Origami Owl: How A Teen's 'Dream' Became A $250 Million Powerhouse Jewelry Site

Isabella Weems is the teenager behind Origami Owl, a red-hot website that has created a community of tens of thousands of people around the simple concept of selling jewelry.

Bella, as she prefers to be known, founded the site in 2010 when she was only 14 years old, and was searching for a way to earn enough money to purchase a car for her 16th birthday.

She ended up realizing that dream, buying a white jeep she calls "Alice," according to the charming first-person description of Origami Owl that Weems, now 17, posted on the site, but she never realized that her bright idea would "be the inspiration behind a successful jewelry company."

Yet that's exactly what's happened for the Arizona girl in the short time since Origami Owl's launch, and now Forbes reports that the company expects to bring in a cool $250 million in revenue this year alone.

It's a classic story of the American dream, and further proof that all one needs is an Internet connection, a good idea and a lot of perseverance in order to succeed in today's democratized, Web-based entrepreneurship paradigm. 

"I have always believed that you can do anything you set your mind to," Weems says on the Origami Owl website. "With a focus in sight, I spent hours hosting jewelry parties instead of hanging out with friends. I wasn't going to let anything keep me from making my dream a reality."

The website is at its base a vast community of thousands of "jewelry designers" who host these so-called "jewelry parties" -- dubbed "Jewelry Bars" by Origami Owl -- at their homes, where they sell discounted jewelry via socially driven direct-sales methods.

Not only is Origami Owl yet another wildly successful example of the vast, untapped opportunities available online, it is also aimed, Weems writes, at being "a force for good; to love inspire [and] motivate women of all ages to reach their dreams [and] empower them to make a difference in the lives of others." 

And the business is inspiring tens of thousands people to engage in a productive, creative pursuit that is helping them to make connections while making a buck or two for themselves and for Origami Owl.

“The locket’s been around for a long time and I thought, ‘well, what if you could make a locket with charms?’” Weems told Forbes. “We started selling our product at house parties and boutiques and selling at any jewelry show we could. The product started selling itself.”

From a twinkle in a teenage girl's eye to a business with millions of dollars in revenue, the story of Origami Owl is one that is inspiring a generation of entrepreneurs to aim high.

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