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Ousted Founder of Alex and Ani Plans New Jewelry Company

She says it will launch by the end of the year.

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Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani, says she’s planning a new jewelry company.

Marker, a new publication from Medium, tells the story of the “rise and fall” of Alex and Ani, including the ouster of Rafaelian in May, in a story published July 8.

She says she’ll launch her new firm by the end of the year. She’s chosen a name but isn’t revealing it yet.

“Already something is manifesting in front of my eyes,” she tells Marker. “That’s where I’m putting all of my love, energy, and resources.”

The article chronicles how Alex and Ani, which Rafaelian built for 15 years, began to “unravel” in 2018. Author Aaron Gell explains that:

  • High-ranking executives came and went, “often in less than a year.”
  • There was talk of “interoffice romances and wild parties.”
  • Some former insiders were uncomfortable with Rafaelian’s affinity for using New Age spiritual practices to guide business decisions.
  • Various lawsuits alleged issues such as “a hostile work environment, religious and gender discrimination, and anti-military bias” within the company.

Lion Capital took a controlling stake in Alex and Ani last year and Rafaelian was eventually pushed out as leader of the company. She retains a significant minority stake.

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Rafaelian declined to comment on specific assertions in the article. She believes the company was not properly supported by equity partners and was not treated fairly by Bank of America.

The company has closed some of its stores and, like other retailers, struggled through the pandemic. It has laid off or furloughed much of its staff and lost a large portion of its revenue, according to Marker.

Lyndon Lea of Lion Capital believes the business can make a comeback if it can implement “some simple things, proven processes that have been used widely.”

Read more at Marker

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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