The Amazing Origami Owl

oowlIf you are a handmade jewelry designer and you haven’t yet heard the story of Origami Owl, please stop what you are doing and study this for at least a few minutes.

It could change how you view your handmade jewelry business.

Origami Owl was started in 2010 by a 14 year old teenager named Bella Weems. She began selling her jewelry at a local mall kiosk.

From those humble beginnings, four years later Origami Owl had retail sales last year that surpassed, get ready….


That’s not a typo.

How on earth is this possible?

Please listen to this interview where Bella herself talks about this meteoric rise:

Origami Owl Story

From a business model perspective there are many reasons why Origami Owl has achieved this kind of success.

But I want to focus in on one thing that even a “business of one” handmade jewelry micro-business can replicate.

That is, focusing on designing jewelry that has a built-in component that encourages REPEAT purchases.

What do I mean?

Take Origami Owl’s “Living Lockets” strategy: Living Lockets

This type of product is not a “once and done” purchase.

The product encourages getting all kinds of charms to use with the locket, as well as many different styles of lockets that match a range of memories and emotions that a potential customer might want to express.

Can you imagine how many repeat purchases this company must get?

Why is repeat purchasing so important to your business?

Remember this. When you sell something you have to invest a certain amount of time and money to make that sale.

This is what marketers call “acquisition cost.”

If a current customer comes back to you after the original acquisition cost is made, you do not incur that acquisition cost again. This means that you massively increase your profit per customer each time a customer comes back for a repeat purchase.

Selling jewelry is typically a “one and done” sale. However, if you can “design in” a repeat purchase component to your jewelry designs, the stars are the limit.

Just ask Bella. :)


Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Rhonda Garlick
    3 years ago

    I am sorry I haven’t checked in yet to see what is required. This story is astounding and I wish I could make a very small percentage of that much and yes I I could make several of a design if needed but I am 81 yrs. old and handicapped, I am still learning the computer but I am a fast learner. I am so happy for the teen tha is doing so well and encourage her whole heartedly. I hope she continues and don’t give up.

    • Brett Attebery
      Brett Attebery
      3 years ago

      Hi Rhonda!

      I’m very happy for her as well. Just an amazing story when you think about it.

      Keep studying and you surely will make a small percentage of that. :)


  2. Kaarren
    3 years ago

    Wow! That was an I opener. It doesn’t have to take years to make money selling jewelry. It takes a great idea and a market to sell it to. I love jewelry and I’m passionate about gemstones. Even though I put a lot of work into my jewelry and create jewelry that I love to wear, I don’t think that I’m creating a product that becomes a “contagion” that my target market just have to have. That is my task now. Back to the drawing board to come up with that great idea, that great product that becomes a “piece” that my target market loves and just have to have. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Brett Attebery
      Brett Attebery
      3 years ago

      Hi Kaarren,

      That’s right, it doesn’t.

      Of course, it would be a perfect match if what you love to do happened to perfectly match what many people want, as happened in the Origami Owl case, but I would say that’s a very rare case.

      Nonetheless, as I’ve said in some previous comments on this board I think it’s important to spend time making what you love as an artist, but at the same time make sure you know which of your products brings in the profits as a business person.


  3. Cyndee
    3 years ago

    Found this very inspiring

    • Brett Attebery
      Brett Attebery
      3 years ago

      Hi Cyndee.

      It is an amazing story isn’t it? I bet you this teenager is still pinching herself wondering how this all happened so fast.