Gillian Bradley of Southfield is the founder of the accessories brand Harper Ray Accessories, which she named after her grandfather, James Harper.
Jewellery has always been part of Bradley and she started creating her own jewellery for sale while attending Farmington Hills Harrison High School in 2012. She continued to Michigan State, where she earned a degree in food science in 2018.
“In high school, we had a jewellery class as an elective, and we were able to saw and mold metals and things. I used to take that class really seriously. It was really fun to me to design different pieces of jewellery, and that is really how this started,” Bradley told the Michigan Chronicle.
As soon as she graduated from college, she decided to start taking her jewellery business seriously and run it full-time. However, it was not until 2020 that the business took off. Harper Ray launched at Michigan State University began as an e-commerce store but soon expanded. In 2021, Bradley opened a brick-and-mortar location in Southfield, Michigan, using profits made from sales and personal funds.
According to Detroit Free Press, Bradley offers pieces of jewellery designed in-house which are then created by a manufacturer. She also allows her customers to order custom pendants and chains. Essentially, her business features a collection of fashion accessories including hair accessories.
“We want every Harper Bae that walks in here to feel like the princess that they are,” Bradley said of her customers, who she calls Harper Baes. “I feel like I’m a good representative of the Harper Baes and I know what they like,” she said. “I know what they want to see. So it’s super easy to come up with things and just focus on what I feel like my audience enjoys and what I also enjoy. I definitely feel like it’s perfectly aligned.”
Last month, following the end of a $20 Tuesday mega sale, Bradley made $106,000 in one day. She shared the good news on Instagram, thanking her Harper Baes for their support.
She wrote: “I was just a baby in high school making myself some basketball wives earrings (iykyk)…I never imagined any of this. $100k in one day?! still so surreal. thanks to my girls for believing in me and helping me build this brand. I know I always say it but I’m nothing without y’all! & of course thanks to the harper baes for rocking with us so tough.”
“We a year later but we not a dollar short,” she shared.