Shark Tank winners launch pop-up jewelry store in Hunterdon for holiday season


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Millions have seen them on television. Now they can meet them in person.

After appearing on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013 to successfully showcase their jewelry business, the sisters, retired soldiers and East Amwell natives Ashley Dellavalle Jung and Paige Dellavalle Walker opened their first Stella valle pop-up retail store at 79 Main Street in Flemington.

The store launched on November 8 and will remain open throughout the holiday season, Jung and Walker said.

Stella Valle CEOs: Paige Dellavalle Walker (left) and Ashley Dellavalle Jung (right) at the pop-up store launch party on November 8.Courtesy

“We just felt like Flemington needed a little excitement for the holidays, and we thought bringing a store to Main Street would be really fun,” said Walker, who currently lives in Stockton Borough. “We wanted to give back to the community and (provide) a different and exciting place for women to shop while on vacation.”

By showcasing their business on “Shark Tank” six years ago, the sisters struck a deal with sharks Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban, whereby they earned $ 150,000 in cash in exchange for a 35% share of the business.

Reflecting on their execution of a contract with some of the nation’s biggest names, Walker said Stella Valle has always aimed to “inspire women and young girls to pursue what they want in life,” a a goal that also reflects his sharing and that of Jung. experience as soldiers turned jewelry entrepreneurs.

It’s a message that has remained intact for the past six years – despite the fact that their jewelry has “evolved considerably,” according to Jung.

“The product we had on ‘Shark Tank’ isn’t even close to the product we have now,” said Jung, who currently lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

While in 2013 Stella Valle consisted only of leather charm bracelets, the company currently offers necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings in gold, silver and brass with charms like birthstones and initials.

Rather than screwed into fabric, however, the charms are located at the ends of each piece of jewelry and bear a distinctive shape – a heart, hexagon, or smiley face, for example – which Jung says is “worn throughout the entire room. .

Opening of a pop-up store Stella Valle in Flemington

Stella Valle Charm BraceletsCaroline Fassett | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Much of the jewelry can be personalized or otherwise engraved with inspirational quotes, which connects the product to the sisters’ aspiration to motivate women around the world to pursue their dreams.

“All of our products are really a reminder of what got you where you are, and how can you move forward and achieve those goals,” Walker said.

Jung added that this “more traditional” style of charm jewelry has been so successful that she and Walker have decided to “take everything else out.”

“Our customers really love it, and it’s a cleaner version of charming jewelry,” Jung said. “It’s something we’ve designed and imagined, and it’s unlike anything else on the market. “

Although they expressed their confidence in the product they designed together, the sisters’ idea of ​​starting their jewelry business arose out of Walker’s disappointment with a piece of jewelry that Jung gave him several years ago.

“I got Paige a bracelet for her graduation from West Point, and it was a charm bracelet from a very well-known charm company. And that just didn’t really resonate with Paige, because she had it. “It felt like it was for an older woman, not a young girl out of college. So we wanted to create this cooler new charm,” Jung explained.

When Walker graduated from West Point in 2009, Jung, also a West Point graduate, was completing the five years of active service for which she pledged to graduate. Due to a shoulder injury, Walker was unable to deploy to a combat zone and instead decided to chase the passion for personalized jewelry and charm that was shared by his sister.

“It was definitely a big learning curve, coming from the military and having no design experience or understanding of manufacturing,” Walker said. “It was really tough … because we were selling to retailers and they didn’t want to wear all these little pieces.”

After appearing on “Shark Tank,” Walker said enthusiasm for the brand had exploded, but she and Jung were too quick to start selling their product to big retailers where their jewelry got lost among the hottest brands. known.

“When your brand is really well known and can sit on a shelf and… sell itself, (these retailers) are the right fit. But until then, it’s your independent retailer who’s going to share your story, and who’s going to tell their customers about your brand and really help grow it, ”explained Walker. “Things like that we didn’t know because we were so new to business when we went on the show, that we grabbed those opportunities and had to learn the hard way and go back.”

“In the military you are taught to think a certain way, you are trained to do things a certain way. And then as an entrepreneur it’s just the opposite: you are on your own to determine the next step and the next step, and I think what I learned as an entrepreneur … it’s that you really have to know what you want at the end of the tunnel and build your plan, ”Walker added.

“For us, it was a lesson learned,” Jung repeated. “You have to have a clear vision and then stick to it and not stray.”

Despite the challenges they’ve faced over the past six years, Jung and Walker said their company’s revenue has doubled every year.

Because about 85% of their profit margin comes from online sales, the sisters said that early next year, they will update and grow their website to reach a wider consumer base.

“Much of our business is located on our site, so that’s our main focus. The website is so important to having a successful direct-to-consumer brand, ”Jung said.

The remaining 15% is earned by selling their products to retail stores, about 100 of which currently sell Stella Valle jewelry, according to the sisters.

“We always want more (business partners). We’re actually serial entrepreneurs, ”Walker said.

Additionally, as Cuban and Greiner ended their involvement with the company in January, Jung and Walker are currently working to grow their business by bringing in one or more new investors “with significant capital”.

“This is the next big step for us: finding someone to really invest in the brand, in the company. To take it to the next level, ”Walker said. “Now the decisions we make are much bigger and cost more. In order to continue to evolve and grow at the rate that we want, we really need additional capital to inject into the business to make it much bigger. “

Walker and Jung both said that, depending on the success of their store, they could potentially continue to grow their business by selling their product directly to consumers.

Opening of a pop-up store Stella Valle in Flemington

Stella Valle CEO: Paige Dellavalle Walker (left) and Ashley Dellavalle Jung (right) pose with their pooch, Stella.Caroline Fassett | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

“It’s really fun being able to meet our clients in person because we don’t really interact with them,” Walker said. excited to see something come up on Main Street. And I’ll feel bad when it closes. I don’t think they want us to go.

For store opening hours and upcoming events, visit their Facebook page.

Caroline Fassett can be contacted at [email protected].

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