How many pieces of jewelry do you own? If you’re like me, the number is probably in the hundreds. I just can’t resist any new trends, or craft markets with handmade, gorgeous pieces. The great thing (or bad thing?) is there is never a reason to get rid of jewelry, you just never know when you might need it for an outfit. Fortuntista reached out to me to share the story behind their necklaces, and no surprise, I added a few to my collection. The great thing about Fortunista, is its local and it also supports a great cause. A large percentage of their proceeds go back into specific tools and equipment for the children. They work with organizations like G.R.I.T to help embrace and encourage the early childhood development.
I recently sat down and chatted with founder and owner, Jennifer Ruparell to get to know the brand more and hear about what’s next for the necklace brand. When she isn’t working on Fortunista, Jennifer is repping beauty products in various beauty boutiques, helping women find their perfect look. She and her husband have a beautiful seven-year-old daughter, who keeps Jen on her toes. If you’re looking for a quick list of facts that really tell you who Jennifer is, here you go: She’s not a Monday person (who is really?); she spends all her free time with her friends and family; she loves philanthropy and volunteering, especially with organizations that involve children; she recently became a vegan, and she’ll always say yes to a good workout.
Becoming involved in the jewelry industry was inevitable for Jen, her parents have been in it forever. “Jewelry is so personal and sentimental. It evokes emotion and can make you feel so polished.” The name Fortunista is inspired by fortune cookies, “it’s It’s like opening up a fortune cookie and being excited for what the message is going to say. It is like your own lucky charm that has so much more to it.” The necklaces have a cute like gold or silver fortune cookies on the chain as well as the metal bar with a hand stamped word.
Fortunista bloomed out of the passion and inspiration from attending the G.R.I.T Gala three years ago. Getting Ready for Inclusion Today (G.R.I.T.) Society provides individualized education and therapy for children with disabilities. “My girlfriend’s daughter was a part of GRIT at the time, and I was so touched by the artwork that was being auctioned off that evening. I knew I had to get involved on a more day to day basis.” Jen pitched the idea to GRIT, showing them a prototype of the necklace that the kids could help make. It was something where the kids could showcase their talent and be proud of on a regular basis.
Starting her own business has been rewarding in the sense that Jen gets to meet incredible humans, create her own opportunities, and think on her feet. It’s a challenging experience but in a good way. The hardest part has been putting herself out there. Surrounding herself with a solid support system has been key to making Fortunista a reality. “As an introvert, I have learned to be more confident with myself. I can come up with all these amazing ideas, but if I don’t execute, it’s just an idea.” The advice she would give to other boss babes: “Don’t give up and keep perusing. Honestly, the dream is free, and the hustle is sold separately.”
Running your own business is hard, and a lot of work but Jen has her kids (and coffee) to keep her motivated. Right now, she is working on new product development and collaborations, as well as expanding their retail presence; “So keep your eyes out for more good fortune coming your way.”
Photos by Deanna Antony