Tell us the story of eff.Y.bee! I started eff.y.bee in 2011 during my senior year at UD. Like many college girls, I felt overwhelmed and anxious about graduating. I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise with my major (Psychology), but I knew I wanted to do something fulfilling and creative. I remember thinking to myself.. what am I passionate about?
I took inspiration from the things I loved - working part-time at Bloom (a clothing & jewelry boutique near campus), being in Sigma Kappa sorority, and fundraising for relief efforts in Haiti. It was within these experiences I discovered my passions for beautiful design, girl power community, and using business as a force for good.
With a leap of faith, I started the company started on my bedroom floor - literally! I taught myself how to make jewelry, launched a Facebook page (this was before we had instagram!), and hosted my first trunk shows on campus. After I graduated, a few younger girls in my sorority reached out about internship opportunities and thats how our brand ambassador program began!
How did your company get it's name? eff.Y.bee is a secret acronym for "follow your bliss", me and my best friends favorite quote and our go-to advice to each other. I wanted a name that was meaningful and that would inspire conversation. Following your bliss is about trusting your intuition, seeking passion, and always doing what you know in your heart is right.
What sets eff.y.bee apart from other jewelry companies? What sets us apart is our story, our mission, and our brand ambassador program. eff.Y.bee is more than a jewelry brand but a community of young women with a desire to make a difference.
What is a typical day like for you? A typical day is a mix of making jewelry and getting orders shipped out, touching base with our brand ambassador team and retail stores, planning new brand collaborations, scheduling trunk shows, shooting our social media posts for the week, working on product photography and making website updates, running up to the garment district to source jewelry supplies if needed, and depending on what we have that month - traveling for trunk shows, trade shows, and meetings. I always either start or end my day with a hot yoga, pilates, or spin class (I am a Class Pass addict!).
I also have an amazing team of interns who work closely with me at my studio each semester, helping with everything from production and design to modeling for our instagram posts. Everyday is different and there is always something to be done, its definitely a 24/7 job!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration? Nothing inspires me more than my brand ambassador team! Seeing how passionate they are about eff.Y.bee, hearing their feedback, and watching them bring the brand to life on their campus - there is truly no greater feeling for me and it reminds me that I've created something special.
I am also inspired by seeing the success of other female entrepreneurs. I love connecting, sharing insight, learning about their journeys, and supporting one another- its so important. I'm lucky to have an awesome network of girl boss friends (shout out to my bloom girls! :))
Whats the biggest challenge you've faced in growing your business? The biggest challenge I have right now is production and managing inventory. As were growing, its getting harder to keep up with orders. I'm hoping to find the right jewelry manufacturer to partner with this year to help us with production so I can focus on growing other parts of the business.
What has been your most proud moment throughout the history of eff.y.bee? We have our first meeting with a department store this month, and it's definitely a big pinch-me moment!
If you could talk to yourself 5 years ago, what advice would you give yourself Focus on your financials, simplify and focus on one thing at a time, have more confidence in yourself.
What are some key books/learning experiences that helped shape your company? I LOVE Marie Forleo! (www.marieforleo.com) I enrolled in her B-School program and it was life-changing. Whenever I need a motivational boost, I'll watch a few of her videos. She posts new content every Tuesday on her website that include topics like "how to conquer your fear of public speaking" and "what to do when you're feeling unoriginal". One of the biggest things I've learned from her is how important it is to run your own race and infuse your individuality into your business. When you focus on your story and what makes you unique, there is no competition. She also taught me the importance of growing your email list (because social media is not permanent)!
The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris, Start with Why by Simon Sinek, Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and The Secret by Rhonda Bryne are all books that shaped my life and inspired me.
What are your fav bloom products? I’m obsessed with the Vision Planner! The "vision board" and "making it happen" pages are so cute! I am constantly making vision boards, its the best way to get excited and start working towards your goals. I also love the daily planning system pads. I have one on my desk that I use everyday - It seriously helps me stay organized amongst the chaos!
Where do you see yourself/your company in 5 years, and how do you see yourself directing that growth? In five years, I envision eff.Y.bee expanding to more Retail stores, Universities, and becoming the go-to jewelry company for sororities. I hope to partner with more organizations to make a difference and I dream of one day having a studio that's walking distance to the beach :)
The day we met Alyssa at a UDress Event. Love at first sight!
We were able to spend time with Alyssa in her home state of New York after this year's Stationery show!
We hope you are inspired by hearing Alyssa's story! She is proof that anything is possible with enough determination and hard work. Don't forget to use coupon code Bloom15 to receive 15% off any of her beautiful handmade jewelry! Have a #girlboss story to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be our next featured bloom girl!
Never stop dreaming, never stop blooming!
Michelle & Kaylyn