How a St. Louis jewelry company is making it big on social media — and at City Foundry
A St. Louis business that’s made a big name for itself on social media is finding success at its retail location at City Foundry in Midtown.
St. Louis native Omar Badran is one of the owners behind the family business, VibeSzn. Established in 2017 as an online business, it opened its City Foundry retail location in late 2021.
“My brother was driving past [City Foundry] every day, so I think it caught his eye,” explained Omar Badran, a St. Louis native who is one of the owners behind the family business. “When it comes to jewelry, selling online is cool, but being able to offer people an experience where they’re able to see it for themselves … that’s how it’s meant to be.”
Badran has worked in small family businesses for most of his life. His first job was working with his dad and uncle in north St. Louis. Badran’s father immigrated to the U.S. from Palestine in the early 1970s. After working in Ford Motor Co. plants in Michigan, he moved to St. Louis and opened corner shops in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
Badran said working in neighborhoods other than his own helped him understand his hometown outside of his tight-knit Palestinian community. “It was a culture shock at first,” Badran told St. Louis on the Air. “St. Louis is very segregated still to this day, so it was a positive experience because it gives you the opportunity to really see these different communities.”
The convenience shops were successful, but Badran and his brothers weren’t interested in continuing in the grocery industry. But the entrepreneurial spirit they inherited from their father led them to a different path — custom jewelry. Now, their business has nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram.
Badran and his brothers named their City Foundry storefront VibeSzn STL to make it known that the custom jeweler is undoubtedly a homegrown family business.
“Being born and raised in St. Louis, having a business here, we want to be involved with the community and be able to give back in any way,” he said.
To hear more about VibeSzn’s selection of jewelry and their commitment to giving back to communities in St. Louis and Palestine, listen to St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast or Stitcher or by clicking the play button below.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.