Before becoming a business owner, Jessica Smith built a platform on social media to share everyday life. A community flourished before her eyes with like-minded people — moms, creators and entrepreneurs — who ate up her style-savvy, art and craft ideas, shopping hacks and mom-life tips and tricks.
From the ground up, Jessica has established a following that has shown her non-stop love and support, leading to the beauty of reef rain aria, her online jewelry boutique. (More about the sweet sentiment of the shop’s name later!)
How It All Began
Growing up in Cape Cod, Jessica loved crafting to create something renewed or unique since she was a little girl. “I have always painted and redone furniture; I love to decorate and style rooms. I used to spend time in my bedroom repainting bookshelves as a kid,” she describes.
A move to Florida introduced her to her husband, Brandon, who is an instrumental part of running reef rain aria’s operations. “We were in Florida for a while and started building our lives together. We moved to Virginia Beach for [Brandon’s] job and the move was crazy hard. It was difficult and I had insecurities,” Jessica shares. Working through these feelings and experiences, she turned to her online community of friends and family to share the things she loved to do and create. “I started receiving genuine responses from people on Instagram, and I thought, I am going to be open and share what is really going on in my life.”
During this time, she met a community that loved DIY and shopping as much as she did. She has an affinity for style and fashion which keeps her finger on the pulse of new brand releases or daily store deals. “I became so invested in sharing the love. When you are your most authentic self, you find your authentic community.”
She began making bracelets with her nieces about three years ago, one of which had rosewood beads. “I made myself a bracelet and people would ask about it routinely,” she explains. Jessica could sense something was there — an opportunity to pair her adoration for crafts and fashion. “I knew if I was going to sell something, I wanted it to be the best. So I went through different suppliers and found the best of everything.” There wasn’t room to jeopardize beauty or functionality. She continues, “I wanted to create something I was proud to put my name on and also wanted to wear myself. I didn’t want to clasp and fuss with stuff — I wanted to slip [jewelry] on and be able to either dress it up or down.”
reef rain aria handmakes customized and personalized items to order from Jessica’s home studio, including bracelets and decorative books. The online shop’s jewelry is simple and timeless backed by the notion of having go-to sets to wear on a casual day with leggings or to dress up on a date night.
The styles and colors Jessica curates are often inspired by her customers. She delves in, “I ask our customers everything. What do you want to see next month? What colors are you drawn to? What is your favorite bracelet?”
Peruse the digital aisles of the shop to find a gift for an upcoming celebration or to treat yourself to your new favorite staple. The Sienna stack, named after her eldest daughter, is a top seller that has an earthy, neutral palette with creams and rosewood. Newly released are the name bracelets wrapped in the words hope, love or faith and are also available to customize with a personal name.
Ready to order? “We fill orders every day and ship in 1-2 days,” Jessica says. Quality products and a quick and easy process were important to her early on. She continues, “I want to offer the things I love and enjoy and [2-day shipping] was high on the list.”
We mentioned customers are at the center of everything reef rain aria does. Jessica tapped into her audience ahead of our conversation asking them for takeaways from their experiences. Here’s what some of them said: packaged with care; quick arrival; great communication; top-notch quality and wonderful customer service.
It’s in the Name
Family and community are woven throughout each detail of reef rain aria. The shop is named after her kid’s middle names, and each bracelet collection is represented by a name either inspired by her kid’s or an outside source of baby names.
Product Testing Process
Before being released to the masses, reef rain aria’s bracelets go through a test with Jessica’s five-year-old daughter, Sage. “I give Sage the bracelets to wear for about a month to see how they hold up; she wears the bracelets everywhere — to the pool and in the bath,” Jessica laughs. It is a true test of wear and tear to see how the new beads and style withstand everyday life. She continues, “We are focused on ensuring our bracelets don’t tarnish or break. If the color fades, we won’t launch with those.”
Proudest Moment & Biggest Obstacle
Jessica is proudest to share reef rain aria milestones with her kids. She smiles, “We have had a handful of exciting and proud moments to celebrate together and it is the best watching the kids celebrate with me.” Jessica’s kids are reef rain aria’s biggest fans no doubt (would you look at that face!). They have a front-row seat to the business’s early mornings and demands and often help bead the bracelets, load the orders and make shipments at the post office.
In the beginning, Jessica’s biggest obstacle was opening and kick-starting the business. She references back to the difficulty she faced in putting herself out there as a creator and business owner. In the present day, COVID has caused many challenges with shipping delays as with many other businesses across the world. “We had one experience where 130 packages weren’t scanned and were waiting at the post office around Christmas. It was out of our control at that point and we prayed hard that night. The next morning, the packages started scanning and were sent through for delivery.”
“I am always looking forward to our next release,” Jessica lights up. For Mother’s Day, reef rain aria is releasing a delicate Sienna stack with smaller beads and a daintier feel. An entirely new necklace line featuring stamped flowers is launching soon as well. Jessica’s ideas for the business continue to blossom and the opportunities are boundless.
Advice for Aspiring Business Owners
As Jessica has traversed many valuable business experiences over the last few years, she leaves you with this advice. “Go for it! You have to be the first, the best or unique. So, be true to yourself and create things you love.”
Experience All reef rain aria Has to Offer
Shop reef rain aria online and on Instagram. Follow Jessica’s page to catch her latest hacks, tricks up her sleeve or must-have Amazon finds. Have questions? Send the husband-wife duo a message via email or direct message.