From “Kitnapper” to 2019 Diamond Designer of the Year: Karen Alaniz’s Story

From “Kitnapper” to 2019 Diamond Designer of the Year: Karen Alaniz’s Story

Six years ago, Karen Alaniz purchased jewelry from a friend’s Origami Owl® Jewelry Bar® as a favor.

She’d never seen the jewelry in person. She just wanted to support her friend.

But, when the package arrived in the mail, she was blown away by how beautiful it was.

“The jewelry and the packaging were amazing,” shares Karen of Texas. “I started asking my friend questions about how I could get Christmas presents for my family and that lead into me joining as a ‘kitnapper’ in February 2013 after being on the waitlist since November.”

Already a busy nurse who spent the majority of her time at the hospital, Karen had zero intention of running a business.

“I didn’t know anything about direct sales or how to run a home-based business; basically, I didn’t know what I was doing,” admits Karen.

After two or three successful launch Jewelry Bars, and the support of her friends and family, Karen quickly realized she could get more out of this business than just a discount.

“I realized I could supplement my income pretty well with this ‘side’ gig,” says Karen. “Shortly after I started, someone joined my team, which was scary since I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing.”

So, with the help of her Mentor, Field Vice President Robyn Torres, Karen started thinking about a role in leadership.

“I set a goal of working my O2 business enough to support myself so I could leave my full-time job and make O2 my full-time career,” says Karen. “I wanted to spend more time with my family and my daughter, who was helping with my O2 business.”

The Path to Leadership

Two years later (2015), that’s exactly what Karen did.

“I exceeded my financial goals and told my boss I was leaving,” recalls Karen. “He looked at me and said, ‘You’re leaving a college-degree career to go sell jewelry? You’ll succeed when pigs fly.’ That comment gave me fuel for the fire. At that point, I was all in!”

While Karen started this journey for the discount and extra money, somewhere along the way, she started to see and feel the importance of empowering other women.

“I want to change women’s lives and help them hit their goals and grow their own teams,” says Karen. “At the time I left my nursing career, I was seriously considering going into the teaching field. When I left my career for O2, I knew that wouldn’t be on the table anymore, but little did I know how much training and opportunity there is as a leader.”

In 2016, Karen ran into her first major struggle as a leader.

“I kept comparing myself to what other leaders were doing,” shares Karen. “With a goal to promote up, I talked to Robyn and said, ‘I can’t be a Director. I need to set other goals.’ She asked, ‘Why not?’ and I remember this was my first big experience about having a preconceived idea that wasn’t true.”

So, Karen set that goal. And, not only did she earn Director, she also promoted up to Senior Director that same year.

In addition to earning Director, Karen also had other goals for her O2 business.

The Road to Diamond Parliament

“Years ago, I remember seeing photos of the Paris Parliament Trip,” shares Karen. “So, I checked my numbers and made a goal of earning the next trip. That next year, 2017, I earned the trip and placed second behind Robyn – who was Diamond Designer of the Year.”

The following year was a learning and growth year for Karen’s team. But, following the 2018 Convention, Karen talked to her team about going for Parliament again in 2019.

“I said, ‘Let’s go for the Top 10 again this year,’” she recalls. “But, they weren’t content with Top 10. They wanted No. 1.”

After working together for a well-rounded business, Karen’s team found themselves in the Top 10 at 2019 The O2 Experience, Origami Owl’s annual convention.

Earning Diamond Designer of the Year

“Standing up on that stage at Convention was very exciting, but also very nerve-wracking,” shares Karen. “Literally, standing there in that moment, I was looking at my team, praying to God to give me grace and the strength to lead them through. When they announced we were first, I locked eyes with my daughter, Meghan (Herrick, Senior Team Leader), in disbelief.”

Karen thought she had heard wrong.

“Bella turned to me and said, ‘You did it!’” says Karen. “I was stunned. I started crying. Then, my daughter jumped on the stage and hugged me. It was the coolest experience to have her there for that moment. When Chrissy announced we had been in the No. 1 spot for seven months, I literally was shocked. I’m insanely proud of my entire team.”

Karen has even given her jeep a name – Savannah Luz! (“Luz” meaning “light.” Her team name is Team Light. She wants to be a light to her local El Paso community.)

Future Goals + Tips for Other Leaders and New Designers

“Before I left for Convention, I had already made my goal for the next year,” shares Karen. “This year, our goal is to help our teams grow through sponsoring and promotions. We want everyone on the Parliament trip next year. I’m excited for what’s ahead this year for our team.”

Karen also has some advice to share with other leaders and new Designers.

“Four years ago, a top leader said to me, ‘Everything you want in this company you can get by sponsoring. Every goal you have, is going to come from sponsoring. An incentive trip, Parliament, monthly incentives, etc. I teach that to all of my new Designers,” she says.

In addition to sponsoring, Karen also recommends:

  1. Stay in your own lane. There’s a difference between learning from other leaders versus comparing yourself to them. Don’t let that learning opportunity make you feel inadequate.
  2. Take every bit of training you can get your hands on. New Designers: Take the opportunity to learn everything you can. Every ounce of training helps.
  3. Stop looking at other leader’s highlight reels. Work on your own journey. Don’t worry about what others are doing – especially at the end of the month. Stay focused on your team’s goals.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned through this journey, it’s how to be a servant leader,” shares Karen. “Learn to empower your team, and through that, everyone rises together.”

When thinking about her overall journey with Origami Owl, Karen reflects, “There are a million other companies I could have joined. It’s a blessing that Origami Owl is my first experience with social selling. It’s never been about the money and the jewelry. Every time I look at someone who’s emotional building a Locket with me, it makes me realize that this is what it’s all about. When I see my team succeeding, our youth growing, and when our Force For Good projects make an impact, I realize you truly can change the world with this business. You can give back. Help your family. Have a better relationship with your child. It’s the real deal. I feel lucky I landed here!”

2019 Parliament Earners + 2020 Locations Revealed

See whooo our Top 10 Diamond Parliament members are and get more details on the 2020 Parliament Incentive Trip here.

Congratulations 2019 O2 Culture Award Recipients

Congratulations 2019 O2 Culture Award Recipients

Every year, we give YOU the chance to nominate a deserving Designer who should be recognized with an O2 Culture Award for going above and beyond and exemplifying the heart of Origami Owl®.

We’re thrilled to share how this year’s O2 Culture Award recipients felt when they were recognized at Convention.

Here’s what this year’s Culture Award recipients said about receiving these extra-special awards.


Heart of O2 Award: Vicki Matzen, Senior Director

“As I was listening to Chrissy describe the recipient of the Heart of O2 Award, I was mentally guessing who might receive this honor. I was in the front row with my dear friend, Wendy Korfel, and we were just musing about who that person might be. At one point, I heard screaming in the back and thought, ‘Someone’s team knows who it is!’ Then, I heard my name. I didn’t react right away – it seemed surreal. In fact, I didn’t move out of my seat until Wendy told me it was me and gave me a gentle push. I was trying not to sob uncontrollably as I made my way to the stage. I’m still in shock! It’s such an honor. Such a loving, supportive company of people who encourage us and make it possible for us all to succeed. Our amazing Founders are an example for all of us. They cheer me on in my business. I have an incredible team of women walking beside me on this journey. Such a blessing from God. Thank you all!”

Love, Inspire, Motivate Award: Tiffany and Jonathan Gin, Senior Team Manager

“It’s hard for us to put into words what this Culture Award truly means to us. Knowing that our colleagues and team sent in submissions on our behalf is incredibly humbling. All we’ve ever wanted to do was make people feel accepted, loved and respected. As leaders, our greatest joy is watching a fellow Designer discover self-confidence, growth and truly feel seen and welcomed. Both Jonathan and I are motivated by servant leadership, so when our team was called, it was incredibly emotional. We have been shown so much love that I think we’re still processing the emotions. Together, we feel that this award inspires and motivates us to reach even further and do even more. This Culture Award for us truly is about our Owl-hana and the culture we have collectively built together. So this Heart Award may have our name on it, but it belongs to our team!”

Force For Good® Award: Barbara Gomes, Senior Team Manager

“When Tyson first started reading, I looked around the room to see who it could be. I knew that many Designers were helpful during the tragic California fires. As he kept reading, I realized he was talking about me. I was both shocked and humbled. I started ugly crying and couldn’t stop. I never expect to be recognized for the acts of kindness I do because I just want to help and be part of the change this world needs. The gift of giving is so rewarding to me. My father told me many years ago to collect smiles so that I would have them to look back on when I was having a bad day. However, in order to collect smiles, you must first create them. Truly, there are so many Designers who helped with many projects. I feel they each deserve a part of this award. For alone, I am but one; together, we are a force. I am very grateful and honored to receive such an amazing award from Origami Owl. Thank you to everyone who felt I deserved this recognition. This has fueled my fire to do more!”

Force For Good Award: Wendy Corso-Ruud, Senior Team Leader

“It was such an honour and a shock when my name was called! Such a shock that I ran up without shoes on! I nearly died giving birth to my first daughter. The fact that I didn’t, made me realize that I am still here for a reason – a mission from God, if you may. Our mission statement is what made me decide to join O2 in the first place because I strive to be a Force For Good every day. I believe I live a charmed and favoured life, so all the good I give out comes back to me. Most of what I do is totally behind-the-scenes, anonymously, because I don’t do it for the accolades; I do it from my heart and genuinely want to help others. To be recognized by the Founders and presented the award on stage with my team sister cheering me on was priceless! I felt incredible, awesome, wonderful, excited, nervous – all the feels!”

Owlette Force For Good Award: Marlowe Kemp, Senior Designer

“Honestly, I was pretty shocked when I heard them reading out the nomination. As soon as Bella read the word ‘Ziploc bags,’ my team knew it was me. I started shaking and crying in my seat; I could not believe that I could earn something so valuable at only my second Convention! The whole experience was unreal! Walking up on that stage, through the Locket, and hearing everyone in the room cheer and yell out my name was insane! I felt so loved! Receiving this award has helped open my eyes to see myself as others do. It means so much to me because I never thought that I, one 17-year-old girl, could make such an impact on others. Hearing people’s stories of what I’ve done for them really blows my mind! I am so thankful for the many opportunities Origami Owl has already blessed me with. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Most Inspiring Owlette Award: Kelsea Whiting, Senior Team Leader

“While sitting in the crowd listening to the Founders award Designers with Culture Awards, I never in a million years thought that my name would be called. I am a girl from a tiny town in Northern California, so things like this don’t happen very often. When Bella started reading the nomination, it took me quite a while to realize they were talking about me! It was when she said that I run the business with my grandma that it hit me. When I realized this, I immediately burst into tears and could not contain the amount of joy and gratitude I felt. It was a dream come true and a moment I will forever cherish. Since that night, I have watched the video of this happening so many times because I still cannot believe that it actually happened. I am so thankful for Origami Owl and the many amazing opportunities it has given me!”

Most Inspiring Owlette Team Award: Laura + Kami Scheele, Director

“It was so surreal when the Most Inspiring Owlette Team story was being read. I kept thinking, ‘That sounds an awful lot like us, but it can’t be.’ Then, as soon as I knew it had to be us, I started crying. Kami was wondering what was wrong, so I explained that they were talking about us. I can’t get over what an honor this is for us – to be selected by the Founders is a huge deal. We’re from a very rural area, our closest neighbor is three miles away, and we never expected anything like this to happen to us. We really do live by the Golden Rule and try to encourage others and mentor like we would want to be mentored. We never expect anything back, but this award is very exciting when we consider that we don’t feel like we’ve done anything beyond how we normally live our lives – by the Origami Owl mission statement and our faith. I asked Kami what she thought of the award and she replies, ‘It was a little scary standing in front of everyone, but I was so encouraged. I just want to live up to this award every year and be a positive role model for all Owlettes and BROs.’  We love being an Owlette team; it has brought us so much closer. We can talk about anything, and she likes spending time with me. I hear about how other girls her age don’t understand the value of money or time – it’s just not that way for Kami. I hope those things never change!”

Congratulations to Our 1…2…3…Consistency is Key Incentive Earners

Congratulations to Our 1…2…3…Consistency is Key Incentive Earners

We’re rewarding YOU for being consistent in your O2 business!

These Designers were consistent in their businesses for three months – May through July – and have earned some incredible rewards as part of our limited-time “Consistency is Key” incentive.

Here’s the list of earners!

Earners – stay tuned! We’ll send you an email shortly with more details.

Don’t forget: You can earn Double Adventure Points in August ONLY toward your O2 Adventure 2020:Costa Rica incentive trip! Finish the month strong and set yourself up for success for the rest of the earning period! All the details here.

The 2019 O2 Experience: Spotlight on Hoot Camp

The 2019 O2 Experience: Spotlight on Hoot Camp

We’re committed to helping our Owlettes and BROs succeed and that means providing them with their own, specialized training at our biggest event of the year, The O2 Experience!

On Saturday, July 27, Origami Owl Brand Ambassador Yvette Dickson-Torres hosted Hoot Camp to support our youngest entrepreneurs with special guests Origami Owl® Co-Founders Bella Weems-Lambert, Tyson Basha and Shawn Maxwell, who spent some time hanging out with our 11- to 17-year-olds.

These dynamic young people also received peer training from our Youth Council members and learned all about their unique strengths from Gallup Executive Coach Jeremy Pietrocini. The tools they learned at Hoot Camp were designed to set them up for success over the next year and the feedback was tremendous!

Hoot Camp attendees were also the very first to receive the Owlette “Mended Heart” Force For Good® Charm that was designed by their peer, BRO Ethan Piece.

Here’s what some of the Owlettes and BROs had to say about their Hoot Camp experience:

Hadley Golden, 11 years old, Director

“I love being part of the Origami Owl family! It’s like being a part of your favorite summer camp all the time because there is no judgment, people’s feelings about you aren’t based on how much you sell and everyone is genuinely welcoming. Hoot Camp is something I look forward to all year because the connection is instant. You trust that everyone is a Force For Good and welcoming. You get to interact with all of these amazing people from all over the country and feel part of a true family. It’s like getting to see cousins you just haven’t met yet and reuniting with others like you would at summer camp.”





Selina Novello, 17 years old, Team Leader

“Hoot Camp was a great way to meet other Owlettes and BROs. My favorite part was the session with Jeremy Pietrocini where I got to learn about my strengths and how to apply them to my business. Having the opportunity to speak on balance and perseverance to everyone at Hoot Camp was an amazing experience. After Convention, we were all empowered to be ‘Limitless.’ All you have to do is set your mind to it!”





Wellington Emanuel, 15 years old, Team Manager

“My experience at Hoot Camp was amazing and really fun. I enjoyed meeting all the Founders, and becoming new friends with fellow Owlettes and BROs. My favorite quote from Chrissy during Convention was, ‘I am limitless.’ I believe I can take my O2 business and be a success. I’m looking forward to being a Force For Good and growing my business.”






Ethan Pierce, 14 years old, Senior Designer

“The whole Convention was fun! I loved that, at Hoot Camp, I was able to meet Bella in an informal setting where we could ask her questions and really interact with her. I also appreciated hearing from the Youth Council. All of this made it more real knowing that other people have been successful in their businesses at our age.”






Sean Pierce, 13 years old, Senior Designer

“I enjoyed the whole Convention experience! It’s hard to pick a favorite part of Hoot Camp because it was all fun and educational, but I particularly liked hearing from the Youth Council and learning from their experiences. Oh, and I was happy to meet Bella! Hoot Camp really helped me hear from others who have gone through this journey, too. It was fun to meet everyone!”







April Halverson, 17 years old, Senior Team Leader

“My favorite part of Hoot Camp was spending time with Bella and Yvette.”








Brianna Standen, 17 years old, Executive Team Leader

“Hoot Camp gave me the opportunity to meet other Owlettes and make lifelong friends. It was great to hear their stories about why they joined Origami Owl. I’m blessed to be a part of something so meaningful!”



About the Owlette Program

The Owlette Program is the foundation of Origami Owl®. Our Owlette Program teaches young girls and boys, youth ages 11-17, entrepreneurial and life skills. Being an Owlette or BRO (Boy Representing Origami Owl) builds confidence and gets them out of their comfort zone, while setting goals and getting recognized for their efforts. Our Owlettes and BROs are making a difference in the lives of others and their own.

If you’re part of an Owlette team and haven’t yet joined our O2 Owlettes Facebook group, what are you waiting for?

Our Owlette Facebook group gives our Owlettes the chance to regularly interact with each other, receive personal messages from Origami Owl Co-Founder Bella Weems-Lambert, and get tips and training to grow their Origami Owl businesses!

Have an Owlette success spotlight story you’d like featured in an upcoming Hoot email? Email us at

2019 O2 Experience Awards: Top Achievers, Rank Advancements + More

2019 O2 Experience Awards: Top Achievers, Rank Advancements + More

We recognized so many Designers on stage at The O2 Experience for their OWL-mazing achievements and we’re thrilled to share it with you, too!

In addition to our Parliament members, Culture Award recipients and Owlette award earners,  we recognized many Designers for advancing in rank, achieving Businessbuilder or Successbuilder for a number of consecutive months, and Designers who achieved the top three in personal sales, personal sponsoring and developing Team Leaders.

Congratulations to all the Designers below for their incredible achievements!

Top 3 Overall in Personal Sales

  1. Nova Goforth, Executive Team Leader – 80,025 PV
  2. Breanna Johnson, Senior Director – 45,363 PV
  3. Sandi-Rose Smith, Director – 44,090 PV




Top 3 Overall in Personal Sponsoring

  1. Aimee Johnson, Senior Director – 65 Qualified New Designers
  2. Breanna Johnson, Senior Director – 53 Qualified New Designers
  3. Holly Corbett, Director – 38 Qualified New Designers




Top 3 Overall in Developing Team Leaders

  1. Alba Saenz, Executive Team Manager – 9 Team Leaders
  2. Simcha + Jaiden Bloomfield, Director – 7 Team Leaders
  3. Breanna Johnson, Senior Director – 6 Team Leaders



Successbuilders for 12 consecutive months:

Erin Zapata, Senior Director

Sandi-Rose Smith, Director

Nova Goforth, Executive Team Leader

Businessbuilders for 12 consecutive months:

Courtney Butler, Senior Director

Aimee Johnson, Senior Director

Breanna Johnson, Senior Director

Victoria Matzen, Senior Director

Kandice Astamendi, Senior Team Manager

Julie Boyatt, Executive Team Leader

Cynthia Kruis, Executive Team Leader

Janet Olivieri, Senior Team Leader


Rank Advancements (since last year’s Convention, July 2018):

Team Leader: 213 Designers advanced to Team Leader

Senior Team Leader: 248 Designers advanced to Senior Team Leader

Executive Team Leader: 132 Designers advanced to Executive Team Leader

Team Manager: 37 Designers advanced to Team Manager

Senior Team Manager: 14 Designers advanced to Senior Team Manager

Executive Team Manager: 9 Designers advanced to Executive Team Manager

Director: Simcha + Jaiden Bloomfield, Cailin Bundrick, Amber Butts, Holly Corbett, Denise Curran, Katie DeVito, Erin Keene, Lizbeth Berlanga-Molina, Laura + Kamryn Scheele, Kati Smith, Sandi-Rose Smith, Rhonda Cain

Senior Director: Courtney Butler, Melissa + Phoebe Davis, Aimee Johnson, Breanna Johnson, Victoria Matzen, Kate McKenzie, Heidi Riffell + Camille Scribner, Melissa Taylor, Erin Zapata, Lacey Adelmann

Executive Director: Karen Alaniz, Maggie Stephens, Lisa + Isabella Weihbrecht

Field Vice President: Michelle + Eric Levitt + Jaxon Danner, Carla + Jaiden New (double promotion!), Lynn + Dale Stover (double promotions!), Rochelle Young

Senior Field Vice President: Beth Blemaster

Executive Field Vice President: Tami, Tatum + Brooks Butcher, Heidi Fleming, Kristine, Sydney + Tanner Stevens (double promotion!)


Congratulations on your OWL-some achievements!

Stay tuned for the 2020 Convention Recognition flyer coming in the September Flight Plan!