Bling for Tweens

Finding the perfect holiday gift can be tricky, especially when you’re shopping for a fashion-forward tween.

But what if you could uncover a gift that uses recycled materials, is created right here in St. Louis, and is as unique as your favorite 12-year-old?

On Cyber Monday, St. Charles mom and fashionista, Paula Aromando, will launch, the online store for her tween-inspired custom jeans. Through the site, shoppers will be able to select a pair of recycled designer denim, such as Aeropostale or 7 For All Mankind when available, and then choose one of five custom, hand-crafted embellishment options to give those jeans some bling, all for around $65.

“I don’t want tweens to have to fit in by compromising their style,” said Aromando. “Bling Jeans isn’t for the wallflower kid who goes with the flow. It’s really an identity statement, a way girls can express themselves in a creative way.”

From a passion to a business

Bling Jeans is the culmination of Aromando’s background in fashion, her knack for business, and her pursuit for a better life for her and her daughter. Aromando, a former sales executive with a fashion merchandising degree, left her profession in the early 2000s to be a stay-at-home-mom. But after a divorce rocked her world, Aromando knew she had to find a way to support her 8-year-old daughter.

“After my divorce, I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I had been out of the sales business forever, and anything I did in the past meant little in today’s job market. One night I had enough, enough of the B.S., enough of life. I got down on my knees and asked God what I needed to do, if he could give me direction. Sooner than later the idea for jeans kind of came to me. Nothing was really growing in the apparel world, except for jeans, so how could I use my love for sewing to create something different?”  

With inspiration from her favorite designer, Emilio Pucci, and feedback from her daughter, Grace, Aromando went to work creating a line of custom jeans featuring patchwork designs, Swarovski crystals, and other eye-catching embellishments. “I usually run my ideas by Grace. I get a feel for what’s working by the look in her eyes. She definitely has an influence on what I do.”

While Aromando’s initial Bling Jean line will be limited to a few designs for the Nov. 29 launch, she plans on introducing tops, halters and jewelry as well as expanded sizes by spring 2011. She also has goals to bring Bling Jeans into St. Louis-area boutiques and expand in terms of Facebook and affiliate marketing.

For Aromando, Bling Jeans is not only her contribution to the fashion world, it’s her way of showing her daughter that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it.

“I figured out how to use my past mistakes to create a better life for me and my daughter – one she can be excited about. She asks me, ‘When can I be a model? When can I take over the company?’ It thrills me most to see she’s proud of what I’m doing, that I’m finally making my own path in life.”

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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