Alex and Ani hires 7 executives, plans to expand and bring on 250 workers

CRANSTON, R.I. — Cranston jewelry company Alex and Ani said Monday it has hired seven new executives in recent months and within six months expects to hire 250 more people to support the opening of four more stores this year and the arrival in its stores of handbags, wallets, candles and other small goods for the fall fashion season.

About 70 of the new workers will be corporate-level employees, and most of them will work in Rhode Island, spokesman Gregg Perry said, with others working in the company’s New York office. About 15 marketing, digital solutions and information technology employees now work in that office, he said.

The additional 180 new hires will be a combination of full- and part-time employees to support the company’s retail stores around the country, Perry said. The company has 38 retail stores, with the latest opening last weekend in Annapolis, Md., and another opening in Las Vegas last month, Perry said.

The company also continues its nationwide search for a new chief executive officer, Perry said. Alex and Ani announced that search in March on the day it revealed the sudden departure of CEO Giovanni Feroce.

Company founder and creative director Carolyn Rafaelian, who has been interim CEO since then, declined to speak Monday with The Providence Journal about the company’s growth plans. She has declined requests for interviews since Feroce’s departure. Most recently, she told a reporter via direct message on Twitter that she would be available for an interview “when the time is right.”

Rafaelian incorporated Alex and Ani in 2003 and hired Feroce in 2010. When Feroce joined the company, Alex and Ani employed 23 people and recorded annual revenue of $4.5 million. By the end of 2013, the company employed nearly 1,100 people and recorded annual revenue of $230 million, Feroce said at the time.

Feroce told The Journal in late March that his departure stemmed from a disagreement with Rafaelian over how quickly the company should expand. “There’s no sense of urgency,” he said at the time. He said he wanted to bring in designers to expand the company into a “lifestyle brand” to compete with Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch.

In October 2012, when the company announced it had secured venture financing from JH Partners of San Francisco, Feroce said the company expected to expand into 18 more states and double its work force. At the time, the company employed 434 people and had retail stores in 11 states.

Alex and Ani’s retail stores are in 19 states, plus Washington, D.C., Perry said, and that will grow to 20 this year, when it expects to open four more stores, including in Pennsylvania for the first time. Those stores will be in Sarasota, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pa.

A few other stores have closed in recent months — on Weybosset Street in Providence to make room for the Alex and Ani Institute, which has changed its name from Alex and Ani University; in the casino shopping area at Foxwoods because of ongoing construction; and a test store at Logan InternationalAirport in Boston, Perry said.

The new products to be in stores this fall are “small items that fit in nicely with our signature bangles,” Perry said.

The new hires include Jayne Fitzpatrick-Conway, chief financial officer, who replaces David Rozen, who had been with the company for about a year and left recently “to pursue other business opportunities,” Perry said. Fitzpatrick-Conway will begin in her new position on June 23, after working most recently as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of CIRCA Brands Inc., a global buyer and reseller of previously owned luxury jewelry and goods.

Continue reading on Providence Journal >>