When Alyssa Kuchta saw what was happening to the people of Haiti following the 2010 earthquake she knew she had to get involved to make a difference. Little did she know that a simple fundraising effort would put her on the path to following her bliss and inspiring others to do the same. That’s the guiding principle behind eff.y.bee, a company that specializes in handmade jewelry while also helping to support entrepreneurship by offering Brand Ambassador and Sales Representative Programs (applications for these are currently open). One of the best parts of Alyssa’s day is getting to work closing with her interns in the eff.y.bee offices. “When the girls come in and start working together,” says Alyssa, “they get so inspired and excited and that makes me so excited and proud. I feel like a proud mom in some ways.” For Alyssa, eff.y.bee is more than a design or jewelry company, it’s a vehicle to empower girls and young women to more confidence and help them realize their vision for themselves in the world.
If you could describe yourself in one hashtag, what would it be?
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My advisor, mentor, and business partner Jordan! She is genuine, compassionate, brilliant, and has a heart of gold. She’s helped me to be more focused and confident in myself by believing in me. She’s recently launched her own consulting company (http://www.jordanmarieconsulting.com) and I couldn’t be more proud of her for taking the leap and pursuing her passion in helping other entrepreneurs and creatives focus their brands! Simply, she rocks!
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
My dream is to create a successful brand and community of women that encourage, inspire, and uplift each other on their path to finding their bliss and passions in life. My company creates jewelry, but our message is so much more than that. I also hope to one day have Brand Ambassador teams at every College/University in the country!
My personal goals are to travel and explore as much of the world and different cultures as I can (traveling to China and Haiti were two trips that really changed my life and my perception), continue to explore beyond my comfort zones (conquer my fear of public speaking is a big goal!), and to always strive to live a life filled with passion and “butterflies”- in career and in love.
What are you most proud of?
My team and the brand we’ve built together. It’s an honor and so rewarding every time we receive a new applicant for our Brand Ambassador program. When I ask the girls what drew them to us, most reply its because of our mission and what we stand for. The energy, passion, and enthusiasm of our team is what inspires and motivates me everyday and what I love most about what I do.
What piece of advice changed your life?
There has been SO much advice that has changed my life, but if I had to choose one thing in particular- it would be the Law of Attraction (a concept taught in The Secret). It explains the power of gratitude, focus, and positive thinking- three key things in creating the life you want and success. Having studied Psychology in college and learning much about the brain and behavior, this was particularly interesting to me. Simply put- whatever you choose to focus on and think about, evokes emotions and actions that then create the reality and life you live. Gratitude changes everything. I keep a daily gratitude journal and create vision boards whenever I need to feel inspired, it’s helped me greatly.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be continuing to grow eff.Y.bee and bay lavi, exploring and launching other business ideas I have, traveling often, and having a family.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
The number one item on my bucket list is to fully establish our Bay Lavi Foundation, providing income-generating and educational opportunities to better the lives of the women I’ve met in Haiti and one day beyond. I would love to travel, experience as many cultures as I can, and establish our program in the areas that need it. There is magic in creativity and in community. During my visit to St. Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs last summer, I experienced this magic firsthand- as creating jewelry together broke the language barriers we had and allowed us to connect in a way beyond what words could express. It is my #1 goal to re-focus on this program once eff.Y.bee is established.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
My mother is my rock, my inspiration, and my heart. She came to the U.S. from China 23 years ago without knowing a word of English and having to start from scratch with her career in the medical field. Her strength, determination, and hard work showed me from a young age the importance of working hard towards goals, staying positive, self-love, and being independent. She has sacrificed so much her entire life to provide for our family and continues to support me in pursuing my dreams in every way she can (including many late nights of jewelry making!). My mother’s positive and inspiring influence on me has greatly shaped the woman I’ve become, and being alongside her on her journey and what she’s gone through is a huge part of why supporting female empowerment and entrepreneurship is so important to me.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
Launching my business was by far the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, but the best decision I’ve ever made. When I first started eff.Y.bee, I had no clue what I was doing or what I was in for. I had not one jewelry making class or business course under my belt and zero budget. But I did have passion, a drive from within, and determination to make this crazy vision I had happen- which is all I needed to become resourceful and figure it out along the way. It’s required a ton of vulnerability, trial and error (learning the hard way at times), overwhelming amounts of work, going beyond my comfort zones, and overall sacrifice. But the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met and worked with, the knowledge I’ve gained-- I am so grateful to my business everyday for helping me find myself and become the woman I am today. It’s so important in life to take risks because you never know what something could lead to-- it’s in paying attention to the things that excite and inspire you, taking chances, and believing that you can- that you find your purpose.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
Being a THAT GIRL is an incredible honor, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of this incredible community of out-to-change-the-world women! I am a THAT GIRL because I believe, with every fiber of my being, the power of passion. I’m not afraid to take risks, I’m not afraid of failure, and I live my life striving to follow my bliss each day and hoping to inspire others that they can too.