Jordyn DiOrio was in the mood to break something. More specifically, she wanted to smash apart some old costume jewelry. It wasn’t that she had anything against the baubles—she’d always loved jewelry and accessories. She started wearing a wristwatch at age 4, before she could even tell time. But she was missing her grandmother who passed away a few years earlier and who also loved jewelry. The loss had been difficult for Jordyn but transforming vintage jewelry into something that captured the timeless essence of her grandma made her feel close to her, and it was cathartic. So she kept deconstructing the vintage pieces and creating unique jewelry designs. She even began selling them on Etsy.
Although the process was therapeutic, Jordyn didn’t see making jewelry as anything other than a hobby. She’d earned a degree in strategic communications and settled into a project manager role at a digital marketing agency in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her long-term goal was to own a business someday, but she wasn’t sure what exactly it would be. Then, as she rang in 2017, she experienced a major shift. The pull of entrepreneurship had gotten stronger. She knew she didn’t want to be a project manager forever. “Why not make jewelry my business?” she thought.
Jordyn started by refining her jewelry designs and considered the materials she was using. She especially enjoyed working with precious gemstones and believed each held a specific kind of energy. She began to envision a line of necklaces that were classic, beautiful and simple, made from stones known to promote positive and healing energy. Jewelry had been a source of positive energy for Jordyn, and now her designs could do the same for others. At the same time, she enlisted the help of her sister Julie—a color consultant with design expertise—on her branding. Like her jewelry designs, she wanted her brand to convey simple beauty.
Just four weeks into the new year, Jordyn launched MEND Jewelry. She created a business plan, formed an LLC, opened a business banking account, launched a website and began selling her new creations online and at special events and pop-up shops. There was a significant change in the way she talked about designing jewelry. It was no longer a hobby; it was a legitimate business. Though she loved the agency where she worked, she knew she would eventually leave her project manager job to run her business fulltime. In fact, she’d written herself a check from her business account (which had $40 in it) for $100,000 and looked at it every week for inspiration. She also visualized herself making a big announcement in the agency’s Monday morning stand-up meeting.
Jordyn told everyone she encountered about her business. She sold her pieces to family, friends and coworkers. Her design aesthetic was well received, and her word-of-mouth marketing was working. A coworker who’d purchased a necklace for his wife told Jordyn about a friend of theirs who admired the piece and wanted to meet her. That friend was Katherine Forrester Schneewind, owner of Forrester Wealth Management, who was inspired by Jordyn’s story and spirit, and whose long-term goal was to invest in a fledgling female entrepreneur. After meeting with Jordyn and learning more about her plans, Katherine and her husband decided to invest in MEND. “We had a goal to help one young woman’s dream come true and we asked the universe to bring that opportunity to us,” Katherine said. “The universe brought us Jordyn!”
A few weeks later, Jordyn was delivering the news of her departure to her agency coworkers at the weekly stand-up meeting. It felt like a dream. And while partnering with investors was completely unexpected at such an early stage of her business, it allowed Jordyn to fully immerse herself in MEND. “I no longer had a ceiling,” she said. “MEND could become whatever I envisioned.”
Now in her second year of business, Jordyn couldn’t be happier she took the leap. She’s achieved some significant milestones for MEND, including selling her products online at Nordstrom.com, launching a temporary store at the Mall of America with plans to do it again in another location, and winning three awards—Twin Cities Startup, Rising Young Professionals and New York Now’s Best New Product. She’s also a regular contributor to “The Hustle” in Twin Cities Business Magazine. Jordyn believes her greater purpose is to help women feel empowered the way Katherine and others have done for her. Whether it’s manifesting the positive energy of the stones in her jewelry designs or pursuing a longtime goal to launch a business, she wants to inspire others to let go of their fears and follow their passion.
Photo: MEND Jewelry
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