Olive Goils: Meet the Designers of stella valle Jewelry

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As graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Ashley Jung and Paige Dellavalle were educated in the value of sacrifice, dedication, tenacity and persistence. Related by blood and not afraid to break a sweat, long days and late nights are nothing new for these two sisters who dreamed of careers in fashion while growing up in a small country town in Ringoes, New Jersey. Their education and military training were put to good use when they hung up their combat fatigues and co-founded their jewelry line, stella valle, in 2009. This fashion-forward line of bold statement jewelry, with its strong lines and geometric metalwork, is inspired by and designed for strong, creative women who chart their own path, lead their own lives and create their own story.

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Utilizing the mechanical training and technical knowledge they acquired during their years of service, Ashley, 31, and Paige, 26, are dedicated to building a brand with a diverse aesthetic sense that conveys beauty as coming from a place of strength and fortitude.

I was honored to meet this dynamic entrepreneurial duo before Independence Day, and I learned a lot about the pursuit of happiness and the strength that comes from chasing a dream.

Olive: What motivated the both of you to join the military?

Ashley: We grew up in a very patriotic family and our parents telling us how fortunate we are to be Americans. When I was approached by the United States Military Academy in high school, I felt that I would regret not taking the opportunity to serve our great nation. Once I went to West Point, it started a trend where another sister of ours, Kate, went to West Point. Our oldest sister, Lindsay, was in medical school at the time and she decided that she wanted to become an Army doctor. Then, it was Paige’s turn to choose a college, and being that the four sisters always were extremely close, she wanted to share the unique bond her three sisters all shared of being in the military together. Paige went to West Point to join the rest of the sisters.

Olive: Do you come from a military background?

Ashley and Paige: Our grandfather served in World War II in the Navy, but other than him we are the next generation to serve.

Olive: How long did you serve?

Paige: After Ashley’s four years at West Point concluded, she went on to serve as an Engineer Officer at Ft. Hood, Texas. During her time in service, she spent 15 months in Afghanistan. After five years active duty, Ashley retired as a Captain and served her remaining 18 months in the Texas National Guard.

My experience was different than most graduates from West Point. My military career ended shortly after my completion of studies at West Point due to a bad shoulder injury and four surgeries that left me non-commissionable. Although I did not have the opportunity to serve out my commitment, I am grateful for the experiences that West Point provided and wish that I was healthy enough to serve next to my brave, selfless sisters, brother-in-laws, friends and classmates.

Olive: What inspired you to move into the jewelry design business?

Ashley: We always loved fashion growing up and knew that one day we wanted to pursue careers in the industry. Although our life journey did not take us to Fashion Institute of Technology or Parsons School of Design to study fashion design, we felt that we could still be successful in fashion with our backgrounds in business and our natural gift of creativity. We love to accessorize, so we decided that jewelry was the perfect starting point.

Olive: Last year, you both traveled to Los Angeles and pitched stella valle on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Did any of the sharks bite on your idea?

Paige: Mark Cuban and Lori Grenier are our investors and they are wonderful!

Photo credit: ABC-TV Shark Tank

Photo credit: ABC-TV Shark Tank

Olive: What did your experiences as West Point cadets and U.S. Army Officers teach you most?

Ashley: WOW, we’ve had so many experiences at West Point and in the military that we don’t know where to start! First off, we had the privilege to get top-notch educations from one of the greatest institutions in the world. We used our business degrees and engineering backgrounds to help grow stella valle in 3.5 years, from a $2,000 investment to a successful business today. We just recently received investments from two of the most accomplished entrepreneurs, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner (who both appear on the ABC-TV show, “Shark Tank”). We’ve been learning from them and are excited to have them as our new business partners. We also learned sacrifice, hard work, dedication, and time management from West Point and the military. We have taken all of these experiences over the years and apply them to stella valle and all aspects of life each and every day.

Photo credit: ABC-TV Shark Tank

Photo credit: ABC-TV Shark Tank

Olive: Is there any significance to the name stella valle?

Ashley: There are many things that went into naming our company. First, we really wanted our last name to be incorporated somehow. Secondly, we wanted it to sound like a person’s name, but not our own. We also wanted a way to remember when we started our company. At the time when we started our company, I lived in Dallas and Paige was adopting a French bulldog puppy from Oklahoma. Paige flew into Dallas and we drove eight hours to Oklahoma to get this puppy. During the long ride, we felt it was a perfect time to decide on a name for Paige’s puppy, as well as figure out the name for our company. We ended up naming Paige’s dog, Stella, and combined that with with our last name, Dellavalle, to make it stella valle. It accomplished goal No. 2 of making it sound like a person’s name. Now we have a great memory of our trip to get Stella and the very start of stella valle. We feel it is always important to remember where you came from!

stella 2

Meet Stella, part of the inspiration behind the stella valle brand name.

Olive: What are your favorite pieces from any of your collections?

Ashley and Paige: That is a tough one. Since we spend so much time designing each and every piece, we really have a deep connection with all of our designs. If we had to pick some of our favorites, they would be the Delsey cuff, Catherine necklace (named after our wonderful Nana in heaven), the Lightening Bug ring, and the Carousel bangle!

Olive: One of my favorite pieces is the Aspire bracelet. It comes in gold and silver. I love it!

aspire bracelet gold 1I also like your Summer Solace earrings. I could keep going, but we would be here all day!

summer solace gold with lemon crystal

Olive: If you were to design a piece for me, what would it look like? 

Paige: Our parents called me “Olive Oyl” growing up because I always had long legs! If we designed a piece for you, I think we would make some really long, exaggerated earrings that are about 4″ inches in length to balance out your long legs! We would name them “The Olive Oyl Long Leg Earrings.”

lights at night gold_1

Olive: Well, I would definitely buy a pair! How could I not? I’m so touched that I was a memorable part of your childhood. Growing up, who were your role models?

Ashley: Our group of sisters are really our role models. Each one is so strong and determined. We use each other’s strengths to balance out any weakness we might have, which is one of the many beauties of having a sister…or three!

Olive: What is your definition of a strong woman?

Paige: The stella valle brand is all about strength, pursing your dreams, defying the odds, taking risks, and preserving.  A strong woman encompasses all of these traits while being confident that she knows who she is.

Olive: Amen, sister. Can I call you sister?

Ashley and Paige: Of course!

Olive: Before I go, what is the best advice you have ever gotten?

Ashley: It sounds cliché, but “Never give up” and create yourself.

Olive: Well, there you have it, my lovelies…some sage advice from two strong and ambitious ladies! For more information about Ashley and Paige, visit www.stellavalle.com. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @stellavalleNYC.

transparent logo (1)About stella valle
stella valle was founded in 2009 by two West Point Cadet Army Officers and sisters, Ashley Jung and Paige Dellavalle. Ashley, who lives in DC with her husband, and Paige, who lives in Seaside Park, NJ, are working tirelessly on building their jewelry line while plotting how to live near each other and closer to New York City. They talk to each other at least five to eight times a day on the phone.

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