Rhode Island’s Next “Alex & Ani”? I Can Dream…Can’t I?

Last year I wrote a blog post about them on my Biddy Bytes website—the little company that grew out of nothing to become a national phenom. Its adherents wear thin little bangles of recycled, non-precious metal ‘round their wrists signifying all sorts of things.

It’s believed each wristlet is imbued with some kind of spiritual essence, and the company’s brilliant marketing plan pushed these little body adornments into the stratosphere, for they’re everywhere—most notably on most of Rhode Island’s female population (whose wrists are almost exclusively encircled with dozens of the little dears.) But men wear them, too.

With all their success, Alex and Ani has never forgotten who they are—a Rhode Island company.

You see, that’s important to them, for the jewelry industry used to be BIG here, but in the decades since it’s heyday, that industry’s fizzled and tanked.  And recently, when other states’ unemployment rates spiked at 8% unemployment, we’d already ‘gone there,’ and topped out at 10%.

So when a little company harkening back to our “King of the Jewelry” era was born, we all embraced it. It was just good karma.

But Alex & Ani is the brainchild of one woman who followed her dream to follow her jeweler father’s lead, developing her product. Now people clamor for her and their company product. And her product is in all the supposed fashionable places like Newport… Naples…Hollywood.

Her mission is to doubtless encircle the wrists of all who wear jewelry.

We, at Grandpa and the Truck, have a similar mission. Curiously, we find ourselves alike our sister RI company, in other ways, too.  We’re both…

  •  Products of a small, grass-roots efforts.
  • “Made in the United States”…That’s important to us, as we do our little part to grow the US economy. Our books are printed in Charleston, SC—not China, like so many others.
  • Formed from ‘recycled materials’…Our books are made out of paper which is made out of trees.
  • The brainchild of Rhode Island women.
  •  Share a similar mission:  Alex & Ani hopes to be on everyone’s wrist, while we want a Grandpa and the Truck book in every child’s hands.
  • Committed to our products.
  • Known for charitable component: We go to hospitals to cheer up sick kids; they have a corporate charitable component.
  • Bringing joy to others with our products.
  • Named for one of us. Owner/designer, Carolyn Rafaelian, named her company after two of her children; we honor Grandpa (the trucker) in ours.
  • Inexpensive.  Alex & Ani cost about $25.00 per bangle, while Grandpa and the Truck books cost $9.99 for 2 beautifully-illustrated stories, plus Lesson as focus, Question pages, Trucker Terms, Maps…

 **Quite simply, in today’s market, we both offer a lot of bang (or bangle) for the buck.