Name: Bella Weems
Company: Origami Owl
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Follow Bella: @bella_weems (Instagram) & @BellaWeems (Facebook)
Like most teenagers, Bella Weems asked her parents for a car as a gift on her sixteenth birthday. However, Bella is not like most teenagers.
Her parents’ response to the then 14-year-old’s request: no. Instead, Bella’s parents encouraged her to work toward her dream by earning the money for a car herself.
“From then on, I was determined to buy a car for my 16th birthday,” she said. “My parents inspired me to turn my dream into a reality and I wasn’t going to stop until that happened.”
A lover of jewelry, Bella has many memories of making jewelry at bead stores with her mom at the beach. Inspired, Bella began selling personalizable lockets, or living lockets, at home sale parties and boutiques.
“Now, I didn’t create a locket, those have been around for centuries, but I realized that I wanted to help people tell their personal story within a locket, so I would buy earrings and cut off the backings to create a ‘charm’ to help tell a person’s story,” she said.
Following such great success with home selling, Bella upgraded her business to a kiosk at the local mall. While working at the kiosk, Bella encountered many customers who asked how they could purchase her jewelry in their hometown.
“That’s when (Bella and her parents) decided to move into an office and open up as an official social selling company empowering women to start their own businesses,” she said.
Today, Bella sells her lockets and other jewelry creations through her e-commerce site and Origami Owl designers.
“We have come a long way since then and now have beautifully designed ‘charms’ and many charm categories to choose from; like family, faith, sports, hobbies, food and charity cause ribbons to name a few,” she said. “We also offer other product categories like watches, inscriptions, rings, sentiments, core, plates, dangles, all sizes of living lockets, etc., which all can be customized as well. We always ask: every locket tells a story, what’s yours?”
Throughout her Origami Owl journey, Bella’s biggest inspiration and role model has been her mom.
“She is very important to me, it’s because of her belief in me that I am who I am today,” she said. “I saw her sacrifice many times so my dreams could come true.”
Bella said Origami Owl is more than buying her Jeep, which she did purchase in time for her sixteenth birthday.
“We together wanted to take this special opportunity to bless other individuals by offering a business that could change their lives and their family’s lives forever,” she said. “Also, providing people with a way to share their personal story in an Origami Owl Living Locket, it is magical.”
Bella also sees Origami Owl designers as role models and inspirations.
"What (the designers) do to build their businesses while taking care of their families, some working full time jobs, also volunteering and giving back within their communities, they are truly amazing and inspire me everyday,” she said. “That’s why I do what I do, to support our wonderful Designers.”
Bella takes most pride in the Origami Owl Living Locket.
“Each unique locket helps tell a person’s story and no locket story is the same because it is special to the person who has lived that journey,” she said. “Being able to help people tell their story and then give them a way to wear that story in a locket makes me feel very proud that we at Origami Owl can connect with people in a very meaningful way.”
Throughout her journey, Bella said she has faced many struggles—especially in the beginning.
“When we started the company, (we) had to create a waitlist because we never dreamed this company would take off the way it did,” she said. “Our first priority was, and still is, always finding a way to support our designers so they have great success.”
Bella said she learned the importance of positivity, surrounding herself with people who support her dream and working as a team for the greater good through her experiences.
“ I have had many wonderful business ‘teachers’ within the Origami Owl family,” she said.
A strong believer in her products, Bella completes her look with Origami Owl every day.
“Everyday, because of Origami Owl jewelry, I have the opportunity to create a new story in my own locket which has a special meaning about maybe how I am feeling, what new dreams I am hoping for, keeping those I love close to me and a reminder of how blessed I truly am because of my family, our designers and Origami Owl,” she said.
Opportunities for Future Owlettes
Recently, Bella started the Owlette program, which empowers kids between the ages of 11 and 17 to work alongside a parent, who works as an Origami Owl designer, to help manage, sell, and learn life skills.
Origami Owl also just introduced Origami Owl Family of Brands acquiring willa, a social selling brand that offers safer skincare formulas and a business learning opportunity similar to the Owlette Program known as willagirls.
'Willa Doss, who started the willa brand, and I have become good friends and both of us are so inspired to keep encouraging other teens to reach their dreams because if we can do it, anyone can,” Bella said. “Together, we are working to empower Origami Owl Owlettes and willagirls to go after their dreams and be a Force For Good in the world.”
To Future Owlettes
In regards to advising future jewelry designers and entrepreneurs, Bella said, “I always remind those younger than me that they are never too young or too old to reach their dreams. I also share with them to never let anyone say they can’t do something because they can if they just believe in themselves. I encourage them to surround themselves with people who will support their dream and believe in who they are and remind them what can be accomplished with hard work and perseverance!”
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