Bianca Alicea Insists on “Made in America”

Yng Ent.Alicea

Chubby Chico Charms was founded in 2005 with $500; a simple, homemade website; a living room full of products; and, most importantly, the vision of Bianca Alicea. Today, Chubby Chico Charms owns a 5,000-square-foot operations facility in North Providence with more than 8,000 exclusive designs and $675,000 in annual sales.

Chubby Chico Charms has evolved from a local manufacturer of simple charms to a full-line, finished jewelry company with sales that span the globe. Bianca is proud to source her products from as close to home as possible. Her metal is from Rhode Island, and her packaging is from New York. In fact, every item that goes into her jewelry is from the United States. Bianca insists on it.

Like many small businesses, Bianca embarked on her dream alongside a trusted friend; in this case, her mother, Alana. Now, Chubby Chico Charms has grown to include 14 full-time employees, many of whom are also family members. “Three years ago we transitioned from selling only charms, much of them in bulk, to also selling finished jewelry—necklaces, bracelets, rosary beads, earrings, etc., and our sales have more than doubled in the past year alone,” states Bianca. “Of course, charms are still the company’s mainstay, but a diversified product line has greatly boosted the company’s bottom line,” Bianca continues.

While internet sales have been the primary business model for Chubby Chico Charms, the company has recently opened its first retail store in North Providence, with plans for a second location in the Warwick area. Bianca also has her sights set on securing several authorized Chubby Chico Charms retailers and starting a Chica’s Independent Consultant Program, where representatives can host parties to purvey products in a convivial, infectious environment.

Community involvement is a large part of the organization’s culture, as well. In 2013, Chubby Chico Charms launched a fundraising campaign that helps local schools, animal rescues, sports teams, and shelters raise funds for events they would otherwise be unable to coordinate. Additionally, Chubby Chico Charms offers an expandable bangle where 20% of the purchase price is donated to The Autism Project of Rhode Island.

Bianca attributes her success to unwavering family support, invaluable guidance from SCORE, and a desire to enhance Rhode Island’s economy. Others attribute her success to a determined spirit, as well as an uncanny ability to read the marketplace, design relevant jewelry, and offer it at the forefront of social trends.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present the 2014 Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur Award to Bianca Alicea, founder of Chubby Chico Charms.

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