Alumni Story: Building a Golden User Experience

Students Chelsea Nicholson and Vanessa Stofenmacher

For years, Chelsea Nicholson and Vanessa Stofenmacher (User Experience Design Immersive, Los Angeles) were tired of designer price markups and misleading product descriptions on jewelry. After meeting as students in General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive course in Los Angeles, they founded their own company, Vrai and Oro, to sell the jewelry they wanted to wear themselves.

“Our entire company was founded through the user experience,” says Nicholson, who thought UX would be a strong complement to her business marketing education. Similarly Stofenmacher, previously a startup founder and creative director, wanted more insight into the brand’s user experience. “Every decision we make is based around how it will affect our customers, so having technical education in that domain has influenced almost every area of our brand.”

Since launching, the company has been featured in Vogue, Forbes, and more, and Stofenmacher landed a spot on Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 list. Nicholson credits GA’s global network with helping the women make connections and uncover company growth opportunities. “We met more people than we could have ever imagined through events and the entire GA community,” she says.