clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Founder of Alex & Ani Is One of America’s Richest Self-Made Women

Photos: @alexandani

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Forbes released its second annual list devoted to ranking America's richest self-made women, and many of the women on it represent the biggest fashion and beauty brands. To be considered for the Forbes list, these entrepreneurs had to possess a minimum net worth of $250 million. So a few mega companies — and their familiar founders — are present: Tory Burch made it on the list again this year, as did Vera Wang, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Gap co-founder Doris Fisher, and Spanx founder Sara Blakely.

But the biggest beauty and fashion brands aren't always the ones you think. Also on the list is Carolyn Rafaelian. Not familiar? She's the founder of booming bangle brand Alex and Ani, and she's worth a cool $700 million. That astounding figure is proof that you aren't imagining it — there does seem to be an Alex and Ani store in nearly every shopping center.

The company, known for its thin, charm-laden bangles, has exploded in just a few years, now boasting over 1,000 employees and 46 stores, according to the Boston Globe. It may not be Cartier or Tiffany, but it's gotten massive.

"[Alex and Ani] are a company that the consumer found first and once they became a mega brand, they didn't need the fashion world to get big," Jaqui Lividini, a fashion brand expert at Lividini & Co., told Racked previously. "They aren't in the fashion jewelry arena because they don't belong there."

They're not the only brand that's grown like crazy right under our noses. You know how everyone in your Facebook feed is selling Rodan + Fields? It must be working, because the founders of that direct sales skincare brand, Kathy Field and Katie Rodan, are each worth $550 million.

In an example of a more under-the-radar brand that makes bank, the woman who invented Vera Bradley's quilted floral bags, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, is worth over $270 million.

#girlbossmoment

A photo posted by Sophia Amoruso (@sophiaamoruso) on

Meanwhile, the Forbes list also includes women whose brands are extremely well-known, thanks in part to frequent controversies. Nasty Gal and Honest Company also made the list. Honest Company founder Jessica Alba's net worth is currently $340 million, while Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso is worth $280 million.

Amoruso Instagrammed her Forbes cover with the only caption it could possibly have: "#girlbossmoment."