Made In Michiana: Ali On The Boulevard
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Ali Oesch first discovered she liked to make jewelry when she was just a young girl.
"I’ve always made jewelry ever since I was a little girl. And even in third grade, I got in trouble. I had a little cigar box I would sell jewelry out of," Oesch said.
Later, as a teen, Oesch bought a booth at the South Bend Farmer's Market.
"We grew a lot at the Farmer’s Market," Oesch said.
Eventually, she outgrew the Farmer's Market. And that's when Ali decided to expand her business. And she opened her downtown brick and mortar location, Ali On The Boulevard, five years ago.
"I hand make all the jewelry that we have in the center of the store and also at the Farmer’s Market. And I’ve been doing that for about 16 years," Oesch said.
Each piece of jewelry is carefully crafted by Ali for a unique look you can't find at big, chain, department stores.
"I design and make all the jewelry right here in South Bend. I kind of come up with my own designs and have been for all the years I’ve been making jewelry... I think that’s kind of helps keep us separated from the rest and compete with that online game is our awesome customer service, our ability to kind of make a custom piece of jewelry," Oesch said.
Oesch also strives for quality. She says it's important to make something strong enough for a woman to pass down generation, after generation.
"But everything is made with sterling silver, 14 karat gold filled metal, precious gems," Oesch said.
Although you can shop for Ali's one-of-a-kind jewelry online, and find it in other boutiques like hers in four different states, she says she and her team of seven work even harder to make the South Bend shopping experience worthwhile.
"We genuinely want to hear and grow with these women that shop with us. So we’ve created kind of a bond, and a relationship with our customer. And I think that’s another thing that sets us apart from those big online giants," Oesch said.
As for the future? This new mom says she's taking it one day at a time for now.
"I don’t know where things are taking me right now, just taking it day by day, enjoying being a mom and also a business owner," Oesch said.
But she says she does hope her determination and perserverence will serve as an example not only to her baby daughter, but to all of her faithful customers she customizes jewelry for across Michiana, and the world, that you can work to bring your dreams to life.
"I’ve always kind of been someone that, when the odds are against me, I’m fighting even harder," Oesch said.
If you know of a business or manufacturer you would like to see featured in our Made in Michiana series, shoot us an email at News57@abc57.com.