friendly Alex and Ani Jewelry Store Opens in Westport". Weston-Redding-Easton Patch. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Special fund for first-time buyers". The Independent. July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
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- "Money to burn? Spend it on the Island". Asbury Park Press. July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Alex and Ani CEO Speaks at Bryant’s World Trade Day Kickoff Event". Go Local Prov. June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Donna Freydkin (July 20, 2004). "Sweet sense of style for Apple Martin; Hot stuff". USA Today. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Jessica Shaw (August 6, 2004). "Fruit Of The Womb". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Chris Reidy (July 26, 2013). "Alex and Ani partners with the Patriots". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Vanessa Inzitari (July 17, 2013). "Alex And Ani Brings Brand Of Eco-Friendly Jewelry To Westport". Norfolk Daily News. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Cranston jewelry maker opens retail stores on Mass. islands". July 22, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- M.E. REILLY-MCGREEN. "Room at the Top: It takes more than a great idea to create a million-dollar business. You need passion, luck and drive, as these highly successful women have learned. Here are their secrets.". Rhode Island Monthly. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Philip Eil (September 18, 2013). "It's Alex and Ani's state... ...we only live in it. An in-depth look at the 'positive energy' powerhouse". The Providence Phoenix. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "Alex and Ani Named One of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies". Go Local Prov. August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Bill Briggs (July 10, 2013). "Small but mighty". Internet Retailer. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Jordan McKee (July 23, 2013). "Yankee Group: Mobile PoS is the new 'must have' for retailers". Fierce Mobile Content. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Alex and Ani acquires Mediapeel". South Coast Today. April 20, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Dana Mattioli (October 22, 2012). "Private Equity Firm JH Partners Buys Stake in Jeweler Alex & Ani". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Travis Rowley (September 21, 2013). "Travis Rowley: RI Needs More Rich People (Chapter 2)". Go Local Prov. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "Alex and Ani Creates Limited Edition Charms for Newport". Go Local Prov. July 22, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Paul Kenyon (July 27, 2013). "Training Camp Coverage". Providence Journal. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Red Sox announce new initiatives for fans during second half of the season". Boston Red Sox. July 18, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- George Austin (July 25, 2013). "A concert with heart Night of music to benefit cardi". South Coast Today. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Jane Fetterly (July 13, 2013). "Music, auction spice up Place of Hope benefit". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Darrell Hofheinz (January 25, 2013). "Rafaelian’s new townhouse: Location was key". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- "Carolyn Rafaelian: 12 Who Made a Difference in RI in 2012". Go Local Prov. December 26, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Meri R. Kennedy (March 28, 2012). "On top of the world". Cranston Online. Retrieved August 5, 2013.