Author Archives: Brianna Plaza

About Brianna Plaza

Brianna is a GA Digital Marketing graduate and Alumni Lead for GA Stories.

Founding a Company Entirely on UX Design: How GA Grads Started Jewelry Company Vrai & Oro

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General Assembly grads Vrai and Oro

For years, Chelsea Nicholson and Vanessa Stofenmacher felt that the fine jewelry on the market just wasn’t for them. They wanted to make a statement with pieces that were classic yet attainable, and had an inkling other women felt the same. After graduating from General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive program in Los Angeles, they decided to do something about it.

The pair, who were friends before they were classmates, teamed up to launch Vrai and Oro — a Warby Parker-style fine jewelry startup that embodies UX principles its core. Vrai and Oro means truth (in French) and gold (in Spanish), and the name is reflected in the company’s values: quality, simplicity, and transparency. Chelsea and Vanessa produce their jewelry with ethically sourced materials in downtown Los Angeles — without designer markups. And, true to their UX-driven brand, their website and eCommerce platform is minimalistic and image-driven for easy use.

We caught up with Chelsea to learn more about Vrai & Oro, the site’s user experience, and how GA helped the co-founders achieve their goals.

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Meet Prepd: A Sleek Product That Raised $1.4 Million on Kickstarter

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We all know that bringing lunch to work is the smart, healthy, and financially responsible thing to do. We want to bring delicious lunches to work, but then motivation is always low. So we end up buying something or settling for whatever boring thing we could find in our fridge, wishing we could be better.

Enter Prepd, a lunchbox with modular containers and a corresponding app to help us be the lunch-bringer we always knew we could be.

We spoke with co-founder and GA Hong Kong alumnus Chris Place a few days before his goal-busting Kickstarter, which raised over $1 million, closed.

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Alumni App, Splittable, Lands $1.2M to Ease Your Roommate Expenses

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When Nick Katz started our part-time Digital Marketing course in London, he immediately became immersed in the network of GA students that would go on to become his co-founders. After completing the course, Katz teamed up with fellow graduates to create an app, Splittable, to help anyone who lives with housemates and has shared expenses.

Splittable launched in the summer of 2015 and the team has now closed their first, seed investment round from some of London’s leading tech VCs and angels, including Seedcamp, Playfair Capital, and Lord David Young. They are also backed by the Mayor of London’s Co-Investment Fund.

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New Creative Agency Focuses Solely On Socially-Conscious Companies

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Web Development Immersive student turned Expert in Residence Andrea has teamed up with fellow GA-er to co-found Nature of the Beast, a creative company that works with socially-minded companies.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @butterloverz

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Digital Marketing Skills Give Journalist a New Angle on Her Career

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Armed with an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Lauren decided to add digital marketing skills to her tool-kit to make herself even more competitive. Now, Lauren works for Aha! leading their content strategy and marketing.

Follow Lauren on Twitter: @laurenmaffeo

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UXDI Alumna Develops Jawbone App at CODEATHON

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Visual-turned-UX designer, Diana, completed the UXDI program in Downtown Los Angeles. Post-course, she teamed up with peers a for the LA Codeathon. Together, they helped design a Jawbone-focused app that helps women get moving and stay moving. Currently, she is focusing on freelance UX and visual design projects in the Los Angeles area. Follow her on Twitter and view her portfolio.

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Self-taught front-end developer learns back-end. Takes Le Web by storm.

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A trained musician, Noah was looking to take his career to the next level. While working as a front-end web developer, he saw an opportunity during his Back-End Web Development course to launch a music streaming service with a classmate. Most recently, he’s taking on Le Web with his team at Bop.fm while developing the company’s mobile app. 

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UX Design Grad Wins the CITIBANK Mobile Challenge

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After spending time as a technical recruiter for UX Design, LA UXDI grad, Henry, decided to take the UX road himself. Today, he works with Citibank, a gig he landed after becoming a finalist in their Mobile Challenge on a project geared toward making the bank-customer interaction more seamless.

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From Engineering to Developing: Hacking A Way to a New Career

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Andrea Cremese, BEWD Graduate

Working as an engineer on major New York City projects, Andrea wanted to shift careers. He loved the problem solving and design of engineering and construction, but wanted a different challenge. Andrea decided to take BEWD to introduce him to the world of web development and he hacked his way into a new career.

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ShowKit Founders Enjoy Success After TechCrunch Debut

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Have you ever been stuck using an app and wished you had a live person to help? Showkit will do just that. A finalist at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC in May, ShowKit founders (and LA’s Product Management graduates) Emily Sipchen and Anthony Kelani are revolutionizing how companies are interacting with their customers. Since their debut, they’ve been making waves. Up next? They plan to roll out versions for Windows and OXS web plug-ins.

Keep an eye on this team; They’re going places.

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