Local nonprofit directors dedicate their lives to the common good. photos by Keith Borgmeyer Cheryl Howard, Nora Stewart Early Learning Center As a former graduate...
When Bea Doheny made solar system bracelets for her friends as high school graduation gifts, she never expected Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be wearing one 3 years later.
“I attached a note to all the gifts that said, ‘Whenever ever you look at your solar system bracelet I hope you remember you’re out of this world,’” Bea says.
It started as a curiosity for space, passion for creativity, and urge to combine the two interests. The MU junior went on a hunt for beads that represented the planets, and created what became the first piece of jewelry she would later sell across the world.
“I went to college and stopped making them for awhile, but it was always in the back of my mind,” Bea says.
Bea recently flew to Tampa, Florida for the 2016 Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference & Pitch Competition.
Her younger brother suggested naming the business AstronoBEAds. “It includes my name while incorporating something about space and jewelry. After I had the name, that’s when I really thought, ‘I can do something with this.’”
Bea reached out to an entrepreneurial professor at MU last winter to discuss the idea of seriously starting this business. She built her website, developed three products, and decided to fully launch on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.
Bea says, “Last spring, I set a goal of selling 300 pieces, but since then I’ve sold over 1,500.”
Bea’s map tracks where her bracelets and necklaces have been shipped throughout the world.
AstronoBEAds have been shipped across the nation and to 24 different countries, largely due to Beas social media success and networking with Astronomy influencers.
“The pieces of jewelry are fashionable but I know space lovers are my niche market,” she says.
Bea’s products have been discussed on StarTalk radio, shared by astronaut Scott Kelly, and worn by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson — just to name a few. The jewelry is sold in the StarTalk Radio shop; Challenger Learning Center, in St Louis; the MU Student Center at The Bridge; Hazel 2 Blue, in Alton, Illinois; and online at astronobeads.com.
Bea with NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly wearing her Jupiter & Galilean Moons bracelet at an event in Kansas City.
The growth of AstronoBEAds has been larger than anything Bea ever imagined.
“The idea is so universal. You don’t really need a language to understand what the bracelet is,” Bea says. “It’s much bigger than the beads. It’s having a small piece of the universe on your side.”
photos provided by Bea Doheny