Alyssa Kuchta started eff.Y.bee a handmade jewelry brand that is super trendy and is inspiring women to “follow their bliss.” While Alyssa was going to college, working at a boutique and a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority she discover her passions for entrepreneurship, the girl power community, and making a difference. Thats when Alyssa decided to combine all her experiences together and start eff.Y.bee which also gives back to different organizations!
What exactly is eff.Y.bee?
eff.Y.bee is a lifestyle brand of meaningful boho jewelry handmade with love in New York City. More than a jewelry company, we are also a community and a platform for empowering young women towards more confidence in themselves and in their dreams. We offer a brand ambassador program for University students to gain a unique experience in leadership, sales, marketing and fundraising – allowing them to build their resumes in a way that stands out, explore areas of interest, while making a difference for causes they care about.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to empower young women to “follow their bliss”, have more confidence in themselves, and find their passions. We hope to accomplish this through our brand ambassador program, our meaningful jewelry, sharing our journey and inspirations on social media, and building a positive community of women that support and inspire one another.
What inspired you to start eff.Y.bee?
eff.Y.bee began from a place of feeling lost. I was a senior in college at the University of Delaware and had no idea what I wanted to pursue after graduation with my degree in Psychology. I took a step back to self reflect and ask myself – who am I? What is it I’m passionate for? I would sit on my bed with a blank notebook and just write out lists of everything I liked, everything I didn’t like, and areas of interest. It really all started there. That was when I was able to look at myself on paper and figure out how to connect the dots. I knew I wanted to do something creative and something meaningful.
Throughout college I worked at a boutique where I learned everything from building customer relationships and branding to learning the stories of the many jewelry designers we carried there. Working there creatively fulfilled me and inspired my love for jewelry design. I was also a member of Sigma Kappa sorority and a board member of Students for Haiti. Being a part of these organizations allowed me to be a part of something meaningful, build genuine friendships and work towards a greater cause. These three experiences collectively helped me discover my passions for entrepreneurship, girl power community, and making a difference.
I definitely had a light bulb moment when I started to think of how to combine these passions. It was then I realized I wanted to start a jewelry brand with a greater mission. The company began on my bedroom floor! I hosted my first trunk show on campus and was overwhelmed by the love and support of my friends and sorority sisters. It was then when I realized eff.Y.bee could really become something.
How did you come up with the name?
I was having a brainstorm session with my best friend, right when I was just starting to come up with the concept for eff.Y.bee. I had list of names but most were already taken. She grabbed a pen and the napkin that was next to us and wrote out “eff. Y. bee” and goes, “THIS is what you’re going to name your company, it stands for follow your bliss!” I remember thinking what is that? There’s no way I’m naming my brand that!
But then it started to grow on me and I fell in love with the meaning behind it. “Follow your bliss” has always been our go-to advice to each other. It’s more than just “do what makes you happy”, but rather to listen to your intuition and trust that voice inside you that always knows. The name also represented what I was doing in changing my career path and following what I loved.
Our name has become the guiding mantra of everything we do as a brand. All I can say is I wish I still had that napkin to frame!
What is your favorite part about running eff.Y.bee?
My favorite part is getting to meet so many amazing women – whether working with our brand ambassador team, meeting customers, or connecting with other cool and creative women to collaborate with, eff.Y.bee has brought so many new people and friendships into my life. Seeing a group of girls around our table at a trunk show complimenting each other as they try on pieces or getting an email from a store that is selling out of our styles – those are the moments that give me butterflies and make all of the hard work worth every minute.
Do you ever find that it is hard to balance work/life? If yes, how do you do so?
It definitely is, I feel like I’m always working! Whether its posting on social media daily or getting orders out – running your own business really is a 24/7 job. I try and balance by making it a priority to take care of myself – knowing when I need a break. I love a good mid-day pilates class and getting dinner with my girlfriends. My mom has always drilled in me “without health there is no wealth”, and to me health is also having healthy relationships and making time to nurture your mind / body / and soul.
Do you have a favorite product eff.Y.bee has made?
My all-time favorite is our signature bliss bracelet collection. Our bracelets are what we are best known for since we started and I love seeing the bracelet/charm combinations that our customers order and learning why they are meaningful to them.
My go-to stack always has a Daughter charm (my mom has the matching “mom” charm), Sister (my little sister has the matching “sister” charm), Scorpio, Pawprint (to symbolize my dog Brody), and an Arrow to remind myself to keep aiming.
How do you spread the word about your company?
Instagram has been our biggest source of growth! From new customer acquisition, recruiting brand ambassadors, new retail accounts, collaborations and even new friendships – it’s helped eff.y.bee grow tremendously. Our brand ambassadors play a huge role in our growth as well by spreading the brand through word of mouth to their sororities, friends and family and sharing on their personal social media platforms. We also participate in various accessories trade shows throughout the year that have helped us expand into retail stores.
We saw that you give back to organizations, can you tell us about that?
We give back to various organizations by donating a percentage of jewelry sales from both trunk show fundraising events and collaborative limited edition bracelet collections. We have our Brand Ambassadors pick a cause to give back to that they are personally passionate for. We’ve worked with a wide variety of organizations from the Make a Wish Foundation to Social Tees Animal Rescue.
One of our Brand Ambassadors, Nicole recently co-designed a bliss bracelet with us to benefit the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation and hosted a trunk show at their annual walk in Philadelphia. Her Aunt is an ovarian cancer survivor so this organization is very close to Nicole’s heart. It was so rewarding to be able to support her and provide a way for her to fundraise and raise awareness.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a young woman who wants to start her own company?
Because I can’t just list one 🙂
- Feeling lost can be the biggest blessing in disguise. If you don’t know what you want to pursue yet, its okay! Take time to figure out who you are and what you want. This will give you clarity and confidence towards your vision and goals.
- Get involved in as many unique experiences as possible – sometimes inspiration will strike while your traveling, volunteering, or meeting someone new.
- Just start! You will never ever feel totally ready, but remember that everything has to start You will figure it out as you go along, and keep getting better and better.
Go after those ideas you have, find mentors, and believe in yourself. Magic happens when you follow your bliss 🙂