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As a young girl, I had big dreams, but they never involved becoming a jewelry designer. I was a smart kid and dreamed of being a lawyer. I studied hard, started college at age 16 and by the time I was 23, I was an attorney. I landed an internship at the NY District Attorney’s office Major Crimes Unit. It was exciting but scary work. After months of constant nightmares, I decided to switch to corporate and commercial law. This work wasn’t scary but it felt as dry as doing tax returns all day, every day.
On a whim, I tagged along with my mom to attend a fashion accessories trade show. As I observed businesses buying and selling sparkling baubles for a living, I thought: “What? Is that really a job?” It looked way more fun than what I was doing. At that moment, it hit me - I was in the wrong career. After that day, I would get home from my job as a lawyer and sit at my kitchen table for hours trying to teach myself how to create jewelry. Once I had put together a small collection, I sold my first designs to a few local bridal shops. I was thrilled and knew I was onto something. Against the advice of my family, I just quit my job as a lawyer and never looked back. I drove 500 miles a week with my ‘partner’ Wally (a 75 pound rescue dog) at my side and a trunk full of jewelry. I knocked on the doors of every bridal store I could find and I started making sales! My new career was born and I named it “Mariell”.
To reach more stores (there was no internet back then), I emptied my savings account to print a catalog and mailed them to every bridal store in the United States. It worked! I was getting orders. Fast forward 30 years and Mariell designs are carried by 4,000 stores worldwide. I am still in awe that millions of brides have walked down the aisle wearing Mariell.
Nan DeRasmi, President & Founder of Mariell
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