The $5 Bracelet That Redefined Me

by Alaina Latiolais

The $5 Bracelet That Redefined Me

It’s hard to believe that a $5 bracelet could be a catalyst for personal change, but that is exactly where my journey began. Immersed in media sales, I felt stripped of my personality in the rigid 9 – 5. Cloaked in the “expected” attire of a successful woman, with impeccably styled hair, my identity felt buried. Sound familiar? Even outside of work, this façade continued due to ever-present clients and the risk of shattering the image that I had created. And so, the artist within me was slowly overshadowed, until this seemingly insignificant event rekindled it.

I was on my rounds of sales calls and ran into World Market for a few things and spotted a green wrapped beaded bracelet. It wasn’t anything special, it was only $5, but here I was having a fiscal struggle over whether to buy it. Did I NEED it? The innermost part of me thankfully screamed, YES!

Childhood had me trained in the art of silence and minimalism. Basic necessities were hard to come by, let alone luxuries like jewelry. Yet, the past financial constraints shadowed even my adulthood. I carried this paradigm with me, like many of us do, long past the time I needed to.

Buying that bracelet felt whimsically impulsive. But it also ignited gratitude. From that point forward, I wore my $5 bracelet under my suit jacket and started to stretch what I could get away with wearing to work. I’ll never forget the awkward conversation about not being able to wear a blue jean jacket with a work dress. Oops. Yet, these small acts of defiance were the start of my journey back to my true self, culminating in a career that celebrated every facet of my identity, and milestones that I still celebrate with jewelry.

"There’s something empowering about putting on a piece of jewelry I purchased for myself to celebrate my accomplishments, especially those that I have been able to achieve by being my true self."

Today, I’m celebrating a new embrace of who I am. Two decades ago, I graduated with a lot of promise and a degree in Metalworking and Jewelry only to be steered away from my passion. Gradiance Jewelry is a rekindling of a passion for jewelry-making and a commitment to create edgy and expressive jewelry that echo individuality and self-worth. You don’t have to wait to be gifted jewelry. I can promise you, the gift to yourself is far more meaningful.

Psst...the Little Black Jewelry collection is probably the nearest and dearest to my heart. It's the inappropriate blue jean jacket that you should wear to every important meeting. :)