This Girl Started a Jewelry Line Worn by Chrissy Teigen When She Was 14

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At 14 years old, most of us are spending our days grappling with the awkwardness of freshman year, fighting off zits and trying to figure out the dating thing. Bella Weems, founder of the customizable jewelry line Origami Owl, was starting her own business. At. 14.
(Okay, now that we've got that out of the way...)

It all started when her parents told her that she had to buy her own car when she turned 16 (something we've probably all heard), but rather than applying at her nearest McDonald's, Bella took matters into her own hands. Now she's got a company with 60,000 independent designers across the United States.

It's safe to say that Bella is the epitome of #BUILTBYGIRLS.

"[My parents] said, 'Why don't you start a business?' I needed to do something to earn money to buy a car, so I was inspired to do customizable jewelry, and the Living Locket came to life that way," the now 19-year-old Arizonian told Cambio.

You've probably heard of or seen the Living Locket before because just about everyone is wearing it. The perfect combination of a charm bracelet and a pendant, Living Lockets allow you to take just about any charm designs under the sun and put them together in one transparent piece to create what Bella calls "your story." As meaningful or as light-hearted as you want it to be, Living Lockets are personal keepsakes you can wear around your neck that perfectly describe you. And did we mention they're adorable?
Bella WeemsBut before Bella was helping celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Amy Adams, Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen build their own stories (yes, you read that right), she was making lockets with her friends and selling them to people in her community.

"It's crazy. I originally started selling out of my house. I'd have my friends over, and they'd buy it. And we had little parties at my house," Bella said. "Then it grew, and I would do boutiques and eventually I set up a booth at the mall."

A six-month contract at her mall kiosk quickly became a year and a half, as more and more people began buying Bella's lockets as gifts and sending them around the country. It wasn't long before Bella was getting calls from all over the world, asking her how they could get their hands on a locket and get involved in her company. Bella then took her small business to the next level, turning her customizable jewelry into a social-selling enterprise where anyone could become a designer and hock the product.

By allowing women to buy their own kits and sell the product themselves, Bella created a chain reaction of more and more women becoming self-starters of their own businesses, hiring their own teams and doing so on their own time. Bella WeemsBella, who is one of the most down-to-earth people we've ever met (with the most ah-mazing lashes), says she's shocked but completely humbled by the success so many of her designers are finding through a small idea she had just to make some extra cash.

"I found out about a woman who was homeless. She was living out of her car with her family, and she bought a kit and started selling it. Now, she owns her own home," Bella said. "Hearing stories like that makes it all worth it. And it's crazy to me because when I started this I just wanted a car. I got so much more than that. Through this product, we're able to change people's lives."

Oh, and her friend Maddie was able to pay for her entire college tuition after selling lockets. Yeah, all of it.

Bella and her team also decided to start what they're calling the Owlette program, helping girls between the ages of 12 and 17 learn how to become entrepreneurs. When you sign up for the Owlette program, you get your own kit that you can sell with a parent or guardian along with lessons on the best practices.

"This program really helps [Owlettes] in their lives because it gives them confidence. And you can do this all while making your own hours," she said.
Bella WeemsBut for those of you who are just interested in buying Bella's insanely adorable jewelry (because we totes are), she has just about everything to choose from. You can go for the standard Living Locket with pendants in all shapes, sizes and colors (yes, she has rose gold), or you can go for one of her new bracelets or plaid wraps that are coming up just for the holidays. She also just debuted a collar chain, and all of her lockets can be customized even further with an inscription. Oh, and she has just about every charm you can think of. Our personal favorite charm? The mini slice of pizza. We think it pretty much describes our story completely.

We're not going to lie. We are pretty in awe of Bella and her cute jewelry line, so our next question was, naturally, how can we go out and start a business ourselves?

"Surround yourself with people who believe in you," Bella said like a woman wise beyond her years. "Remember to set goals for yourself. I was working toward a goal, and that pushed me forward. And finally, know why you're doing what you're doing. My 'why' was once to buy a car, but now my 'why' is to make a difference in people's lives. No matter how old or how young you are, don't be afraid to reach your goals."

Not sure about you, but we're feeling all the #inspo right about now. We just need an idea, and we are ready to take our businesses off the ground!


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