By the time Alexandra Samit was 15 years old, she'd already sold her first piece of jewelry to a Potomac boutique.
Today, fewer than 10 years later, you can find her jewelry at Bloomingdale's in Washington, D.C., as well as the flagship store on 59th Street in New York City.
Samit's company, Alexandra Beth Designs, is not yet two years old but is making a big mark in the highly-competitive world of retail costume jewelry.
Samit said her break came when she was plucked out of a five-hour line at New York's Henri Bendel’s fall "Open See," part of the store’s casting call for new designers. Bendel's buyers were impressed and orders followed.
Bloomingdale's buyers also noticed her talent and ask her to hold a trunk show.
“My first Bloomingdale’s trunk show was held at White Flint Mall, where I grew up shopping and combing the jewelry cases for ideas on the latest fashions,” she said.
Samit said that she is the youngest trunk show host to appear at Bendel's or Bloomingdale's.
Susan Cannaday, General Manager of Bloomingdale's at White Flint Mall, said she is a supporter of Samit's work.
"Bloomingdale's is committed to finding innovative designers to offer our customers something new and unique,” Cannaday said. “We are thrilled to partner with Alexandra Samit and feature her one-of-a-kind designs and support local talent."
Her line of triple-wrapped, soft and supple leather-studded bracelets have been featured in magazines such as People, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Seventeen and O. Stars, including Reese Witherspoon and Rihanna, have been photographed sporting Samit's designs.
Samit legitimately comes by her talent. Her mother, Anne, draws and paints watercolors.
“We always had an art project on the table,” Anne said. “In 10th grade, Alexandra was making headbands for all her friends.”
Alexandra Berg, a childhood friend, can attest to Samit's passion for design and her serious work ethic. She said she always knew Alexandra would be successful.
“She was always one step ahead of everyone with trends and it certainly has always shown in her designs,” Berg said. “Throughout high school and even college, I watched Alexandra sacrifice her weekends and vacations making, delivering and selling jewelry.”
Samit said her costume jewelry has a somewhat "60s-70s" look. There are bracelets in bamboo designs and necklaces with daisy-like pendants, inset with stingray.
She uses non-traditional materials such as stingray, metallic leathers and lambskin. The stones and beads used in her designs come from as far away as Africa and India. She is constantly searching for interesting materials to use. Her latest bracelets are made with hand-painted beads from Ghana.
Samit hasn't let her success go to her head or forgotten from where she came. She recently showed her jewelry at the at the . Her booth was packed with buyers of all ages.
Nikki Depanti, a Potomac resident, bought one of the leather bracelets at Samit's booth.
“I am buying myself a gift for my anniversary,” Depanti said. “I walked in and noticed her jewelry right away.”