Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani, says she is considering a new jewelry business.
Marker, a new publication from Medium, tells the story of Alex and Ani’s “rise and fall”, including Rafaelian’s ouster in May, in an article published on July 8.
She says she will be launching her new practice by the end of the year. She has chosen a name but does not reveal it yet.
“Something is already manifesting itself in front of my eyes,” she said to Marker. “This is where I put all my love, energy and resources. “
The article tells how Alex and Ani, who Rafaelian built for 15 years, began to “fall apart” in 2018. Author Aaron Gell explains that:
- Senior executives came and went, “often in less than a year.”
- There was talk of “romances between offices and wild parties”.
- Some former initiates were uncomfortable with Rafaelian’s affinity for using New Age spiritual practices to guide business decisions.
- Various lawsuits have alleged problems such as “a hostile work environment, religious and gender discrimination and anti-military prejudices” within the company.
Lion Capital took a controlling stake in Alex and Ani last year, and Rafaelian was ultimately kicked out of running the company. It retains a significant minority stake.
Rafaelian declined to comment on specific claims in the article. She believes the company has not been properly supported by financial partners and has not been treated fairly by Bank of America.
The company has closed some of its stores and, like other retailers, has battled the pandemic. It laid off or put on leave much of its staff and lost much of its income, according to Marker.
Lyndon Lea of Lion Capital believes the business can make a comeback if it can implement “simple things, proven processes that have been widely used.”
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