Our Studio Story
Bel Kai was established in 2006 in Long Beach, CA
by Whitney Wright, and began as a jewelry studio in the dining room of her California bungalow. With previous experience in jewelry making as a hobby and after receiving a gift of a pendant made from paper, she was inspired to create a collection of necklaces. Simple in concept, just a chain & a pendant. Made beautifully unique by sealing original artwork & custom images sealed in sterling silver settings. It fulfilled Whitney’s longing to create, as well as her desire to own a business that would allow her to stay at home with her two little boys. The first years were quite the hustle and marked by art shows, craft fairs, open houses & small wholesale orders for local boutiques. Because the designs were original, the possibilities for personalized work were limitless. Requests for custom pendants soon followed.
Serving loyal customers, non-profits, musicians, artists, authors
In the years following, the bulk of the business was built around the idea of creating something unique not only for loyal customers, but also as large orders non-profits & organizations looking for unique gifts or fundraisers, or to support local musicians and artists by featuring their designs in a collection of jewelry. Working on large orders that helped support and bring awareness for important causes is such an honor. In 2009, an online shop was launched! We served many customers that wanted a special piece of jewelry to commemorate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations & so many other life events. The opportunity to create lovely pieces that have also become keepsakes with special meaning has become our greatest joy.
Crazy in love
In 2011, Whitney met her now husband, Luke Wright, also an artist and founder/CEO of MudLOVE. Their connection began through their businesses; they were madly inspired by each other – and it didn’t take long to fall crazy in love. Since their marriage in 2013, Bel Kai & MudLOVE have merged in a shop called Belove. The online shop features a smaller selection of Bel Kai’s current collection, while the brick & mortar location, located in Winona Lake, IN, showcases a full Bel Kai jewelry bar where you can create your own necklace as well as ready-to-made necklaces and the ability to order custom pendants. This special little shop is a little piece of their heart, giving back a portion of sales to various needs in the local community of Winona Lake & city of Warsaw. And! In addition to the shop, Luke & Whitney have since added two more little boys to their family.
Purpose in Partnering
What’s next? Our brick & mortar shop has carried Bel Kai into a new opportunity to build a collection of jewelry perfect for wholesale buyers. We will also hinge on our history of bulk custom orders by continuing to partner with organizations, artists, musicians & the like. We love the opportunity to partner through our product. It is a joy and an honor to create custom jewelry for fundraisers, causes, gifts.
That’s the short story! More from founder, Whitney Wright…
THE NAME, BEL KAI
Bel means “beautiful”. Kai means “ocean”. At the time, I was living just a few short blocks away from the beach. The ocean is just about my very favorite place to be and I had a little one on the way, whose middle name is Kai. The name carries a lot of meaning for me, especially for that place & time of my life. And I think it has a nice ring to it!