Peridot, agate, fluorite.
Two years ago, those words were not part of LeAnne Absalom's vocabulary. You were much more likely to hear her speak of terahertz and network topology.
But this former information technology expert is now the creative force behind Peace Love Bling, an import jewelry business with a social conscience. It's mission? Empower women and emerging
Absalom discovered the beautiful handcrafted designs she now imports on the streets of Beijing.
"These women literally spread jewelry out on blankets and sell it on the streets and in subways," she said.
Now, thanks to Absalom, the jewelry is featured in 35 stores in five states and online. And the women in China who create each piece are able to support their families with dignity and stability.
Absalom, 43, moved to Columbus from New York after her husband, Dave, took a job at Nationwide. She joined JPMorgan Chase & Co., but sensed that her entrepreneurial spirit would ultimately prevail.
"I knew that for the next 25 years, I wanted to do something that made me happy, (made me) a role model for my daughters, and created lifetime employment," she said.
So Peace Love Bling was born.
The jewelry is crafted with real gemstones, from exotic pearls to brightly colored crystals, and priced from $10 to $350-less then what some stores charge for faux stones.
Each female artist is given the workplace and tools to be successful, and they are paid well, Absalom said. On top of empowering women around the world, sales also help women at home: A portion of each piece supports local women's charities, including Dress for Success and a domestic violence task force.
The response to the chunky, unique, one of a kind designs has been extremely positive, Absalom said.
The chic Short North bridal shop Big Rock Little Rooster carries some of Peace Love Bling's goods.
"Our customers are drawn to unique. And they love the fact that each piece can be customized," said manager Kristin Cooke. "But it's not just the amazing designs that has them buying, they also love supporting the cause."
Absalom hopes to expand into home trunk shows to give even more women an opportunity to succeed.
Though she's no longer traveling the world for corporate giants like WorldCom, Absalom-who works out of the third-floor loft in her Old Towne East home-couldn't be happier.
"When you step on a path and things start to fall into place," she said, "it's a signal that you've taken the right steps."
For more, visit Peace-Love-Bling.com. Watch Andrea Cambern's "Female Focus" weekdays at 5 p.m. on 10TV News HD.
Peace, love, bling
Apr 27, 2011 at 12:01 AM May 4, 2011 at 3:38 PM