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How an Arizona teen turned her jewelry passion into a multimillion-dollar business

Daily Ticker

Arizona teen Bella Weems wanted a new car when she turned 16. Her parents weren’t planning to buy her one, and she doubted she’d earn enough money babysitting to afford the white Jeep she dreamed of. So in 2010 Weems started selling jewelry at a local mall kiosk. She called the company Origami Owl and logged a remarkable $20 million in sales the first year. Four years later, the company has a professional CEO, employs hundreds of workers and markets its products through 60,000 independent sales representatives nationwide. Retail sales last year surpassed $330 million. Weems, now 17, still oversees the designs of the lockets and charms her company sells and stops by the Chandler, Arizona office almost every day after school.

"I want to be involved in the business for the rest of my life," she says in the video above. "When I was 14, I never thought this would have happened. It's been a dream come true."

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Origami Owl has succeeded through a direct sales model: "designers" purchase a kit for $149 and host parties (aka "jewelry bars") at their homes. The kit contains everything needed to sell the lockets, chains and charms, which customers can personalize to their liking. A gold-plated locket and chain excluding charms start at $50; charms range from $5 to $16 apiece. Robin Crossman, CEO of Origami Owl, says the company's paradigm allows individuals to create a mini business in their home, with Origami Owl getting a percentage of the home sales.

What advice does Weems give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Watch the video to find out!

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