What started out as a hobby for a stay-at-home mom has turned into a blossoming business empowering mothers across the country.
Jennifer Bonacorsi was a special education teacher, before deciding to stay home to raise her children. As a mom of four young girls, Jennifer was interested in finding a hobby while Maci, Claire, Mia and Claudia napped during the day. Her husband Bret Bonacorsi worked in the corporate world and traveled frequently, so Jennifer was looking for a creative outlet.
“I had a friend teach me how to make a bracelet and then I taught myself how to make earrings, necklaces, pendants, watches, and rings by taking apart jewelry and remaking them,” said Jennifer. “As I would make my jewelry and wear it, ladies were wanting to buy it off of me.”
Every time she took her girls to dance class, preschool or the park, Jennifer was getting attention from her handmade jewelry. It continued to gain popularity and her hobby grew into something beyond a way to spend her free time.
“My businessman husband was watching this happen,” said Jennifer, who had no previous experience making jewelry. “He said you should do home parties and let people design their own jewelry.”
Jennifer took the leap and started her first company U Design Jewelry in 2004. Launching the business from her basement, Jennifer took her jewelry design to the next level hosting home parties and helping shoppers design and make their own jewelry. She then expanded to teach sales reps—which she calls ‘designers’—how to create the jewelry and have home parties of their own to earn some extra income.
After a year of running the business from her home, Jennifer outgrew her space and moved into the Economic Development Center business incubator in St. Charles County where the company spent eight years. Her husband Bret, who has a corporate background in national sales, joined Jennifer in the business endeavor.
“That company was approximately 10 years old when the economy changed and beaded jewelry was not the trend any longer and the reps were not wanting to make the jewelry,” said Jennifer. “Towards the end of U Design we added personalized pieces to our line and that really took off.”
But Jennifer said she could see a definite shift that needed to happen—and that was to provide a kit that the jewelry would already come made to the customer so the design reps would no longer have to make the jewelry.
“We had ladies that wanted to wear and sell our jewelry but when I would say, Great, I will schedule a time to train you on how to make it…they were no longer interested,” said Jennifer.
In July 2013, jBloom was launched. All of the jewelry—from earrings and bracelets to necklaces and charms—is still designed by Jennifer. But jBloom designers do not have to make the pieces—only sell and wear it. Designers can get started selling jBloom by purchasing a kit for $99 or $199.
“Our focus is on helping other women grow and succeed,” said Jennifer. “The definition of Bloom is ‘the greatest period of productivity and prosperity cultivated for its beauty’. jBloom’s unique personalized jewelry is the tool that we get to use to help women who may need a social outlet, extra income for their family, or they may want to take full advantage of our leadership program and go to the top of our commission structure.”
Jennifer said there is something for everyone at jBloom.
“The secret to jBloom’s success is sharing my faith and not hiding it. From day one, I knew that would be my #1 priority. And the coolest part…because of that, jBloom has attracted the neatest tribe of women who are the biggest cheerleaders for each other,” said Jennifer.
jBloom continued to grow, nd moved out of the Economic Development Center in October 2016 and into its current location at 2103 Parkway Drive in St. Peters.
“We went from a 2,000 square foot office space to 12,000 square feet,” said Jennifer. “And we are growing rapidly, which is very exciting.”
The new space allows designers to check out all of the latest jewelry in person which is on display at the entrance of the shop. Currently, jBloom has approximately 30 employees and over 1,500 designers in almost all of the states across the country. jBloom is adding 120 new designers from across the country each month.
“We are on track to double this year,” said Jennifer. “The plans for the future is, of course, to keep this momentum going, and stay on top of current jewelry trends.”
One of the unique and always popular features of jBloom jewelry is personalization.
“We can put any saying, quote, child’s name, dates, scripture on a piece of jewelry as long as it fits within the guidelines we provide,” said Jennifer. “We also have a very versatile line of jewelry… our charms come with a spring ring attached so that you can move your charms from your necklace to another necklace or bracelet. You can create many different looks just by moving your charms and personalized coins from piece to piece.”
jBloom recently launched the 2017-2018 Catalog and Jennifer has many favorites, from the soft leather wrist cuffs and the tiny memory bottle charms to the fun tassels that remain on trend. But keeping her children’s names close to her heart is one of her most beloved characteristics of the jBloom jewelry.
“What I will always love most about jBloom is being able to put my girls names on my jewelry along with my favorite scripture, Philippians 4:13, I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me,” said Jennifer.
jBloom continues to blossom, offering women across the country an opportunity to earn extra income or provide a social outlet to grow.
“One of my favorite quotes, “a flower doesn’t compete to the flower next to it, it just BLOOMS,’” said Jennifer. “ That is what we do at jBloom.”