From a career as a top model to designing jewelry, Arizona based Bellarri Adleman is always ready to make a statement, be it with her highly sought after personal appearances or the stunning jewelry she creates. Working alongside her husband and now with her son and daughter onboard, it’s a family affair in the desert. Recently Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Douglas Gollan caught up with the matriarch during Luxury by JCK, a major jewelry show in Las Vegas, where she talked about what it takes to be at the top of one’s profession and how Bellarri jewelry has become such a hot item.
Elite Traveler: Tell us how you got started?
Bellarri: The company is approximately 34 years old, and we got started really in loose stones and gradually evolved to finished pieces. Went on to win a lot of awards. Our pieces are very bold. There is a tremendous amount of integrity to our pieces. We are the force in design and probably product technology. We try and bring the design level to a different standard.
ET: What do you mean by different standard?
Bellarri: We push to the envelope to create the masterpieces of design not seen or done before because I create a world beyond jewelry. Each BELLARRI collector enters a world of fashion and timeless elegance. It’s a world inspired by luxury and romance.
ET: Who is the woman who’s attracted to Bellarri and what is she like?
Bellarri: My customer is an independent thinking self-purchaser who understands we design for her lifestyle. She’s not necessarily waiting for anyone to buy for her.
ET: What would be the price points for your core price range?
Bellarri: My core will be anywhere from $2,000 up. That’s on the 18 carat gold. We have a silver line as well, but the 18 carat gold is the core of Bellarri.
ET: And then do you sell just in the United States, or do you sell internationally?
Bellarri: We sell all over. Right here, during the show, we opened in the Czech Republic. We sell in France. We sell a lot in Canada. We even sell in Mauritius.
ET: You said you started in loose stones. Was that a family business?
Bellarri: No. It was through some relatives, but not a family business. It was a way of getting into the business, and I thought that was what I wanted to do, sell loose stones. But they actually said to me, “Bring us finished pieces.”
ET: What were you doing before you were in the jewelry business?
Bellarri: I was a model and was involved in the fashion business. I was very young. I was in Toronto and then Dallas.
ET: And did you know you had the talent for designing?
Bellarri: I thought I did, and we did a lot of private label work. I did an awful lot of private label work that I don’t want you to mention here. My biggest account was a major group of high-end department stores. Then we started Bellarri, and it is about 20 years old as a brand.
ET: Looking ahead towards the next five to ten years, what are your goals?
Bellarri: My goals are working on branding more and more. I think that branding gives you so much credibility. People understand branding. You don’t have to say Coke is a drink; you don’t have to say Perrier is a drink. Branding is going to be the key. Those of us here (at the Las Vegas Jewelry shows) that have got brand recognition are on the right path. We’re really on the right path. I think that doing boutiques and small boutiques is also the way to go and I think, as the economy allows it, more of us should go and do that.
ET: Do you have any plans to open your own mono-brand boutique?
Bellarri: We would like to. We’re talking about it. There’s an investment group that’s interested.
ET: Would that be in Arizona, to start?
Bellarri: No, actually it’s not. We’re talking about somewhere altogether different however it’s too early to speak about it.
Bellarri: And then you see a lot of jewelry brands have now gotten into watches. Any plans?
A: No, no watches. You know, I’ve tried. When we were on the cruise ships I thought we would do watches and handbags and everything. I only know jewelry; that’s what I know best. I just want to stick to what I know best. I think we’re the best in the industry when it comes to gemstones and designs. I want to stay with that.
ET: And when you’re not busy with the business, any hobbies or passions?
Bellarri: I work 24/7. I wake up in the morning thinking how I can make it better and I go to sleep thinking how I can make it better.
ET: You probably travel a lot?
Bellarri: A lot. A lot of personal appearances, a lot of red carpet events.
ET: Any favorite hotels when you’re traveling that you like to stay in?
Bellarri: We love the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. We’ve enjoy them all.
ET: With the entire family in the business, and tips for making a family affair successful?
Bellarri: You have to listen to one another. You have to be respectful of one another. And I think you’ve got to work together to pull out everybody’s strength and make sure that you put each person where their strength is.
ET: Anything else that you’d want to add or say?
Bellarri: The best is yet to come!