“When we share our stories, we find pieces of ourselves within one another, reminding us that we are not alone.”
In 2015, Amber and her husband, Edward Glassman, quit their full-time jobs and moved from New Jersey to Austin, Texas to chase the dream of creating an accessible lifestyle brand that was both modern and meaningful. They officially launched Bryan Anthonys out of their studio apartment in September of that year. The company was created in honor of and named after co-founder Amber Glassman’s brother, who passed away at a young age due to a severe case of bacterial meningitis, with the hope of encouraging people to make their lives and the lives of others around them meaningful. “Since he never got the chance to pursue a career or his dreams, I wanted to name the company after him so he always had something to be a part of.” Her personal experiences with loss led her to design a brand that focused on both the highs and lows of life, choosing jewelry as the medium to do this because of its universal significance – known and understood all over the world. “I think jewelry contains so much beauty. It is something that is shared amongst so many people, further connecting us. Every time a piece of jewelry is passed from one person to another, it brings with it stories, memories, and emotions that connect us to our loved ones.”
Her love for jewelry began when she was a young girl, and her mother gifted her a delicate pearl necklace that belonged to her grandmother. Every time she wore the necklace, she felt connected to them both. As she collected and purchased jewelry throughout her life, she always thought back to that same pearl necklace and how it held parts of her grandmother’s story. “I was so excited to wear my new pieces as I couldn't help but think how they would soon become part of my own original story – full of memories and all the places that I wore them to.” This sentiment inspired the brand’s mission to recognize that everyone has a beautiful and unique story to tell.
Amber personally writes every inspirational message that accompanies their products. Her writings are composed of topics like friendship, love, and adventure, as well as the unexpected challenges of hurt, loss, and heartache. Paired with thoughtful designs, Bryan Anthonys encourages its community of customers to share their individual stories to create connection, “When we share our stories, we find pieces of ourselves within one another, reminding us that we are not alone.” The first message she wrote was for a friendship necklace set entitled "Soul Sisters", which ended up being the first piece of jewelry that took off and was essentially the launching point for what would be Bryan Anthonys.
At the time, they were down to their last thousand dollars. She recalls telling her husband, “Ed, I am going to make a friendship necklace but for adults.” She knew from her failed jewelry collection that designing with symbolic meaning was not enough to inspire and connect individuals. “I had to offer them something more, something deeper and more profound, and that is when I decided to write an inspiring message with the piece”. Despite being terrified to launch Soul Sisters with the last of their savings, they mustered up the courage to go for it. When they released the piece, people instantly resonated with it, and they sold out of it in a matter of days.
“I have been a writer my entire life. It is something I always loved but never thought I could make a career out of, let alone an entire business. It’s funny how life and fate work like that. When you do what you love and pursue what you're passionate about, magic happens, and somehow it all works out in the end – truly finding purpose in your passion.”
The couple always shared an entrepreneurial spirit. Before co-founding Bryan Anthonys, Amber graduated from the University of Delaware and worked in primarily male-dominated fields, from agency to sports to banking, and Edward was an EMT. In these roles, she found that women were inherently viewed as “too emotional”, and if she wanted to climb the ladder of success, it was imperative that she never presented herself as being emotionally driven. "Although there has been significant growth in women pursuing leadership roles, there are still various challenges and preconceptions of what that entails." As a result, she struggled with pursuing her vision when starting the company and thought that to be taken seriously as a female entrepreneur, she needed to leave emotion at the door. Throughout the process, her thinking shifted and she came to see women as multifaceted, able to be both strong and soft, and realized that having empathy does not negate rationality. “Not only am I a CEO, but I am a writer. I transformed poetry into products. Words into wealth. I made jewelry both meaningful and fashionable, combining purpose with personalization. My perceived weakness is actually my greatest strength.”
Even though things have changed significantly since launching Bryan Anthonys from her bedroom, her belief in stories, love for writing, and passion for connecting others through her words have been and will always remain a constant. When asked about what she's learned from running her own business, Amber said, “Who you surround yourself with is the most important thing of all. I am so thankful for my team at Bryan Anthonys – it’s 50 badass women.” She went on to say that these women rallied behind her and kept things moving when she was struggling with her daughter’s health issues early on. “I’m also just so proud of my team for continuing to get up every day, push forward, and always creating and finding new ways to do things. I always say people are the most important thing in a business because, without your people, you have nothing.” One of Amber’s goals for the near future of the company is to tap into the personalization space. Already having built a brand based on connection and meaning, it feels like the natural next step to connect that meaning even more by personalizing it. They recently invested in a laser engraving machine to bring that possibility in-house. “We’ve been working on it for quite some time and are so excited to introduce it to our customers!”
To learn more about Bryan Anthonys and find the piece(s) that tells your story, visit their website