“I can remember when the term ‘Made in America’ was synonymous with quality, innovation, high style, and an overall commitment to excellence,” said Giovanni Feroce, CEO of Alex and Ani. Remaining dedicated to these high standards, Giovanni is reinvigorating American manufacturing through his leadership of the Rhode Island-based jewelry business.
Giovanni, a retired Army officer, first met Designer Carolyn Rafaelian at an impromptu University of Rhode Island reunion in 2009. After a succession of meetings, Giovanni decided to leave his optical industry career in order to run Alex and Ani. “At that time I saw a small business with product lines as alluring as any I’d ever encountered,” explained Giovanni. “It didn’t take me long to realize that, in Alex and Ani, and more importantly, Carolyn Rafaelian, I had found the challenge and opportunity of a lifetime.”
Alex and Ani offers an alluring line of positive energy infused products to include patented signature expandable bangles, earrings, and necklaces, all designed by Carolyn and her talented team. What truly sets the company apart, however, is its products qualities - they must be infused with positive energy, eco-friendly and must be Made in America. For example, each piece of jewelry is created using recycled materials – Alex and Ani purchases all of its metals from local mills, who receive recycled scraps from refineries. The company then transforms the scrap metal into an environmentally-friendly final product that encourages social consciousness among consumers, while supporting local manufacturers.
Additional efforts by Giovanni to promote financial growth and efficiency include the expansion to international markets through overseas retail, and the adoption of vertically integrated supply chains. Under his innovative leadership, Alex and Ani has made a significant impact on the local economy, bringing renewed optimism to Rhode Island manufacturers. “In the last year alone we made 72 new hires,” recalls Giovanni, “and the numbers for the next year promise to shatter that record.”
These achievements are the hallmarks of entrepreneurial leadership, the kind bringing jobs back to an industry that Rhode Island was once renowned for. Reflecting on Alex and Ani’s success, Giovanni remarks, “Once again Americans can take pride in what they manufacture. Once again people around the world can take pride in buying and owning American-made products.”
Ari Matusiak is Executive Director of the White House Business Council