It all started with a few hundred dollars and a kitchen table full of beads. What began as an idea conceived with my friend, Lori, quickly turned into something we acted on and it didn't take long for people around us to take notice of our designs.
After moving to Connecticut, the brand started building right before my eyes. Jewelry piece after Jewelry piece. Charity after charity. I was touching people all over the country with my designs and it was a whirlwind of growth and grace. The early years are where I learned the balance of motherhood and business. My family has always been my first priority but I knew I had something with the ElyseRyan brand.
the early years
I got the opportunity to design jewelry for my favorite soap opera star, Kassie DePavia, on the set of "One Life to Live." This led to incredible exposure, with my designs featured in Soap Opera Digest, Katie Couric showcasing them on the Today Show, and them being included in red carpet events and celebrity gift bags. The highlight was undoubtedly the unforgettable night aboard the Queen Mary 2nd, where Katie Couric hosted a fundraiser for the National Colorectal Cancer Alliance, and my jewelry played a part in making it an extraordinary event.
Charity Events, News Interviews , Accessories Council Nominations, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, QVC , launching at Couture and the list goes on!
The excitement was overwhelming. They wanted me? It seemed unbelievable. In our meeting, when ElyseRyan was set to launch, I made a special request. There was a remarkable local girl, Alex Scott, who had moved to their neighborhood in Westchester, Pennsylvania from Connecticut and was gaining national recognition for her Lemonade Stands while battling cancer. Annette, a mutual friend, asked me to design a necklace with Alex, one that would raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for children like her. This extraordinary girl changed the course of my journey!
Witnessing the impact of a single piece of jewelry was profound. While we all love jewelry, it was astonishing how one necklace could unite people, raise awareness, share stories, and generate over $1 million for pediatric research. With the support of QVC and my manufacturer, we not only raised these funds but also sparked a movement. It's mind-boggling that well over 100,000 pieces were sold. Absolutely incredible, isn't it?
Giving back had become an unwavering mission for the ElyseRyan brand. Once I saw the impact that a single necklace could do, I knew that I couldn't stop. “I saw firsthand Elise’s generosity of time, talent, and treasure,” Mary Ann Slomski, retired chief development officer of Easter Seals and retired executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) told us. “She mentored young adults with developmental disabilities at Easter Seals, teaching them to make jewelry and give back to charities other than their own — a unique and rewarding concept.”
I am over 20 years in business at this point and I have continued to partner with numerous charities and non-profit organizations to design jewelry that not only resonates with people but also helps raise funds for important causes. Some of the organizations I have collaborated with include Alex's Lemonade Stand, Juvenile Diabetes, Colon Cancer Alliance, Easter Seals, Connecticut Cancer Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer, American Heart Association, Voya Financial, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, GSD, Jewish Federation of North America, and many more.
The driving force behind my brand is a combination of my passion for art, vibrant colors, gemstones, and fostering connections. I take immense joy in creating pieces that hold meaning, spark conversations, and bring people together. The icing on the cake is when my designs make a tangible difference by raising money and increasing awareness for various causes.