pearl dangles from the end of a shiny silver matte bar. These earrings are the perfect combination of classic meets modern. Meanwhile, a small gold hoop earring with an optional heart accessory allows for versatility and fun.
Sabika Jewelry’s ALMI collection—which made its debut in November with its second collection releasing in May—features something for everyone. That’s important for Mt. Lebanon sisters Alexandra Mayr-Gracik, Florida Avenue, and Miriam Mayr, Central Square, who run the 20-year-old, multimillion dollar brand with 1,100 independent consultants based in all 50 states.
ALMI (named for ALexandra and MIriam) features jewelry inspired by the sisters and their relationship, with a somewhat modern spin on classic looks. Pieces from the premiere ALMI collection will retire April 30 to make way for the May 1 summer release.
“My design philosophy from the start was to design for every woman,” said Alexandra, CEO and head designer. “With ALMI, it gave me the opportunity to reach the daughter of the Sabika lover. The designs are contemporary in a way that might be a little more relatable to a young woman who wants to invest in pieces that are high quality and can last from season to season, but are also very timely and relevant.”
Sabika launched in 2001, as the brainchild of Alexandra and Miriam’s mom, Karin Mayr. It started with house parties, where attendees had the opportunity to try on each piece of a collection.
“It’s a relationship business,” said Miriam, executive director of sales and marketing. “The whole concept was never about selling. It was two hours to hang out with your friends and play dress up. The connection really comes from your friend saying, ‘Oh my gosh, Alex, you really look amazing in those earrings.’”
While the business remains the same at its core, the sisters, who took over the reins of Sabika in the last few years, have been thinking about the future.
Pre-COVID they embarked on a retreat to brainstorm and strategize what’s next. ALMI was born out of that trip.
While designing Sabika’s collections, Alexandra began exploring the use of new textures and materials. She filled a table with designs that would later become the ALMI collection.
“These styles had a Sabika heart, but a newness to them, a different versatility in a way, but really still feel like home,” Miriam said.
The pieces featured more gold than the Sabika collections, along with timeless pearls and vintage pressed metals.
“I gravitated in this collection toward circular shapes. To me, connection is important. That was another little subliminal message throughout—the connection, the unity, through the circular shapes,” Alexandra said.
While Alexandra and Miriam have very different personalities and styles, their values remain the same. And the jewelry is perfect for both.
“It’s that continuation, that next step, the next chapter, our two personalities coming together,” said Alexandra. “I love that ALMI is empowering you to be all you. It’s really celebrating that individuality and that inner strength that we all have. I just love that the name itself says that you have permission to be ‘All me!’”
Alexandra’s daughter, Audrey, 14, is already getting involved in the female-run brand. Alexandra’s son, Cosmo, attends Ohio State.
Miriam loves the inclusivity of the pieces. “While every one is super unique, I want them to feel super at home in that brand,” she said. They plan to launch two ALMI collections a year—one in summer and one winter—along with releasing four Sabika collections a year.
The pandemic brought changes to the company. Instead of spending two weeks in Europe designing Sabika’s looks, Alexandra now creates the looks over time, allowing for more collaboration.
When consultants couldn’t meet in person for house parties, they took to the internet to create virtual events and use social media to share the jewelry. This helped bring a bright spot to customers and consultants alike, as they maintained their connections virtually. Alexandra frequently posted videos of different ways to mix and match Sabika during the pandemic.
The sisters repeatedly heard testimonials of women who continued to wear their Sabika jewelry during the pandemic, even if they were at home in their sweatpants.
“If we can play some small fragment in bringing some normalcy and joy to (our customers), I think that’s so important,” Alexandra said.
Giving back has always been important to Sabika’s mission. They’re continuing that effort with ALMI, where $5 from every purchase will be donated to one of three organizations that the buyer can select when purchasing: Mental Health America, Earthday.org or Girls Inc.
“We want you to not only feel beautiful, but also to feel really good about that purchase and that you’re able to make an impact with something that you care about,” said Miriam.