Designing a career



DBHS 2007 alumna Ali Heiss (left) along with her business partner Stella Simona are heads of Amarilo Jewelry, which was founded in 2013.

Calvin Ru, Photo Editor

Jewelry is primarily used to accent one’s clothing and determine one’s fashion sense. Therefore, the skillfully designed accessories would seemingly require years of skill and craftsmanship. For Diamond Bar High School class of 2007 alumna Ali Heiss, her professional engagement in the field of jewelry took off in order to pay for her college textbooks.

From a young age, Heiss utilized her mother’s gardening wire in order to shape her own “jewelry,” constantly pestering her neighbors to buy her products. However, as a student at DBHS, Heiss wasn’t . engaged in making jewelry as she worked part-time jobs. In addition, she was an editor for the school’s yearbook as well as a percussionist in the band program. She also fondly remembers Spanish teacher Charlotte Sorenson.

“[Mrs. Sorensen] always had so much passion, and was not only really positive, but I could tell she cared about her students,” Heiss said via text messages.

Following her years at DBHS, Heiss took up jewelry design during her freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona and began to sell her products on the internet in order to pay for . college expenses.  Surprisingly, her jewelry brand began to take off, and Heiss dropped all other side jobs to focus on her jewelry. She showcased her jewelry in various locations,  including Unique LA, a large-scale pop-up market.

“I worked a part time job [during high school], which really pushed me to always wanting to balance having a job as well as focusing on school,” Heiss said.

Graduating from CPP with a degree in Political Science, Heiss had to make a decision: continue college and obtain her MBA or pursue her growing jewelry business.

Heiss ended up pursuing her passion, which proved to be fruitful, as she is now the head of Amarilo Jewelry, her successful jewelry company, and co-founder of Showroom Joplin, a public relations agency. Along with the two companies, Heiss works with her partner, Stella Simona, who is also the co-founder of Showroom Joplin, as well as the head of a sister jewelry company, Haati Chai.

“I have some really good supportive people that I get to work with every day. One is my partner Stella Simona and my production manager. They alleviate all the hats a small business owner has to wear,” Heiss said.

With growing recognition, Heiss has had several A-listers pose with Amarilo Jewelry, including Kylie Jenner, Taylor Swift and Beyonce. The alumna seeks to broaden the recognition of her brand as she hopes to publicize it globally in the upcoming years.

Heiss’s advice to high school students is to always stay focused and keep their eyes on the big picture.

“Don’t get overwhelmed by starting a business, just try and do a small task every day. Every small move pushes you forward, even if it’s as small as writing an email, or interning for a couple of months,” Heiss said.