Localize It: Locally made jewelry offered through Molly & Bella

An original piece designed by Cleo Anderson for her business Molly & Bella, started in fall of 2016. Photo credit: Cleo Anderson

Aside from working towards her business degree at UAA, taking photos and practicing makeup, Cleo Anderson can be found in her apartment creating jewelry for her business, Molly & Bella.

Anderson learned to make jewelry when she was a child from her mom and went on to manage a local boutique and bead shop in Anchorage. With her background and experience with beading, jewelry and customer service skills, Anderson then decided to officially start up Molly & Bella last fall.

“Working at the bead store really helped me learn not only how to make jewelry, but how to sell it too. I’ve been making jewelry for a long time on my own, so it’s great to have an official business to show customers now,” Anderson said.

Anderson sells all types of jewelry, from necklaces and bracelets to crowns and headpieces. Much of her work incorporates rocks and gems which she buys from local bead stores in Anchorage. Once the materials are purchased, Anderson cuts the wire and begins her process of stringing the beads and creating the jewelry. Depending on what she is making, Anderson will spend anywhere from 5 to 10 hours on one piece until it is finished and ready to be sold.

“I always keep in mind what people in Alaska are actually going to wear on a daily basis when it comes to jewelry. Natural stones, versatile pieces that can be layered, things like that. Right now what I make looks clean and nature based, and it’s stuff that I really think anyone could incorporate into their style,” Anderson said.

All of Anderson’s jewelry can be purchased online, where she has pieces for sale. She also takes requests for custom orders. Anderson brings her business to local trunk shows and craft fairs to sell around Anchorage.

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“My favorite thing I’m making right now are the crowns. I’ve done some for weddings, events like that. These are pieces I like to make more unique and personal to the person that’s buying it, so I take my time making sure the crown fits their head perfectly. We figure out what stones they want their crown made of, the shape of it, etc. I love the idea that my jewelry can make someone feel good about themselves, and I think the crowns do that well,” Anderson said.

While Molly & Bella is not currently being sold anywhere in stores, Anderson hopes to begin selling her pieces in local shops soon and grow her business through social media outreach.