Turning your passion into a business that you love is only a dream for most people. Jordan Dudden, Founder and CEO of an Upstate New York jewelry company, JoJo Rings, is living her dream with the help of Launch NY.
Dudden founded the company in January 2015 with the community in mind and operates according to three guiding principles: sustainability, social good and individuality. Each ring is made from 100% recycled rings, additionally, with each sale they make, JoJo Rings will make a donation to a non profit organization. Some organizations have included domestic violence shelters, food banks, LGBT centers, education centers, and more.
The company has certainly come a long way since its inception in a jewelry class at Syracuse University where Dudden made her first set out of keys to her grandmother’s home. When she began receiving compliments from friends, family, and eventually strangers, Dudden knew she was on to something and decided to turn her project into a business. Soon after, Dudden enlisted the help of her high-school sweetheart and social entrepreneur AJ Richichi to found JoJo Rings.
Currently JoJo Rings is being sold in 50 retail locations across 20 states. With this amount of success along with the commitment to the community, Jordan Dudden was recently named “Good Samaritan of the Year” at the 2015 Financial and Business Executive Awards in Central New York.
In the early stages of business planning and development, Dudden and Richichi began working closely and received assistance from Launch NY. Knowing they wanted to operate their business without investors, Dudden and Richichi knew they would face issues raising necessary capital to get the business off the ground. Launch NY’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Paul Brooks, mentored Jordan and AJ as they created their business plan, which helped them win $7,500 from a Syracuse University business competition as well as a $10,000 grant. The money they won served as startup capital and helped get JoJo Rings take flight.
Dudden wants to expand JoJo Rings and has made it a goal to be in over 100 retail stores by the end of 2015. She also has plans to increase the number of employees she has in Syracuse. JoJo Rings is working with a number of celebrities, like model Hailey Baldwin, who has already posted a photo of the rings on her Instagram.
Launch NY is a nonprofit organization who has provided pro bono support for over 450 businesses across Upstate New York since 2012. The mission of Launch NY is to identify high-impact companies and invest time, money, and expert resources to help these companies grow into successful businesses who transform the regional economy.