Though she studied art history in college at UC Santa Cruz, the universe was sending signs to Ronni Kappos even as an undergrad that her jewelry-making should be more than just a hobby. “I came across these unusual glass beads in a store—they had really deep, rich colors I had never seen before and were beautifully made, with no seams,” she remembers. She became obsessed with designing modern, mobile-like necklaces and earrings to showcase her stash, and she considered committing to her creations full-time, until the inevitable happened—she ran out of material.
But right around the time her original supply dried up, Ronni got another well-timed sign. “My sister and I went on a road trip through the Southwest, and we happened to stop in a random shop. In the corner was this collection of vintage glass beads we’d never seen before,” says the L.A. dweller. “It just felt destined.” All stocked-up, Ronni officially launched her line in 2002, and she now travels to Eastern Europe to refill her bead library (and yes, it has its own reference system). “I run out of my favorite beads all the time and have to come up with ideas to use different ones,” she explains. What’s that saying about scarcity and innovation? —liz sheldon