They broke her heart, so she picked up the pieces and transformed them into eight necklaces inspired by those strongest around her.
“I have blonde hair and blue eyes, but they still made fun of me. They would say, ‘Oh, you look so fake. You look like a Barbie.’,” recalled Kasi Staab. As teachers noticed her defeated demeanor, they sent the young teen home in hopes of rebuilding her morale before the next school day. At home, she grabbed her sketchpad and began to draw a diamond with a girl on it. Soon, the Always Beautiful pendant was born – fueled by the pain and determination to feel beautiful despite what others have said, or might say.
The Always Beautiful pendant shows inner beauty and expresses that you should be who you are. It shows a girl lying on her back with her blonde hair up, and it has love radiating from her heart. A multicolored SWAROVSKI crystal represents the many different personalities we have.
During this time of pain from bullying, Kasi found comfort in seven other girls who were going through similar obstacles. “Each of their styles inspired one of my jewelry pieces,” Kasi continued.
The Always Believe necklace was inspired by the strength of faith, and the hope that belief encourages others to be good role models. The sky-blue crystal symbolizes the inner peace one feels when relying on their faith to get through obstacles.
Inspired by her friends’ growth over the year, Always Blossom encompasses the perseverance needed to keep growing despite hardships. The yellow crystal and the flower are reminders that we each blossom in our own time.
Always Dream features a butterfly pendant, representing the power of not giving up on a dream and how you can make your dreams take flight. The purple crystal represents the inner confidence people gain when making their dreams come true.
Always Hope features a half-sun, half-moon pendant paired with a deep red crystal. Influenced by the big hopes the girls have of their futures, Kasi wanted to remind everyone to keep looking forward to the next day.
Always Love represents the love and support that Kasi received during her time of struggle. The infinity symbol with a heart pendant encourages everyone to always put love first. The maroon crystal represents the deep passion Kasi has in using empathy to build lasting relationships.
Always Radiant features an empowering feminine sign with flowers winding around it. The pendant is a wonderful reminder that as females we are courageous and strong.
Always Rise features a winding arrow, representing how life can be messy sometimes, but remember to keep looking up.
These eight necklaces are also special to Kasi because they are a reflection of the long relationship she has had with jewelry. At a young age, Kasi found herself fascinated with rings and necklaces. To her, jewelry captured irreplaceable memories and reminded her of the people closest to her.
“When I was little, I had a ton of little plastic rings that I would collect. Those plastic rings reminded Kasi that her positive attributes were recognized and rewarded.
“I have a lot of rings just sitting in a box because I wanted to collect them. And I can remember a memory about each one. I just really like collecting rings,” Kasi laughs.
Throughout the interview, Kasi kept fiddling with a small ring that was sitting on her right ring finger. It was a simple ring, with a silver band and a small, orange simulated citrine gemstone. After a few moments of staring at her ring, she smiled, “My Tompa (her grandfather) and I were at this flea market, and we were looking at this booth. My Tompa is my favorite person in the whole world.” She then explains that her grandfather bought the ring without any hesitation, and it became one of her favorite pieces.
“It has a sterling silver band, but the crystal is plastic.” This small ring inspired her to make affordable jewelry that would withstand daily wear.
Her friends had made lasting impacts on Kasi’s life, and Kasi wanted to pass it forward to others through jewelry. The sterling silver coated with platinum makes this jewelry as durable and affordable as possible.
To add a touch of color to her necklaces, Kasi decided to add a genuine SWAROVSKI crystal to each jewelry piece. She handpicked each crystal color based on how it relates to the person behind the design inspirations.
Recognizing Kasi’s drive to set her own dreams in motion, her mother helped connect Kasi to Shop LC’s executives. This helped get her foot in the door to the jewelry industry, but Kasi still had to prove herself as a serious designer.
A few months later, Kasi found herself outside a Shop LC meeting room practicing her sales pitch nervously. She had to impress one person, Nitin Dugar, the Chief Operating Officer at Shop LC. “I could feel my heart racing,” Kasi laughs. After receiving a green light from the Executive Team, the production process was finally underway.
After months of finalizing her designs, she found herself back in the Shop LC meeting room, looking at the final products. “My favorite step was when I got to see each piece in its box. I would open it and think, ‘I did that’,” Kasi excitedly explains. “My dreams are coming true!”
Kasi’s passion for providing comfort to people to help ease their pain is evident throughout the interview. The entire time, she was excited while talking about the impact she hopes her jewelry will have on other girls.
“My message to fellow KASI Girls? Don’t let other people persuade you from doing what you want to do with your life. Don’t let them rule you – that’s very important.”