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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Entrepreneur's Corner

A Jewel of a Business


A couple of years ago, Au-Co Mai, ’01, was sleeping in her walk-in closet in order to work out of her bedroom. Now she has eight employees and operates her business from an office in Mission Valley.

Mai’s company, Emitations.com, is an online retail site specializing in celebrity-inspired jewelry. It was recently ranked No. 14 in the jewelry category on the “Top 500 Guide,” an annual publication of Internet retailers that lists e-commerce companies with the highest sales figures in their respective markets.

At $40 to $60 for jewelry inspired by celebrities and television shows like “Sex and the City” and “Desperate Housewives,” the company has generated $2 million in sales in 2005—a 25 percent growth from the previous year. That’s pretty impressive considering it started out as what Mai describes as a “boot-strap operation.”

“It was a passion so I never really took it seriously,” Mai says. “Plus, back when I started, there was so much negativity toward all the dotcoms because of the dotcom bust, that I tried to tell myself it was just a side project, something for fun that kept me entertained.”

Whether it’s copies of Mariah Carey’s “favorite butterfly ring” or Christina Aguilera’s “handcuff necklace,” Mai still enjoys the thrill of marketing.

Entrepreneurs Corner by Marnette Federis, ’06 and Neda Oreizy, '08.

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