The entrepreneur behind a jewelry empire shares her story

The founder of Alex and Ani opens up about her self-made success and how she is giving back to the community through her business.
5:33 | 08/03/17

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Transcript for The entrepreneur behind a jewelry empire shares her story
amazing jewelry brand that's not only thriving worldwide, it's always giving millions of dollars to charities across the globe. So many have Alex and ani bracelets on their wrist but you may not realize how impactful it is. I recently sat down with its founder and CEO and let me tell you, she is really taking care of business. Alex and ani is an American jewelry empire. And it's the vision and creation of Carolyn rafaelian. What we represent as a brand is positive energy. Reporter: Founded in 2004, the jewelry company turned lifestyle brand includes a now best-selling charm bangle, neck last, rings and accessories featuring the sign, symbols and precious metals. That is a purpose and meaning behind everything. Uh-huh. What do you think it is about your designsy. I mean everything we do, it has an element of something meaningful, something if you want to call it spiritual but it's anything that resonates with that person certain. It's Alex and ani. It's designed to connect you. This is brilliant. Everything has to be so accurate. I love the colors. It's not just slap a symbol on a piece of yulery and call it a day. There's so much attention that goes into every single piece we make. Sometimes it's, you know, these pieces were made for just a reminder of our own personal empower many. If you want to look down on something you have that reminds you of that then so be it. It did its job. Reporter: A manufacturer's daughter, Carolyn was born into the jewelry business in Cranston, Rhode Island. When I hear those machines and I smell the smell of factory, it's something that resonates with my entire DNA. Reporter: Manufacturing the American dream. Today Alex and ani is proudly made in Rhode Island and here her family's factory and where she got her start. People know you, know your brand a lot because of the bracelets. I did not set forth to create this big company. I remember the day I turned around and I realized everybody in that factory was working on my stuff. And that's when I had that oh no moment like they are counting on me and within seconds I realized, of course, I would. I count on me. Who else would I count on ands that owe how it started and never looked back. The way you have carried on the family tradition in so many beautiful way, Carolyn, I love the fact that your company named after two of your three daughters. These are my babies, the best things that ever happened to me and I wanted to show them that kye is the limit. There's no reason to not excel in anything that you put your mind to. What gets through you the challenging times? The giggles. You know, just kind of making fun of it. Not taking anything too seriously and as fast as this company has been growing it's been a challenge to, you know, keep the essence and the culture intact but it all starts from the top and, you know, I'm responsible to keep that synergy moving and tight and beautiful and growing. So, you know, it's been rewarding. Staying true to who you are. Uh-huh. I don't know how to do anything else. Carolyn's passion and drive has paid off. She was recently featured as one of Forbes' richest self-made women and Alex andny plans to expand to 100 retail stores in 2017. Not to mention their fierce brand loyalty. I feel like what I'm doing is aching a difference because I feel the company is making a difference. Reporter: Six years ago Carolyn launched charity by design creating unique charms for their 48 nonprofit partners with a portion of the sale donated back to the charity. How did you come up with that concept. It was always something that my parents taught us as my entire life, it's something that you just understand the law of the universe, the more you have, the more you have to give. To have charity by design give people in recovery a family facing addiction a symbol to wear and to know they're not alone, it's an amazing thing. We're feeding children around the world. We're giving water to villages that don't have clean water. We're making a difference because we exist. And I can't think of anything more powerful and that really propels everything. When I think about over $44 million. That's money that could be in your pocket. Could be in your company's pocket. Yeah, but what good is it there? I couldn't be sitting here with you and be excited about life. I'm telling you, and the number is actually higher. $48 million. She's given away. She's given it away. We would have so much fun hanging out with Carolyn. I said that. Her energy is contagious. I love her vibe. Her spirit. She is very generous so everybody here in the audience, Alex and ani is gifting our audience a charity by design charm bangle designed for the N nonprofit. Everyone will get one. Every single one of you. You get a bracelet and you get a bracelet. Tell them what that organization is. So that money goes to providing education and support to children in Kenya so enjoy them and know that you are doing

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