Ladies, we here at Team Yee definitely know the value of a good pair of heels to top off any ensemble but right accessories also play a major part in pulling together the perfect look. Personalized jewelry making has made comeback thanks to the designer and creator of “Beads Byaree,” Areeayl Goodwin.
Areeayl’s jewelry are full of whimsical and enchanting patterns that will surely have everyone’s attention when you walk into a room. Goodwin’s originally from Philadelphia with customers that stretch from the U.S., Israel and London and to top it off, she’s only a senior at Howard University, expecting to graduate this May.
Also Areeayl’s designs have been featured in the Broadway play “Stick Fly” but if you ask her, she’s only taking it a day at a time; “I’m smiling as I think of the future. I’m very inspired, however, I’m going to take it slow and continue to enjoy my last semester at Howard first.”
We decided to learn more about the budding designer so check out our Q&A below.
TeamYee: What got your started in making earrings?
Areeayl: In the beginning, it was very spontaneous, when I was sixteen my mother and I went to a craft store and I asked her about a pack of earring hooks. I turned and asked her why were earring hooks being sold together, she responded and said ‘So people can make earrings.’ That day I brought some supplies and made my first pair that night and made my name in cursive “Areeayl.” When I wore it to school the next day everyone loved it and I started creating for my friends.
TeamYee: What was the first struggle in starting your business?
Areeayl: Honestly, the hardest part about my business comes from creating the jewelry. When it came to creating the business that happened on a whim. At one point, I focused more on my acting and took a four-year break from making earrings. In my junior year at Howard University, I started to make jewelry again after I noticed that I still had a bag full of materials leftover. So, I’m in my room and blasting music and I got inspired and before I knew it, I created a line of about twelve earrings and shot pictures with my friends modeling them around campus. As people began to see my friends with them they started to contact me and the demand for my business grew around campus.
Looking at it now, I never thought of myself as a businesswoman, so being glued to answering emails and calls was an experience to get used to.
TeamYee: How did you land the gig of designing for Alicia Keys’ play “Stick Fly?” Were you ever on set?
Areeayl: I had the privilege to being a student of the costume designer of the show, Reggie Ray. My friend Nijeul suggested that I ask him if he needed any jewelry for the characters and I did.
Professor Ray isn’t an easy teacher to get by, he’s always challenging his students and I was a little nervous to ask. When I did ask, I was surprised that he freely allowed me to work with him on his Broadway Debut designing jewelry for the characters. This was able to happen because he watched “Beads Byaree” flourish in sales internationally.
As for visiting the set, I went to see a preview of the show and was introduced to the cast, to the writer Lydia R Diamond and Director Kenny Leon, as well as some of the costume crew. It was surreal, being a part of a Broadway production. I always had dreams of Broadway as an actress, but I never imagined by the age of 21 I’d be designing for a Broadway show, and such an amazing Broadway show at that.
TeamYee: Tell us a little about your benefit line and your inspiration to create it?
Areeayl: I started a benefit line “Love for the Congo” under my main collection “Beads Byaree” and 100% of the proceeds from this line go to women victims of rape and war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (through womenforwomen.org).
I was inspired, after I read the play “RUINED” by Lynn Nottage, to spread knowledge of the events going on in the Congo. I was so hurt for the women there, but I was upset that I had no idea what was going on and that the majority of people probably didn’t know either.
I felt that if they were suffering everyday the least we could do is pay attention and have knowledge of the issue.
One night I had made an earring that read “Love” and it clicked, I could sell these for the women of the Congo. I ran to my sister’s dorm and had an immediate earring shoot on my iPhone, that’s how it began.
TeamYee: Lastly, what are your plans once you graduate Howard University, which is quickly approaching?!
Areeayl: After I graduate, I can’t wait to focus 100% on building my business. It’s only been a little over a year and an exciting ride to see how my business has grown while being a full-time student.
I’m excited to continue building my team, the Twitter and Facebook page, and jump into the fashion world with both feet, collaborating with more of my favorite stylists and boutiques. I’m also looking forward to launching a clothing line “Aree” attached to “Beads Byaree” brand. Look out for me world!
Check out Areeayl’s website www.BeadsByaree.com
Areeayl’s more than ready to take on the world of design and now you too have a chance to win a pair of her earrings to wear and make the right heads turn. To enter you must complete the following: 2. Comment this article and say “I love TeamYee and my Chance to Win “Beads Byaree” 3. Tweet this article and add “Hey, @TeamYee is giving away a pair of custom designed jewelry” Entries will end April 1st and a winner will be randomly selected for a chance to win a pair of “Beads Byaree”