STYLE TAB: Tell me a little bit about eff.Y.bee.
ALYSSA KUCHTA: Eff.Y.Bee, which is a unique acronym for the quote “follow your bliss,” is a handmade line of jewelry I launched in August 2011. My first collections were made using a lot of materials I had from personal collections or from traveling over the years, making each necklace one of a kind. Each collection has been different, staying on trend with the seasons. Launched at the same time was my charity line named Bay Lavi, Haitian Creole for “give life.” The charity line of jewelry consists of hand sewn fabric wrap bracelets that can be worn multiple ways and come in a variety of patterns, colors and lengths. I was inspired to start the charity line as a fundraising project through my involvement with Students for Haiti. I initially was only selling to my friends and family via my online store. I now have an exclusive line carried in two retail locations and also hold various trunk shows and partake in collaborative events throughout the year.
ST: How did you come up with the name, eff.Y.bee?
AK: During the brainstorming process of coming up with a unique name for the line, my best friend Nelly suggested I name it eff.Y.bee for “follow your bliss” a quote that has really been our go-to for whenever we’ve given each other advice. The name really grew on me and I fell in love with the idea of others having to decode the secret meaning behind the acronym. It also explains my philosophy in starting the line and the message I want to get across to others. Eff.Y.bee is about more than just jewelry, it’s the concept that you should always follow what you love and pursue your passions in life.
ST: How did eff.Y.bee come to fruition?
AK: I started eff.Y.bee jewelry on a whim. I beta creating jewelry on my bedroom floor over the summer using all types of odds and ends. After seeing positive feedback from photos of the jewelry I posted on Facebook, I decided to just go with it and launch an online store. Since I didn’t have a business background, I relied on the advice of a few friends who helped me in that area and a lot of online research. I learned along the way how to budget, stay organized with expenses and orders and how to create and manage a website. I had weekly orders pouring in all summer and once I got back to campus, the jewelry tables at events and sold a lot of charity bracelets through both Students for Haiti and Greek life.
ST: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
AK: I find inspiration from everywhere and from everything. I frequent vintage warehouses and antique stores, religiously read a ton of magazines, follow fashion blogs and am always perceptive of styles and trends. It could be anything from an amazing eye shadow color palette I saw in Sephora, to a pattern on a random curtain I liked in a coffee shop to inspire me.
ST: What’s your favorite part about having your own line?
AK: Absolutely everything. I love that I’m able to channel my creativity and vision into wearable art. I love designing and creating jewelry, styling and creating photo shoots, hosting trunk shows and, most of all, being able to help raise money and awareness through my charity line for an amazing cause. It’s been an incredible journey watching eff.Y.bee blossom and become something bigger than I could have ever imagined.
ST: What are your future plans for eff.Y.bee?
AK: I will be pursuing eff.Y.bee full time in my post-grad career thanks to a University of Delaware alumni whom I was blessed to connect with through UD’s Venture Development Center. After pitching my business ideas to him during a student business/alumni meeting, he took a great interest in my jewelry line. Since our meeting at the Venture Center, we’ve had weekly business meetings via Skype as well as a meeting at his office in Manhattan. His investment and partnership will provide the funding and resources necessary to help eff.Y.bee grow into a sustainable business, as well as an office space to work from. We will also be hiring a few interns and freelancers for the summer. I can’t express my gratitude and excitement for this opportunity through words. I graduated with my dream job and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring!
If you live or will be around the NYC area this summer and are interested in applying for an internship position with eff.Y.bee send your resume & cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org!