When someone asks about how you got started in the jewelry business, it's not such a clear path and easy answer to give. But, it is fun to take a step back and look at the path we took to get to where we are now.
Take a read please:
"Today we’d like to introduce you to Alissa Haroush.
Paula began selling jewelry in the 1970s because her husband thought buying jewelry was stupid and a waste of money. She decided that if she wanted her own, she would have to sell it, start up a small business and not rely on him to get what she wanted. Doing house parties and boutiques evolved into a booth at the Valley Swap meet selling maternity clothing, but with a jewelry counter, of course! Fast forward to 1994, her son in law saw that she was selling the cubed alphabet letter beads and simply said, “why don’t you make them in Hebrew?” So, she did.
Hitting on a niche market, cool Jewish jewelry, was something brand new on the market. She enlisted her daughter, Alissa, to help in the evenings to fill orders while she was at UCLA. Thinking it was a one-hit-wonder, Paula called her line of jewelry “alef bet” after the Hebrew alphabet. Then a customer said, “well, what else do you have?”
The thing was, she didn’t. But, with a daughter who had lived in Israel for a few years and an Israeli son-in-law, there was no shortage of ideas. Fast forward to 2020, the business is still around, totally different than in 1994, of course, but still around.
For many years the mother-and-daughter team mostly sold their designs to other stores wholesale. They manufactured, designed, and imported jewelry and sold mainly at gift shows designed for wholesale customers. With the evolution of the world, the internet, and Amazon, in particular, the line has once again completely changed or evolved once again.
Alef Bet still maintains the name, staying close to the “roots” but the line of home wall art amulets and jewelry is much different than the alefbet (alphabet) beads made so long ago. But we still sell them!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not smooth, not perfect, but ideal. Struggles are raising children while working, juggling around their schedule. Learning all about the internet, SEO, keywords, blogging, pricing, photography and of course, social media. With only a handful of sub-contractors to do the work this is a pretty much hands-on team.
Besides the fact that neither one of us have a business or math degree, let alone an internet degree. These are real struggles that can destroy a business if you don’t plan correctly.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Alef Bet specializes in Judaic jewelry, evil eye and hamsa designs. We recently added a line of home wall hangings that are honestly overtaking the entire business, and that is a good thing!
I am so proud that we can offer customers a piece of jewelry or a piece of art for their home that means something to them. I recently received a comment on our Facebook page (10.20.2020) where a customer told us that she often takes our jewelry off of her body and hands to people because it is so meaningful and she also wants to “touch” them and make them feel good.
I am proud that our designs touch a part of someone that needs it– for healing, for growth, for faith, for strength, for protection. We don’t design for the moment, for what is “in.” Our designs are timeless, meaningful and speak to each person. That isn’t to be said in a bragging way, that isn’t what our company is about– it is what our designs are about, a personal connection.
What sets us apart is that we have maintained our values, to which they are simple– treat others the way we want to be treated. We answer the phone, we respond to emails and we respond to social media posts. When you call us, we answer the phone and sometimes we have to hear every life story of our customers, but we do answer the phone!
What were you like growing up?
I know that I was the hardest kid around and to this day, my aunt teases me and says how terrible I was as a teenager. And look at me now, I work with my mom. And we don’t fight at all, no need. If there is an argument, one of us just walks away, cools off and we come back.
I also think I learned my independent skills from my mom, who learned them from her mom. My grandmother always taught us to keep “a little pishka on the side of our own money, so we aren’t dependant on anyone else.” She went on to build a real estate empire with an 8th-grade education. My mom built a business, her own pishka, and me — I remember that in the 6th grade, my mom was called from the school to come and stop me from selling jewelry on the side. So maybe I was always interested in business."
- Designs from $10 up to $300
- Website: www.alefbet.com
- Phone: 818-882-9030
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @alefbetjewelry
- Facebook: @paulaabjewelry