A hobby turned two Dallas women into jewelry mavens.
Now their side hustle is transforming into a powerhouse brand highlighting creativity and community. And it all started as a conversation over a cup of coffee.
"We just started off setting small goals and we’re both very goal-oriented and then our goals got a little bigger and a little crazier," said Bess Callarman.
Allie Wardlaw and Bess Callarman are comfortable with crazy, as former speech and occupational therapists, they relied on being inventive to help patients.
"Which doesn’t seem creative, but it is very creative, it’s very outside-of-the-box thinking. Especially when you’re working in geriatrics and in nursing homes, you’re having to think constantly outside of the box," says Allie Wardlaw.
That’s where the besties met, fast forward several few years the two moms with a passion for design started making bracelets for themselves.
Their hobby got the attention of friends and the bracelets' growing popularity pushed the women to start a business.
"What we thought was lacking in the jewelry industry is there’s a lot of product shops, but you don’t necessarily know how to style them. That’s where we thought we could be different is to create lifestyle images with our pieces," said Callarman.
Find a niche market like Allie + Bess and make it your own.
"We would go to these meetings and people would throw a lot of acronyms at us that we had no idea what they were talking about. And we would just literally smile and then after the meeting go home and Google those acronyms and figure out what the heck, they were asking us," said Callarman.
Allie + Bess leaned into that principle of "fake it til you make it" when the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to shift their business plan.
"We pulled our stuff from wholesale and decided to focus on e-commerce," said Wardlaw.
"We decided to be more the face of the brand and we do that on Instagram. I think the timing of that with COVID, it was a connection. Peopled wanted a connection. And I think that’s also something that’s important to us, we know all our customers," said Callarman.
Their customers also helped drive their social media pages.
"It’s just getting out of your comfort zone and just trying. We haven’t been successful at everything we do but I think that we try something and if it works, it works and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and we move on," said Callarman.
But the women have made a commitment to the company and each other now, their sacrifice is shining on the wrists of women all over North Texas.
They encourage other small business owners to launch a website as soon as possible because consumers want convenience.
Allie + Bess say part of their success is due to people willing to take a chance on them.
In fact, they’re collaborating with a well-known artist out of Austin, Katie Kime. Their new line launches in early January.