Ashley Bellino, 33, from Melbourne, has revealed how she turned her love of crystals into a $2.5m a year business.
A mother who sells more than 15 tons of glass furniture and decorations every year has revealed the moment she decided to start trading in stones.
Ashley Bellino, 33, from Melbourne, always found crystals, especially colored ones, aesthetically pleasing, but never really felt they had power.
Then, in 2015, he walked into a crystal cave in the middle of China’s famous Crystal City market and his hair stood on end.
He now runs Stoned Crystals, a $2.5 million a year business that specializes in large crystals.
“There’s definitely a feeling that comes over you when you walk into a crystal cave,” she told FEMAIL. “I was walking around the shops trying to get some energy out of the smaller crystals, but there’s no denying it when you walk into a cave.”
Her mother, a scientist and avid crystal skeptic, even admitted to “sensing something” when the trio, which also included Ashley’s spiritual mentor, entered the cave.
Ashley was scouring the market to better understand stones and find suppliers for her jewelry business.
Ashley, pictured here with her partner ‘in life and business’ Jeremy Lebard, whom she credits as having a forward-thinking business mind
Ashley loves larger stones that can be used as decoration, like this piece, and believes that the larger the crystal, the easier it is to “feel” its power.
She believes the bigger the stone the better and sells tables and sinks as part of her range.
But his focus soon shifted away from the small colored stones to the large, energetic pieces.
Two years after his life-changing moment in that cave, he officially launched Stoned Crystals with a set of five geometric pieces made from different popular stones.
And while Ashley believes that crystals offer a gateway to better spiritual practices and has them in her home, she understands that not everyone has them.
“I put crystals where they will have the most impact, if the crystal is for financial success, I put it somewhere where I will see it when I work, to make myself aware of those goals.”
‘But they can also just be beautiful statement pieces.
His goal was to make the crystals more accessible, removing the stigma of “hippy” or “witches and dragons” on them.
“At first, I only offered my products to fancy home decor stores, because I wanted my stones to attract people who wouldn’t go to those other stores,” she said.
“I didn’t want my business to be pigeonholed like so many others into the crystal wound, so I even ignored all the jargon related to chakras,” he said.
“I wanted them to buy them because it was a beautiful and thoughtful gift, regardless of when they strongly subscribed to the idea of them.”
And it worked, in the first 12 months Ashley had over 100 stores selling her range of geometric crystals.
In 2019, Ashley’s life and business partner, Jeremy Lebard, asked where the business would be if his stores stopped taking orders.
This forced her to focus on the future and she started selling pieces using Instagram Live.
The pair changed their business model in 2019 by focusing on live auctions through social media instead of carrying their product through more stores.
Jeremy, Ashley and their son Vincent sitting in a large crystal cave in Byron Bay
“The lives had just started at the time, so they were being favored in the algorithm,” he explained.
“Basically, if you were live, all your followers would see you.”
Ashley started by filling her table with stones and adding numbers to them so she could show them off at the auction.
‘That night I checked the table four times, I had to keep going to my room to get more crystals, and I realized that it was a great way to sell crystals.
Ashley used to have three stores of her own, but is now in the process of moving everything into one location that will also offer holistic healing, yoga, and workshops.
She loves onyx lamps for the way the light shines and highlights each layer of the stone.
“It’s such a personal purchase, people want to be able to see them, now people use social media to sell them all the time, but we were the first,” he said.
This meant that when the pandemic hit, she and the couple’s fears of running out of stores to sell were already ahead of the game, as she had already fine-tuned her online and social marketing.
“Sales exploded, there were so many people buying crystals from their sofa, so we started doing concerts every day.
“Suddenly, revenue sources changed and store sales went from being the most important to second only to live sales.
Does Ashley believe in the power of crystals?
After entering the cave in China and having her hands on end, Ashley investigated the crystals and their power.
This was before their use was considered widespread again and all he could find online were websites from the 1990s claiming the stones could cure cancer.
“That didn’t sit well with me, I couldn’t put my finger on what I had felt, but I couldn’t believe the theories online either.”
I think crystal therapy is similar to color therapy: we associate colors with different feelings, like orange for happiness and red for anger.
I think that is why many of the pink stones are meant to help with love and the black stones are for grounding.
But of course it is not always that easy because some green stones are also for love.
I believe that magic lives within us and we can use stones as a tool to unlock it, to remind us of our goals so that we can manifest more effectively.
When I started using crystals I also brought more plants inside and before I knew it I had transformed my home into a really calm and comfortable space.
But crystals also have very stable vibrations which could be the energy that many people feel when they are around them. After all, that’s why they’re used in phones and wristwatches.
I struggle to feel smaller crystals but I definitely have connections to larger stones.
Jeremy is always thinking even further ahead and has created an app for the company to get their sales live from social media.
“Social media isn’t designed for businesses to use to sell products, so we’ve developed the app to get around that. First we allow VIPs to enter there, now all customers can see our lives there.
“By the end of the year, we hope to be able to do all of our live streaming sales through the app and remove them from Instagram entirely.”
The new mum is proud of her business, which last year was listed as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Australia.
Before the pandemic Stoned Crystals was spread across three locations in Melbourne, now Ashley wants to use a huge space.
Geometric shapes like this and spheres are some of the most popular décor pieces in the businesswoman’s range.
The pair have traveled the world searching for crystals and mines and meeting people at all levels of the supply chain.
This will mean that all of your brilliant staff, including retail assistants and gemologists, will be in one place.
‘We haven’t set up shop yet, but I envision somewhere where we can have the shop, storage and offer holistic services.
‘I hope we can have yoga classes and mindfulness sessions and dream of adding an apothecary.
“We’ll also have the space and resources for custom pieces so people can come to us if they need a rose quartz countertop cut to size.”
Ashley and Jeremy also revealed that the business has meant they can travel the world as they strive to get as close as possible to as many of their mines.
What types of furniture and decorations does Ashley sell?
Big spheres and hearts
Crush plates and serving trays
Raw clusters and caves
Source: Stoned Crystals
“The closer you are to the mines, the better, because you can make sure that people are paid properly, that the mine is good for the community and that it is a safe place to work,” he said.
Ashley promotes ethical mining and believes that everyone in the supply chain should be treated fairly for stones.
“We don’t want to import crystals with bad juju,” he said, noting that negative energy will stick to the stone and go against his own morals.
The pair has stones sourced from mineral-rich countries around the world, including Mexico, Brazil, China, the US and Madagascar.